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Truckers Trump Hours-of-Service Rules With 'Comic Books'

If you have any knowledge of the trucking industry, you know that driving logs, which are meant to be used as tools for drivers to keep track of hours logged behind the wheel, and for law enforcement to monitor these hours, are known as "comic books" in the industry.

As Maria Recio reports for the Kansas City Star, driving logs can easily be changed to reflect a fewer number of hours behind the wheel than the real number - which has a tangible impact on the lives of those who are killed in accidents caused by truck driver fatigue, such as the 18 wheeler accident that killed 10 people in Texas in 2004.

Referring to driving logs, Texas police officer Robert Mills said, "The use of paper logbooks by truck drivers is like running a business with paper notebooks and no computers," as Recio reports. Mills is one of a growing number of activists who, after the 2004 big rig crash and others like it, is pushing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to both limit consecutive hours-of-service and require electronic driving logs.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about the 2004 big rig crash was the truck driver's actions immediately after it occurred. According to a family member whose mother, sister and nephews were killed, "A witness saw the driver throw the driver's log into the fire. We're big advocates of electronic on-board recorders."

The NTSB investigation concluded that "significant lack of sleep" likely caused the accident.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Safety group seeks limits on trucks' size, drivers' hours," Maria Recio, 05/23/11

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