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Electronic trucking logs, part 1: elog use increasing

For years, safety advocates have argued that trucking companies should use electronic logs rather than paper records. The reasoning is pretty straightforward: electronic logs are more accurate. They are more difficult to alter - which is tempting for a trucker to do after possible hours-of-service rules violations.

In Texas and across and across the country, carriers are getting the message. Many of them aren't waiting for an expected federal mandate to require electronic logs for all commercial trucks. Instead, they are making the switch voluntarily.

The pace of electronic log implementation was shown in a recent survey by a firm called Transport Capital Partners. The survey showed that more than 1 in 3 of the carriers surveyed now use electronic logs. The percentage of carriers doing so has increased by ten percentage points in less than a year. It has gone from only 25 percent in May 2012 to 35 percent in February 2013.

Significantly, this increase in the use of elogs has also helped carriers increase their safety scores on the relevant federal index. In terms of federal truck regulations, those scores are known as CSA scores. CSA stands for compliance, safety and accountability. The purpose of assigning these scores is to encourage carriers to take steps necessary to prevent truck accidents.

Elogs are also sometimes called electronic onboard recorders (EOBRs). Attempts by federal safety regulators to require EOBRs have met with considerable resistance from trucking industry groups. But Congress passed a law last June that requires the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to issue a rule that would make electronic logs mandatory.

Source: "Sudden shift toward electronic log usage," Fleet Owner, Brian Straight, 4-1-13

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