Most residents in Tennessee have likely heard, read or seen reports about serious accidents involving semi-trucks or other large commercial vehicles like the recent incident on Interstate 40 in Hickman County.

News Channel 5 Nashville indicates that a tractor-trailer drove onto the other side of the freeway and into two other vehicles, killing one person. The cause of the incident remains unknown, but the event once again raises concerns about safety.

Government rules target fatigued operation

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration caps the number of hours a commercial trucker may work and drive each day. Per the Hours of Service rule, a trucker who hauls goods may drive up to 10 hours in a single day and work a total of 14 hours in that day. The rule also outlines a maximum number of working hours each week while providing parameters for when rest breaks must be taken.

The FMCSA also requires semi-trucks on long-haul routes be equipped with special devices to monitor a trucker’s activities as one means of monitoring compliance with the HoS rule.

Electronic logging devices

The government’s required use of electronic logging devices actually began in late 2017. However, as Transport Topics explains, other devices called automatic onboard recording devices were allowed to remain in use for two years before all drivers must migrate to the newer versions.

The electronic logging devices, or ELDs as they are referred to, automatically collect and report data including a vehicle’s idle time and drive time. Any driver found out of compliance with the Electronic Logging Device rule may be subject to an out-of-service period.