U.S. Proposes Electronic Recorders to Log Truckers’ Hours

The U.S. Transportation Department said it will require truck drivers to track their work hours electronically, eliminating paper logbooks that have been ridiculed as outdated and ineffective.

Electronic logbooks would lead to efficiencies, both for trucking companies and regulators who check the data during roadside inspections to make sure drivers are adhering to federal time limits, the agency said in a statement today.

The proposed regulations, which are still subject to public comment and could change, would make it harder to evade hours-of-service regulations by doing away with logbooks that safety advocates say can be falsified. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which would administer the new rules, said the change would prevent 20 fatalities and 434 injuries each year.

“Today’s proposal will improve safety while helping businesses by cutting unnecessary paperwork,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in the statement. “By leveraging innovative technology with electronic logging devices, we have the opportunity to save lives and boost efficiency.”

The American Trucking Associations, the largest U.S. trucking industry trade group, has supported the potential regulation. Most large U.S. trucking companies already use the electronic recorders.

The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, which represents small companies, has opposed mandatory electronic logbooks as too costly.

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