The issue of truck driver fatigue is one that has plagued the commercial trucking industry for a long time. Residents in New Jersey know that truckers are often behind the wheel for many long and lonely hours at a time. In addition, drivers are frequently on the road during the dark when the inclination to be tired may be even greater than in the daylight. This puts other motorists or people on the road at risk when a trucker does not take adequate breaks to stay alert when driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a total of 295 lives were lost in New Jersey between 2013 and 2017 in motor vehicle accidents involving large commercial trucks. This number of fatalities highlights the ongoing problem of truck safety on area roads and highways.
A few years ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted its Hours of Service rule. This rule was designed to curb or prevent fatigue among truckers by putting limits on the number of hours they could drive each day or week. It also outlined the parameters for when breaks must be taken during each shift, work day and work week.
Now, the FMCSA has a mandate in place that trucks be equipped with electronic logging devices. These ELDs are installed to be in sync with vehicle engines so they can monitor when a truck engine has been started, when it is idling and when it is in motion. Data is reported to the FMCSA and any violations must be addressed in a certain time period.