Modern technology can be used in many ways to make life better and safer for Illinois residents, and this even includes use in the trucking industry. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration began a program in 2018 requiring tractor-trailer rigs to have electronic logs installed for direct reporting of driving hours. The intent of the policy was to reduce the number of truck accidents. However, the move apparently has not worked as intended concerning all targeted improvements after the recent numbers were calculated for differing classes of trucks.
The ultimate problem
Rules regarding truck driving hours of service have not been enforced very effectively throughout the history of the trucking industry. Most drivers were merely reporting their hours on logs that could be modified in a number of ways with no particular verification checkpoints. This mandated change has encouraged drivers throughout the industry to be more honest regarding the actual number of hours they drive in any one 24-hr period as well as within a monthly cycle.
The first class of shipments that were evaluated following the mandate to install electronic logs revealed a reduction in numbers across the board. Every goal of the mandate was achieved, for the most part, in particular a reduction in the number of overall truck accidents.
There was one issue with the report that caught the attention of the FMCSA. That problem was a slight increase in the number of truck mishaps for heavier trucks. Some trucks run at full load capacity up to 50,000 lbs. These larger rigs are often involved in incidents because they are much more difficult to stop in short distances.
The change in hour reporting policy for the FMCSA is just a first step in the right direction in reducing accidents. Illinois actually ranks as one of the most dangerous states, and any improvement is good for the region.