EOBRs (Electronic On-Board Recorders) also more recently known as Electronic Logging Devices have slowly but surely making their way into the national conversation for truck drivers since their invention. These devices are used to record the operation of a commercial vehicles as well as the manual logging on HOS (Hours of Service) for drivers. On December 10th of 2015 the FMCSA put into motion legislation requiring ELDs on all commercial vehicles effective two years from the legislation’s publication date. Based on their studies, they estimate the net savings for the industry to be positive- citing decreases in clerical time handling paper records and a decrease in fatigue related accidents. That being said, these devices will be the responsibility of the independent driver or company hiring these drivers. Keeping a compliant and up to date device will cost money. The full transcript can be found here.

Some of the notable changes to this piece of legislation that differ from earlier versions is the inclusion of Bluetooth and mobile devices as a possibility for use as an EOBR. This opens up a lot of inexpensive possibilities for ELDs in the future, as most drivers already have a mobile device. This ability to use a mobile device with logging capabilities takes a lot of the pressure to make the switch off of the drivers. Currently, apps like KeepTruckin are setting the bar for electronic logs, providing free digital logs and a relatively simple engine integration for automatic logging of travel data.

So what are some of the benefits to Electronic Logging Devices?

  • A lack of paper, clock checking and writing-time makes for much quicker logging of hours.
  • An elimination of “form and manner” violations and clerical errors in regards to filing.
  • Scheduling and dispatching is easier as vehicle locations are always known.
  • Drivers are up on and aware of their compliance hours as they have up to date real-time records.
  • Speeds, engine usage, location and other factors that can help protect drivers and companies are stored and available for legal proceedings.

Even with the mandate going forward, the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is set to continue to fight the legislation. They believe that Electronic Logging Devices can be used to harass drivers and infringe on the drivers ability to defend themselves from carriers and government regulation. They also contend that there is no known way to track the duty status of the driver when he is not driving (D) resulting in a push for drivers to operate tired or fatigued.

What do you think will be the feature of Electronic Logging devices? Leave us a comment below or start a conversation with us on social media.