Christina Rivenbark & Associates ATTORNEYS AT LAW

Highway Bill Includes Electronic Record Enforcement for Trucks

Recently the U.S. Senate approved a highway transportation bill, which among other things, mandates the use of electronic onboard recorders (EOBR) on commercial trucks. An EOBR is a device that records information about the operation of commercial trucks on roads across the country, including those here in North Carolina. The hope is that the device will help enforce restrictions on hours of service for drivers and employers, and in doing so, prevent trucking accidents and save lives.

In accordance with the bill, commercial truck companies will have to install, use, and maintain EOBRs if they are not already doing so. In order to be in compliance with this new rule, the creation of a federal standard will take place for truck manufacturers, shipping companies and the drivers themselves.

The intent of the directive for the use of these devices is ultimately to increase driver safety and the safety of all those who share the roads with commercial trucks. Frequently, drivers exceed the maximum amount time allowed to drive in a single day or drive without taking the mandatory rest breaks. This disregard of the rules can have disastrous results, especially when it results in driver fatigue.

Driver fatigue is a proven cause of many accidents involving large trucks. Unfortunately, due to the size of the vehicles often involved in these accidents they tend to be severe, and many times fatal. Many feel that the appropriate use of these devices will increase safety and greatly help reduce the number of large truck related accidents.

The EOBR will likely replace the paper logs that many companies use, which can be unreliable and easily manipulated. The federally mandated electronic logs will include information like the driver's name, date and time traveled, distance traveled and duty status. The recording and review of this information will ensure that driver's operate vehicles within federal guidelines for hours of service.

Source: Truck News, "EOBR mandate included in US highway bill; needs House approval," March 14, 2012

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