US truck – California 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fatigue and other forms of impaired driving contributed to more than 12 percent of the 129,120 crashes involving large trucks or buses in 2012. In an effort to save lives and improve efficiency, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently proposed a rule that would require interstate commercial truck and bus companies to use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) to ensure drivers are complying with hours-of-service limits.
The FMCSA estimates that the rule could prevent approximately 20 fatalities and 434 injuries from crashes involving truck driver fatigue each year. In Orange County, collisions involving large trucks claimed 5 lives and injured another 336 people in 2011, according to the California Highway Patrol. Throughout California, there were 245 fatal and 5,155 injury accidents involving large trucks that year.
Other causes of truck crashes related to driver error include an inability to properly operate the vehicle due to intoxication or to a medical problem, such as a heart attack; distraction; driving too fast for conditions or following other vehicles too closely; and poor performance behind the wheel, such as panicking, overcompensating, or exercising poor directional control.
If the technology exists to eliminate a factor contributing to a significant number of fatal and injury truck crashes then it should be used-and hopefully will prove effective at saving lives.
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