Truck accidents and driver fatigue

Residents in Tennessee should be able to trust that commercial truck drivers take safety seriously when on the roads. One important element to being safe is to avoid driving when fatigued. This is part of why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted its Hours of Service rule a few years ago. This rule provides caps on the number of hours in a day and in a week that a trucker can work and drive to avoid operators driving when tired.

Now, the FMCSA has a new requirement for trucks to be equipped with electronic logging devices. ELDs are able to receive data from a truck's engine to track the date and time an engine is turned on, how long it is spent idling and how long a truck is actually being driven. This is one way that the government aims to crack down on fatigued driving among truckers. The goal of these rules is to improve safety and reduce accidents.

In 2013, there were 127 deaths in Tennessee in accidents involving large commercial trucks per the records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That number dropped to 100 the following year. However, the subsequent three years saw consecutive increases in the number of truck accident fatalities in Tennessee first to 116 then to 120 and finally to 136 in 2017.

In Shelby County in 2017, deaths in truck crashes accounted for more than 11 percent of the county's total vehicular fatalities. Between 2013 and 2017, a total of 63 people lost their lives in Shelby County in collisions involving large trucks.


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