FMCSA: Study shows lower crash rates with e-logs, but ‘skewed’ to bigger carriers

| May 13, 2014
Graphic from FMCSA (click to enlarge)

Graphic from FMCSA (click to enlarge)

Electronic logs have a beneficial impact on truck safety, according to a study posted Monday by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety administration.


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The goal of the study was to determine whether commercial vehicles with installed electronic hours-of-service recorders (EHSRs) had significantly lower crash rates and fewer hours-of-service violations than vehicles without them. (Note: Though the study uses the acronym EHSR, the proposed mandate refers to the systems as electronic logging devices, or ELDs.)

“The approach used in this research went far beyond any previous study in this domain,” FMCSA says. “The results show a clear safety benefit, in terms of crash and HOS violation reductions, for trucks equipped with EHSRs.”

The data came from the previously generated compliance records of 11 participating carriers representing small, medium and large fleet – although the data set was “skewed” toward larger, for-hire carriers and “may not represent the overall U.S. trucking population,” the report notes.

The set included a total of 82,943 crashes, 970 HOS violations, 224,034 truck-years and 15.6 billion miles driven, for an average annual mileage of 69,600 per truck. (The study also notes the total seems low, but that trucks that were taken out of service mid-year – “such as those destroyed in a crash” – the mileage still counted toward the full-year average.)


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After controlling for a calendar year, EHSR-equipped trucks had a significantly lower total crash rate (11.7 percent reduction) and a significantly lower preventable crash rate (5.1 percent reduction) than trucks not equipped with an EHSR, according to the study.

Similarly, EHSR-equipped trucks had a 53 percent lower driving-related HOS violation rate and a 49 percent lower non-driving- related HOS violation rate than trucks not equipped with EHSRs.

Small sample sizes limited the power to detect a significant difference with regard to DOT-recordable and fatigue-related crashes, the report adds.

A copy of the study is available here.

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  • Stormy

    Could be less HOS violations because DOT inspectors have no idea how to get the data or read the data off the ELD (or whatever they are calling it this week).

  • guest

    Good Point stormy I had GPS installed in my small fleet and I have a very hard time knowing when the 14 hour shift starts and ends very often. If a driver who is off duty decides to change parking spots or moves even a few feet it can be extremely tricky to understand.

  • Barney

    The FMSCA and the DOT will use these statistics to read any way they want them too, so they can use them to put new “safety” regulations into effect. It’s a bunch of Bull%$#@.

  • Kevin J. Reidy

    Wait a minute here…trucks with drivers using an ELD are STILL CRASHING????

    I’ll be damned.

  • Mike Smith

    Make sure ALL the big carriers have ELD’s since they obviously have a problem. They have a PROBLEM because they hire anyone with a FACE, including 3 rd world savages from countries with horrible driving records.

  • pupeperson

    I’d be interested to see what the data would show if another variable was introduced, namely years of driving experience in OTR trucking. My surmise is that an O’O’ with 20 or more years of experience OTR and no ELD is statistically safer than a driver with less than a years experience and an ELD (a huge proportion of mega carriers’ drivers.) If the above was proven to be the case, would it mean that a driver with limited experience would “need” to be blessed with an ELD while an experienced “old hand” could enjoy an ELD exemption? Probably not, because the goal is not safety — it’s control — and more about the intrusion by “Big Brother” into the operation of small businesses than anything else. It’s supported by the Mega’s because it is an effective means to reduce the number and competitiveness of the O’O’.

  • guest

    Sure…you will be constantly out of hours…from sitting all day at the shipper and its DOCUMENTED on Elogs….so you will drive LESS miles….and have less accidents….because you wont be going anywhere. lol

  • guest

    No shortage of SAVAGES out there…..with and without FAKE documents and FAKE drivers licenses…everyday they ARREST workers at MotorVehicles dept for SELLING fake licenses to foreigners…lol

  • guest

    Yep they are simply manipulating numbers around here to convince SOMEBODY that these Elogs are going to solve all the problems regarding “SAFETY”….Lobbyists are paying HUGE money to help them and INFLUENCE the VOTE on this rediculous contraption so they will get RICH installing these ELD’s in every truck in America… is a pathetic JOKE and totally unnecessary…paper logs are just fine……they have worked since 1937…..before that there were NO LOGS…..imagine that…A man would have the common sense to take a nap if he was tired???? lol

  • Mind Games

    Anyone can massage numbers! We are nobody’s fool!!!

  • guest

    Sure and NEXT will be Cameras installed in every truck in America….manufacturers are Salivating at all the MONEY that will bring THEM……so much “SAFER” gawking at the driver all day..and pointing outwhere he is going WRONG with his driving… SAFETY CLASSES…..constantly reprimanding the driver/slave…what a wonderful “MUST HAVE” devicethe CAMERA will be..such a USEFUL tool to improve “SAFETY”……lol

  • dlowrey

    Hmm.. sounds like the study began with the idea of proving a predetermined conclusion of the FMCSA. A study by an agency pushing a regulation is suspect as biased.

  • guest

    I run eld and hate it been driving for 14yrs just went to elogs last yr. Man I stay tired running of that thing were running paper if I needed a nap i could take one and still make miles. ELDs are not safe

  • tracy

    yes sir did you see the ave. miles per truck? 69000 per year. how can anyone make a living on 69000 miles per year.At 40 cents per year that is less than 28000.00 And you are right, I have 4 trucks on the road and I have 2 of the ELD’s ( those two drivers could not get it in their head they had to do their log books every day), and they never get a log book inspection. In fact , they almost never get pulled around and asked for any paperwork.

  • guest


  • guest

    Yep Tracy….it will be hard to put any miles on with this Elog..which documents precisely…Mega Fleets like it coz their average runs today are 300-600 miles….average 1800 miles per week… fact they PILOTED this ignorant Elog and were told by COPS that this IS the Future log book…so Mega Fleets are all set….but small fleets will go BROKE being Harnessed to this hunk of junk. lol

  • David Ebnet

    They are missing one point how often when crossing the scale does dot see electronic logs on the door and not even inspect them?

  • tony lagrange

    We need to strike to shut this nation down untill we do the goverment will do just wants .so all of your bitching is nothing.

  • Viki

    ” savages”… hmmm…. going on 14 years OTR & can say with confidence that 999 out of a thousand drivers who pass my rig extremely close (5-12ft) off front of cab are MALE & include small/independent through top ten large carriers. And since there are no FENDERS to contain ‘rooster tail’, 20-30% of time forward visibility in adverse weather instantly goes under 1/16th to 1/4 mile. Thus, a contributing factor also is fact that majority of states haven’t codified into law safe ride lane restrictions corresponding to the maximum visibility area of a motor vehicle that primarily exists only left side. CDL-DRIVERS should have a HIGHER CORRECTED VISION MINIMUM too.
    Also, anything claiming to be ‘interstate’ should have 3 lanes & vehicles with tow/buses/RV should be required by law to remain in right lane except to pass.. & if 3-lanes then no high profile or vehicles with tow in left lane ever. Frequently in rain (or snow) you/I can see 3 miles out side door windows however rooster tail reduced visibility forward through windshield can be 1/16th to near ZERO when some aggressive male &/or bad eyeglasses prescription truck driver passes couple feet from scraping front bumper or worse.
    About going on a year ago, driving west on i70 from Indy saw construction zone signs approaching hill & slowed down under speed limit since rush hour. Once over hill had plenty room to break it down for stopped interstate traffic & leave plenty room between my rig & stopped car ahead. Put 4 – WAYS ON too. About 15 – 20 seconds later heard couple faint pop noises thru 2″ open window passenger side. Checking long mirrors I was astonished to view cart wheeling, careening cars that apparently didn’t give sufficient regard to construction zone signs & had grossly insufficient space to STOP after cresting hill at 60-65+mph. The weather was sunny with largely clear blue skies & the pavement was dry. 90+% of drivers crested hill over speed for situation were male. Two faint pops were (male driver) speeding rig crossed up bad & trying not to crush teensy car in front of him that did no harm to my trailer but my right rear corner munched his cab & small car was partly wedged under back trailer bumper by that guy’s rig & older (grandmother) with daughter & 2 grandchildren had to be put in collar & safely removed on stretcher. Although I had been parked with 4 – WAYS Flashers & AIR BRAKES both ON for safety, it was several hours before the highway was reopened & those of us unharmed were permitted to roll again.
    Never the less, I don’t believe more restrictive hours rules are the answer. I would assert belief that you may prefer to tier them & apply ‘sand clock’ rules to new drivers & bad drivers with tickets & accidents & then truck company may choose to hire top tier drivers for OTR.
    And you ‘foul ball’ cry drivers, plz remember that there exists ongoing R&D to replace OTR Driver with Robot with better than 20/20 vision. . Oil/energy & lazy public uninterested in driving USA on vacation & 2009 bank crash bogus shift allegedly in USA from home ownership to renters in metroplex cities that hav cheap/safe (ha ha) public transportation.
    Another point against single tier sand clock 14hr Rules will be simple fact that this makes transportation industry movement much easier for bad guys (post 9/11) to predict. Not a good thing Get people off unemployment & please stop using visa drivers.
    You can’t ‘DAVOX’ Transportation Industry way cell & telephone companies parse out how many minutes each CustSvcRep talks with customer(s) per hour. Truckers traditionally hav been ‘family’ oriented & look out for one another & drive with same care they’d prefer fella/gal exercises in his Home20. Plus, used to be that many farmers drove rig OTR in winter.
    Bottom line, u say accidents are down; however, hav to ask how much of this is due to increase in fleet size to handle hours rule changes? Why say this? Because I see more aggressive driving, not less; & frankly, that’s in no small part why I moved out West!
    Be safe out there & God bless.

  • Albert4242

    Maybe you two morons should make sure that all the accidents are caused by 3rd world savages before the display of total ignorance. In other words morons, think before you write

  • Albert4242

    Trucks that were part of the study that were subsequently totaled were not removed from the study. So even though they cannot log any more miles they were still used to average the amount of miles run

  • josh

    Wait… isnt the point of elogs to stop log “fudging” which “causes” accidents? Fatigue related accidents? Yet.. theres not enough fatigue relater accidents to even be considered in this study!

  • john

    I am a driver of 5+ years.. And I believe that the e-log is not the problem bit lack of willingness to change old habits. The reason long term drivers are against the e-log is that thy don’t like yo be confined to the hour limitations. Yes it is a little extreme to have to go to the measures of GPS tracking and e-logging your hours but you can not tell me that a guy who runs for 20 hours and alters his logs to make it look like he only did 14 is safer than one his is monitored and regulated to the mandated 14.

  • oldpinky

    Educate me! To take a nap, you go offduty, right? How can that impact onduty status?

  • oldpinky

    As long as we are paid by the mile and controlled by the hour, it has always set up an adversarial situation. The key to driving success is not electronic but mental. It is also maintaining a regularity to your day. I think instead of studying the awfulness that occurs, we should be studying the best drivers and establish best practices from their successful truck operations. But todays world is dominated by fear mongers and scare tactics, not rationality. Talk about a fail before you start situation. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.