For Immediate Release: June 23, 2016
Contact: Beth Weaver (301) 814-4088, firstname.lastname@example.org
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and the Trucking Alliance File Amicus Brief Supporting Federal Rule Requiring Electronic Logging Devices to Record Truck Drivers’ Hours of Service
Rule Will Eliminate Phony Paper Log Books, Known as “Comic Books” And Provide an Accurate Electronic Record of Truck Driver Work Hours
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) and the Alliance for Truck Driver Safety and Security (Trucking Alliance) filed an amicus brief with the U.S Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Cincinnati, in support of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulation that requires most commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), namely large trucks and buses, in interstate commerce to install an electronic logging device (ELD) to track driver on-duty time.
At present, the maximum time truck drivers can drive their vehicles and be on duty for other work is governed by federal regulations known as the Hours of Service (HOS) rule. Under the HOS rules, drivers are required to maintain paper log books recording their duty time and changes in duty status. However, paper log books are frequently referred to as “comic books” throughout the industry, because of the ease in falsifying actual driving and work time in violation of the federal requirements. In 1988 and again in 1995, Congress passed legislation directing federal action to solve the problem of cheating on paper log books. Again, in 2012, Congress directed the FMCSA to issue a rule requiring the installation of ELDs on most CMVs. Last December, FMCSA finally acted and issued a rule requiring the installation of ELDs. However, this rule currently faces a frivolous challenge in Federal Court. Among other scurrilous claims, opponents of ELDs assert that the devices will not improve HOS compliance. Unlike paper log books, ELDs provide an objective record of a driver’s on-duty time which, in turn, will increase compliance with HOS rules, improve the ability of law enforcement to ensure compliance, help to reduce truck driver fatigue and, advance safety for everyone on our roads and highways.
“Advocates has fought for decades to have ELDs installed on large trucks,” said Jackie Gillan, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. “These devices will finally bring trucking and enforcement of commonsense rules into the 21st Century. It is time to rid the industry of the outdated and unreliable use of phony comic books that allow truck drivers to flout HOS limits and jeopardize safety for everyone. Driving too many hours is a recognized safety problem in the trucking industry and ELDs are a proven safety solution.”
Large truck drivers often operate very long shifts without adequate sleep and rest because of constantly changing schedules that conflict with biological circadian rhythms. In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has repeatedly cited fatigue as a major contributor to truck crashes and included reducing fatigue related crashes on its 2016 Most Wanted List of safety changes. In a 2006 survey prepared for the FMCSA, 65 percent of truck drivers reported that they often or sometimes felt drowsy while driving and almost half (47.6 percent) of drivers said they had actually fallen asleep while driving in the previous year.
Both safety groups and segments of the trucking industry have long fought for the implementation of this lifesaving technology. “The Trucking Alliance is pleased to join Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety in this legal effort that defends the Administration’s ELD rule, because ELDs can make the highways safer for truck drivers and motorists alike,” said Lane Kidd, managing director of the Trucking Alliance.
Read the brief here.