Q: How can violations of the hours-of-service rules be reduced?
A: Current regulations allow drivers to use written logbooks of their hours, which truck drivers call "comic books" because they are so easily falsified. Onboard computers reduce the opportunities for violating the rules because they automatically record when a truck is driven and its speed. The Institute and five other organizations petitioned the Department of Transportation to require the installation and use of tamper-resistant electronic onboard computers on commercial vehicles whose drivers now are required to maintain written logbooks. The National Transportation Safety Board also has repeatedly recommended that such recorders be mandated. In 2000, FMCSA published a proposal to require these devices but dropped the proposal from the final work-hour rules that take effect January 2004. This proposal has met with a lot of opposition from some members of the trucking industry, but some trucking associations have endorsed a requirement for electronic recorders.