Getting behind the wheel while very tired can be quite dangerous. In fact, depending on how long it’s been since drivers have slept, exhaustion could impact their ability to drive as severely as an illegal amount of alcohol in their bloodstream. Most people already know the potential dangers of drunk driving, but those same people may not consider fatigued driving as serious of a concern.
Driving tired is dangerous enough when people in typical passenger vehicles do it. When the people in control of massive commercial trucks choose to drive while exhausted, however, the people on the road in smaller vehicles are the ones who have seriously increased risk of injury or death.
Larger trucks can cause huge amounts of damage
There’s no question that semitrucks are heavier and much bigger than even the most massive passenger vehicles. When these two kinds of vehicles collide, the smaller vehicle often takes the brunt of the damage. It’s common for passenger vehicles to end up completely crushed. People inside could suffer catastrophic injuries, such as brain injuries, broken or severed limbs, or spinal injuries.
Given the amount of potential risk in a crash between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles, it makes sense that there are more laws governing the actions of people who drive larger vehicles. After all, these crashes happen more frequently these days. Hours of Service regulations, which limit how long commercial drivers can work, aim to prevent fatigued commercial drivers on the road. Sadly, it’s been easy for years for truckers to break these rules by falsifying logbook records.
Electronic log books reduce fatigued commercial driving
Electronic logging devices (ELDs) are much more accurate and efficient than manual record keeping. Instead of having the ability to change the books or carry two sets to avoid tickets, commercial trucks now have their driving habits recorded precisely by a machine whose records they can not personally alter. It’s easy to see how this kind of system will reduce regulation violations and keep the public safe.
Many truck drivers are unhappy with this new requirement. They claim it’s invasive technology. Some companies also voice concerns about how actually complying with Hours of Service regulations could increase costs for companies and reduce profit margins. Over time, the industry will certainly acclimate to this new technology, which helps hold drivers accountable for overt violations of the law.
For those in passenger vehicles, the records from ELDs can help as well. If there’s reason to bring a civil action against a driver or a company, those records could help substantiate claims of habitual offenses regarding Hours of Service with a particular driver or within a certain company. It can also help you determine how long a trucker was on the road before causing an accident that injured you.