New data from federal transportation officials indicates that fatal crashes involving commercial vehicles increased in the first year after the ELD Mandate went into effect — even though traffic fatalities in general went down.
According to a summary of crash data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in June 2019, the number of fatalities caused by all traffic crashes decreased from 37,133 in 2017 to 36,750 in 2018, a 1% decrease.
However, the NHTSA data says that the number of fatalities involving at least one “large truck” rose by 3% in 2018. This would indicate that the first full year that ELDs were in effect, fatalities caused by crashes involving commercial vehicles increased significantly. It is important to note that the NHTSA data does not indicate that the truck driver was at fault in the fatal crashes, only that a truck driver was involved.
As of December 18, 2017, most truck drivers were required by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations to switch from paper logs over to Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). Authorities argued that the device would cut down on truck driver Hours of Service violations and increase highway safety.
The NHSTA says that their statistics come from early estimates and that they are still working to compile crash data for 2018.