Electronic logging devices hold truckers accountable

Truckers are limited to how many hours they can drive each day, and they're required to log their trips. They used to be able to do so with paper log books, but now that process is automatic to help hold them more accountable.

Posted: Feb 20, 2018 6:51 PM
Updated: Jun 28, 2019 5:08 PM

EUGENE, Ore. - Truckers are required to log their time behind the wheel. Federal law changes how they’re doing that, so truck drivers don’t drive dangerously long.

Up to 53 tons can be towed by truckers in Oregon. Paula Heartland took KEZI 9 News underneath a big rig she was inspecting for safety violations.

“A lot of times on the trucks, any kind of rust trail could be an indication that we've got a crack,” Heartland explained as she was inspecting the brake system underneath the truck.

Heartland is a transportation inspector for the Oregon Department of Transportation. Part of her inspections involve checking drivers’ log books. They used to be allowed to carry paper books. Now, a federal law requires electronic log books.

The federal law passed in 2015, requiring electronic logging devices. It set a compliance date of this past December. But truckers still have until December 2019 to meet the deadline.

“With paper they can write multiple paper logs and just give you the wrong one,” said Oregon State Police Trooper Kris Strubel.

KEZI 9 News first introduced you to Strubel in our first Semi Safety special report on Monday.

“Have you come across drivers who you've been suspicious of them forging the books?” KEZI 9 News Anchor Bryan Anderson asked Strubel.

“Yeah, and a lot of times you can prove it just by distances,” Strubel answered.

The electronic books automatically track a truck’s every move.

“This is both a convenience for the driver and the trucking company but also for regulating,” David House said, who works for the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles, “The trucking industry, they want to have a clean record.”

Companies with the cleanest records are labeled as trusted carriers, like Bi-Mart.

“We definitely stress safety everyday,” said Bi-Mart Vice President of Distribution John Evanston.

He said they also stress reputation.

“We stress that they're driving basically a billboard down the road telling people about Bi-Mart and we have 27 drivers going out each day,” Evanston said. ‘’

If interstate drivers are caught without electronic logging devices, those truckers could be given a violation. After April 1, 2018 interstate drivers without one of these devices could be put out of service.

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