Federal law designed to make trucking safer may have aggravated worst issues

Starting Dec. 18, 2017, federal law required truck drivers to digitally log their working hours in their cabs. Truckers can drive no more than 11 hours a day within a 14-hour window, according to a law that dates back to 1938. A federal study estimated that the ELD rule would prevent 1,844 crashes and 26 deaths annually.

Five years later, it doesn’t appear that truck drivers’ most-hated law has ushered in that reign of safety.

Fatal crashes involving a large truck, per 100 million miles traveled by truck, increased by 5.4% from 2016 to 2020, according to the most recent federal data. One 2019 study found that unsafe driving activities increased as a result of ELD enforcement…

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which oversees the enforcement of the ELD mandate, declined to comment on record about the impact of the rule. The percentage of drivers with speeding violations slightly increased from 4.45% in 2018 to 5.07% through 2023, according to FMCSA data.