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Fleets See EOBR Benefits

A growing number of fleets are turning to electronic on-board recorders (EOBR) to increase driver safety, and earlier this year the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed a rule that would require nearly all interstate carriers to use EOBRs—electronic devices that attach to a vehicle and record the amount of time a vehicle is being driven.


However, that rule may be delayed due to a recent court decision over a 2010 FMCSA rule requiring EOBRs for about 5,700 carriers with significant hours-of-service violations by June 2012.

In its decision, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said FMCSA failed to ensure that the devices wouldn’t be used to harass truck drivers.

The court said, “The agency needs to consider what types of harassment already exist, how frequently and to what extent harassment happens, and how an electronic device capable of contemporaneous transmission of information to a motor carrier will guard against (or fail to guard against) harassment.”

FMCSA now must work to revise the rule, but has not yet said exactly what action it will take or how it will affect its proposal requiring EOBRs for all carriers.

Even without government mandates, there are more than 350,000 EOBRs in use in the trucking industry.

Users of EOBRs said the devices can help with CSA compliance, eliminate paper records to reduce driver admin time, and provide more visibility into safe-driving behaviors. There is also evidence that compliant drivers gain miles per month with EOBRs because they manage their time better and dispatchers better manage load assignments.

More and more fleets may take advantage of the technology as new models of EOBRs, particularly those with lower price points, enter the market. Costs vary for the equipment, but range from $200 to $800.

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By “Move Ahead” Staff