One main reason FMCSA (Federal Motors Carrier Safety Administration) requires drivers to use ELDs (Electronic Logging Devices) is to promote driver safety. Unfortunately, thousands of truck accidents occur each year, and many of those accidents are caused by driver fatigue. One of the factors that contribute to fatigue is excessive workload. Therefore, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the FMCSA issued the ELD mandate to help drivers automatically log their hours and reduce the stress and fatigue drivers experience with paper reports. Here is how ELD prevents driver fatigue.
What Is an ELD?
Electronic logging devices are designed to record data such as the miles driven by the commercial vehicle, its location, and the duration of the driver’s shift. The ELD system also records the engine hours, including when the truck is idling or speeding. The FMCSA issued the ELD mandate, which requires carriers and truck drivers to record their HOS (Hours of Service) electronically. This creates a safer working environment for the truckers, preventing them from violating HOS rules.
HOS violations include operating the vehicle more than 60 hours in 7 days or 70 hours in 8 days, past 11 or 10-hour shifts, or driving 14 consecutive hours without a 10-hour break. An ELD system helps ensure that drivers take enough rest during their shifts and do not operate the vehicle beyond the recommended number of hours.
How ELDs Help Prevent Driver Fatigue
Identifying Poor Driving Behavior
Some ELDs are equipped with accelerometers and GPS systems, allowing them to identify poor driving behaviors such as speeding, braking abruptly, making sharp turns, idling, or collisions. When a driver is tired, their judgment and reaction time are impaired. They may respond slowly to sudden traffic changes and can engage in risky driving behaviors such as hard braking.
Once the ELD records this data, fleet managers can analyze this information to determine which drivers engage in risky driving methods. This allows them to keep unsafe drivers off the roads and provide adequate training to their drivers so they can improve.
The trucking company can also determine which drivers perform better during night and day shifts, allowing them to create better schedules and routes for drivers. In addition, identifying such behaviors also helps trucking businesses prevent potential liability claims and truck accidents linked to fatigue.
Reducing Administrative Burden
Truck drivers travel long distances to meet the company’s transportation requirements, and the added workload of manually keeping a record of the hours of service can lead to driver fatigue. Manual paperwork requires more time and effort than a Simplex ELD system.
The introduction of the ELD system took the administrative burden off truck drivers’ shoulders. ELD systems require minimum driver intervention and are programmed to record hours of service automatically. This allows drivers to focus more on their primary job responsibilities rather than being concerned about completing paperwork at the end of their shift. Automatic recording of the hours of service saves truck drivers and fleet managers time and money.
Another feature of ELD in reducing driver fatigue is that it helps optimize trucking routes. With optimized routes, truck drivers can avoid congestion and deliver goods effectively without rushing to meet deadlines. Traveling longer routes in high-traffic areas during shifts contributes to driver fatigue. This concern can be eliminated by optimizing routes through ELDs. Fleet managers can also track the drivers’ locations and communicate more effectively with them due to the real-time visibility provided by ELDs.