The use of electronic on-board record devices improved the process of following the driver hours of service rules.
With paper logbooks, the HOS rules were often broken because some dispatchers pushed their truck drivers to make on-time pickups or deliveries, or some owner-operators themselves worked over hours to make more money.
At the same time, the old method of using paper log books was time-intensive and prone to human transcription errors.
Also, the old-school paper logs were much harder to verify, to track long-term, or to view properly when necessary.
Because of that the auditing of a driver's hours of service often relied on trust. But when it came to numbers and deadlines, often people were not always honest.
And FMCSA came up with a solution to this problem.
With electronic onboard recorders (EOBD), the paper logs era came to an end.
The EORB devices were able to record the truck driver's hours of service digitally and more accurately.
Below, find what is an electronic on-board recorder and what it was used for.
What is an electronic on-board recorder?
An electronic on-board recorder (EOBR) is a device that is attached to a commercial motor vehicle to record its driving amount of time. the truck's engine use, driving speed, the date, the time of the day, etc.
All these metrics that EOBR devices provided introduced more accuracy and accountability into the HOS logging process.
Yet, today, we can talk about them in the past tense because electronic on-board recorder devices were formerly used until 2019 when they were officially replaced by ELDs.
Initiated by the MAP-21 Act in 2012, the ELD mandate was formally announced by the FMCSA in 2015 and required the adoption of ELDs for applicable carriers by December 2017. Carriers whose drivers already used approved AOBRDs at the time were allowed until December 2019 to make the switch.
Anyways, since the mass adoption of EOBRs, truck drivers enjoyed less administration work, safer roads, and smoother roadside inspections by the DOT.
EOBR targeted commercial vehicle drivers who need to follow HOS rules
The introduction of the use of EORB devices targeted interstate carriers to ensure that they follow the hours of service rules.
The HOS rules intend to prevent driver fatigue on the roads by limiting the amount of time drivers spend operating commercial vehicles.
By using the EORB devices, the driver's hours of service were registered automatically. That prevented the drivers or the dispatchers from manipulating the driver's HOS.
That moved CDL drivers one step closer to respectfully following the of FMCSA.
What Does the Electronic Log Do?
EOBRs and ELDs are capable of tracking a wide variety of metrics. The exact data gathered generally depending on the service plan for which the end user has signed up. These metrics include (but are not limited to):
- Driver HOS compliance
- Vehicle maintenance tracking
- CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) tracking
- E-Log and E-DVIR (Driver Vehicle Inspection Report) auditing
- Vehicle downtime, idle time and fuel usage tracking
- GPS navigation data
- Fuel tax reporting for International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) compliance
The FMCSA maintains a national database on each truck, bus and commercial HGV company under its purview. In addition to driver HOS, the FMCSA records incidents of unsafe driving, impaired driving, crashes, cargo issues, vehicle maintenance, and driver fitness.
The FMCSA isn't the only party paying attention to fleet regulatory compliance. Insurance companies base their rates on these metrics, and shippers and consumers can look up data on any company.
Taking a proactive approach to your fleet's compliance is more important than ever, given that the FMCSA can levy heavy fines on non-compliant fleets. EOBRs and ELDs furnish fleets with insights about any compliance issues they face, so that they can be identified and dealt with fast.