Trucking Industry Disagrees Over Electronic Recording of Driver Hours
Posted on May 21 , 2012
Every Louisiana driver understands how intimidating and imposing semis and other large commercial trucks can be. This is true both at highway speeds and in gridlock, even if the truck driver does everything by the book. When a trucker breaks the law by speeding, pulling excessive loads or using drugs or alcohol, the perils for other drivers and passengers are much worse. The many state and federal regulations that target 18-wheeler accident prevention include the requirement that truckers only drive so long before taking a break and returning to the road. In that case, by the book currently means entering driving and rest data into paper logbooks that are easily duplicated, allowing fatigued truck drivers to exceed hours-of-service rules and endanger others. That problem has led federal regulators to propose a mandate that big rigs be equipped with electronic on-board recording devices (EOBRs) for electronic recording of driver hours to ensure an accurate tally of hours spent behind the wheel. Two separate trucking industry groups, the American Trucking Association (ATA) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), are currently in disagreement about the EOBR rule. The ATA, which represents larger trucking companies, has endorsed the idea, while the group of independent truckers argues that the costs of installation will place unsustainable financial burdens on its membership. The financial impact of serious and fatal trucking accidents on U.S. highways is an astronomical figure, only exceeded by the extent of tragedy visited upon families who lose a loved one to a wrongful death. Like airbags, stability control, anti-lock brakes and other vital motor vehicle safety technology, the initial costs of widespread implementation of EOBRs is minor compared to the well-documented benefits that they will provide over the long haul.