The federal government has strict laws in place requiring truck drivers to take regular breaks for rest and sleep. Since the 1930s, truckers have been entering their activities in paper log books.
These log books are used to verify that truck drivers are adhering to applicable regulations, including those regarding rest breaks. However, safety advocates and accident inspectors have complained that the records contained in paper logs can be easily altered and are not satisfactory for verification purposes.
The federal government is looking to close the cover on paper log books in the not-too-distant future. As it stands, truck drivers will soon be required to electronically log their time spent on the road. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, more than 500 injuries and two dozen fatalities will be prevented each year owing to the use of the electronic logging devices.
While the rule will go into effect in early 2016, companies have a two-year period in which to start employing the devices.
The requirement of these devices is good news for two reasons. First, if truckers and trucking companies know that the driving records cannot be easily falsified, they are more likely to simply obey the regulations. Also, if a truck driver is involved in an accident, then the records contained in electronic tracking log will likely give a more accurate picture of a driver's level of fatigue at the moment the accident occurred.
If you have been in an accident involving a big-rig truck, log books can be used as part of the investigation to find out if the driver was suffering from fatigue. While full implementation of the electronic devices is still in the future, an attorney could still discover important evidence in the driver's paper log.
Source: CBS Baltimore, "New Gov. Rule Requires Truck Drivers To Log Traveling Time," Amy Yensi, Dec. 10, 2015