Safety Agency Pushes for Mandatory Truck Use of Electronic Onboard Recorders
WASHINGTON, D.C. --- The National Transportation Safety Board is pushing for mandatory electronic onboard recorders on commercial trucks to ensure that truck drivers don't drive more than 11 hours at a time. About 5,000 people die each year from collisions with trucks, said Mark Rosenker, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. About 700 of those fatalities are truck drivers. He's convinced that some of the accidents could have been avoided if the drivers had complied with hours-of-service regulations.Many in the trucking industry, however, argue that there's no evidence that use of the recorders would change those statistics and that the mandate would pose an unnecessary expense. The recorders generally cost about $1,200 each. Rosenker told Gannett News Service that his agency last year inspected 3 million truck driver logbooks. About 7 percent of those had violations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires chronic violators to install the recorders.Rosenker said those 3 million inspections represent just a fraction of the logbooks out there. "There are something like 900,000 carriers --- that's not the trucks, that's the companies," he told Gannett. "Some of them have one truck. Some of them have thousands of trucks."Rosenker's agency is preparing new regulations that Congress will consider.