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How the government hopes to curb exhausted commercial driving

Just about any time you drive on the highway, you are likely to encounter at least one commercial truck. These much longer and taller big rigs that transport goods and materials from one location to another pose significant danger to the occupants of passenger vehicles if the two collide.

The demanding nature of commercial driving often lends itself to poor decision-making for drivers, such as when drivers remain behind the wheel when they are exhausted. There are federal regulations that prevent fatigued commercial driving, and the government has the ability to monitor compliance through electronic logging devices (ELDs).

Electronic logging reduces the risk of fraud

Preventing exhausted driving can go a long way toward reducing the number of commercial vehicle collisions that occur annually on the roads. The limits for how long truckers can legally operate commercial vehicles have traditionally not always been respected by the drivers and the trucking companies that employ them. Deadlines and employer requirements may push commercial drivers to violate those rules.

It used to be relatively easy for truck drivers to intentionally misrepresent their driving habits. Handwritten log books are easy to alter. Some truckers even had a spare set of log books with them to ensure that one set showed they were in compliance at all times. But earlier this year, a federal mandate went into effect, requiring commercial drivers to upgrade to electronic logging devices.

ELDs automatically record the amount of time that a driver is behind the wheel. They also track the GPS placement of the vehicle, ensuring increased safety for the driver and others on the road. It is much more complicated for a driver to change or edit the records in an ELD. That could make it easier to prove that a driver frequently violates the legal limits on driving hours.

Safety should always be the priority in commercial driving

Commercial drivers should put the safety of the public before profits for themselves or their employer. Unfortunately, that isn't always what happens. Drivers who make decisions that endanger the public should be held accountable for those decisions, especially if the result is the injury or death of another person.

Anyone hurt by a commercial driver who exceeded the legal limit for driving hours may have the right to seek compensation from the driver or even their employer, depending on circumstances of the accident.

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