Safety & Compliance

Safety Group Poll Reveals Support For Truck 'Black Boxes'

September 28, 1999

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A large majority of Americans surveyed favor driver warning systems and "black boxes" on trucks to improve enforcement of truck safety laws.

The poll of approximately 1,000 adults was conducted last month by Louis Harris for Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. According to the group, 81% of those surveyed favored the use of driver warning systems and black boxes (onboard recorders) to combat the problem of fatigued truck drivers.
The American Trucking Assns. and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. both have problems with the idea of using "black boxes" for hours of service. ATA's Kevin Holland notes that there is currently no off-the-shelf software system that allows global positioning systems to be used to track hours of service. (Werner Enterprises has its own proprietary "paperless log" system.) Todd Spencer with OOIDA says satellite positioning systems and onboard recorders are designed as productivity enhancers, not safety devices.
In conjunction with the poll, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety released a report, called "Stuck in Neutral: Recommendations for Shifting the Highway and Auto Safety Agenda into High Gear," which outlines more than 90 recommendations on a wide variety of highway safety issues. Among those regarding commercial vehicles are ones that address not only "black boxes," but also truck rollovers, truck size and weight, truck brakes, conspicuity, underride and side impact guards, and revising hours of service regulations.

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