May 14, 1998
U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today announced a pilot project permitting motor carriers to use satellite tracking systems and similar technology, along with complementary safety management computer systems, to record and monitor hours of service by truck drivers.
"Safety is President Clinton's highest transportation priority," Secretary Slater said. "This pilot project could lead to improved safety by providing an accurate method of monitoring truck and bus driver hours and helping to prevent crashes resulting from fatigue."
The use of satellite systems that track vehicle and driver locations over time would replace handwritten "records of duty status," commonly called driver logs, which are required by the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Truck and bus drivers are limited to 10 hours of driving after which rest is required for at least 8 hours.
"Use of satellite technology will provide the same degree of monitoring accuracy as the automatic on-board recorders that carriers may elect to use," FHWA Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle said. "Both are more accurate than handwritten logs."
The project involves a two-year pilot during which motor carriers can volunteer to enter into agreements with the FHWA to use advanced technology to manage their drivers' compliance with the hours of service regulations. The project is intended to show that use of technology can improve compliance, promote safety, and reduce regulatory paperwork.
Wykle said GPS technology also could save time and resources that motor carriers must devote to monitor drivers' hours of service and noted that the project recognizes how partnerships, technology, and incentives are major tools for advancing the goal of safe and economical highways for everyone in the 21st century.
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