Almost all truckers use a log book of some sort to track their time behind the wheel. When tractor-trailers are stopped by the police or when pulling into a weigh station, this log book is commonly reviewed to assure that the driver is not driving longer than the legally allowed hours of service (11 hours driving and 14 hours total working per day).
Sadly, some drivers fraudulently keep duplicate log books. One book is to show their manager for compensation purposes, and the other is to show the police to avoid being taken out-of-service. This abuse of the law leads to very unsafe driving as the trucker becomes fatigued and sleepy.
With compensation methods that encourage more miles driven (pay by the mile); the temptation to misuse a log book is difficult for some to resist.
The Electronic On-Board Recorder (EOBR) is a logical solution. These devices already used by numerous fleets can track hours, location, speed and other vital statistics automatically. Police officials can easily review an EOBR electronically to determine the vital driving stats of any truck they may inspect.
Most drivers are in favor of the EOBR since they eliminate the daily drudgery of keeping the complicated paper log book (which they must complete without pay since they only get paid while moving). It is difficult to think of anything that is seriously tracked today in America manually. It is less expensive and more accurate to track things electronically.
One more important point on this: trucking is the only mode of freight movement in America that does not require a "black box" (EOBR for trucks) to record what happens. Trucking is also the only mode in which we lose 5,000 lives and injure over 100,000 annually. We believe these facts are related.
February, 2011: Follow this link to exciting news concerning FMCSA's action that will eventually mandate the use of EOBRs. FMCSA Makes Major Announcement Concerning Electronic Logging