EOBR ruling signals death of Driver Log Books

HOS compliance EOBR softwareA recent decision by the FMCSA will make EOBRs compulsory for all truck drivers sometime before June 4, 2015. This is because the rule will come into effect three years after publication of the rule, which FMCSA say will likely be published prior to June 4, 2012.

This differs from the requirement that any carrier that fails a DOT audit will be required to install EOBRs after June 1, 2012.

The only exception to this will be short-haul carriers whose drivers currently use time cards, primarily those of “property-carrying CMVs that do not require a CDL and who operate within a 150 air-mile radius of the driver’s normal work-reporting location under the current provisions.”

Basically if you are required currently to keep a Records of Duty Status (RODS) then this new ruling affects you.

Hours of service compliance ‘a big reason for change’

Tighter control of HOS compliance is one of the underlying reasons why the FMCSA is pushing for compulsory EOBRs. Being able to electronically record and report driver HOS will improve monitoring at checkpoints and during DOT audits.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says it’s just not possible to keep Americans safe on public highways without it. “We cannot protect our roadways when commercial truck and bus companies exceed Hours-of-Service rules. This proposal would make our roads safer by ensuring that carriers traveling across state lines are using EOBRs to track the hours their drivers spend behind the wheel.”

Driver log books no longer required

While FMCSA compliance rulings are often meet with resigned acceptance and viewed as just another government-imposed burden on carriers already struggling to make a profit in a depressed economy.

This compliance change however brings benefits, not just to other road users by making the highways safer, but also the carrier and driver alike.

Benefits include an end to paper-based mileage books that had to be manually updated and kept with the driver at all times. Some other benefits of the change include:

  • Public – Increased safety standards for interstate truck drivers by improving monitoring of hours of service (HOS).
  • Carriers – Improved monitoring of driver HOS to ensure compliance and reduce the chance of incurring heavy fines and costly DOT audits for drivers that fail HOS checks.
  • Drivers – Lose that log book! Drivers under the new ruling would no longer be required to keep supporting documents to verify driving time.

Save around $600 on each truck with a Fleet Management System

The FMCSA estimates that the cost of installing an EOBR to be between $525 and $785 per truck, however that cost is only around $90 for fleets with existing fleet management systems.

Installing a fleet management system now could also save you in other ways too.

Carriers that have installed comprehensive fleet management systems with EOBR compliant recorders are reporting massive cost savings on basic operating expenses such as fuel, tires, maintenance bills and overtime.

A connected fleet management system also addresses another criticism of the ruling around ‘dumb’ EOBRs that cannot tell when a driver is on duty, loading or driving, having to be manually updated by the driver thus lending itself to errors or fraudulent use. Using wired vehicle diagnostics a comprehensive fleet management system can detect when a truck is idling, switched off or driving, automating much of the record keeping.

Rather than waiting to be forced by the FMCSA many carriers have already, or are now considering, switching to fleet management software to improve their operational efficiency, while maintaining compliance with FMCSA requirements.

  • Guest

    They’re great no doubt about it. Biggest problem is that if the company gets a hair…and refuses to give you a copy of your weekly work you are screwed big time! No way to account for where you were, what you paid for taxes(and what ever other expenses they decided to make you pay for because they didn’t want to) nothing for your records.

  • Kevin B Kelly

    Is it government control over American Trucking Industry because of safety. or just plain jealousy?  I wonder sometimes

  • Kevin b Kelly

    Forgot to add something else:   It could be compared to that of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and American Trucking Industry, soon Coffee Industry.

  • Kyle_uhrich

    The only thing Elogs does is put tired drivers on the road! It has nothing to do with safety at all. It’s about the money and control. What other industry is there where the government can go in and tell you how much money your alloud to make?
    The problem with elogs is, there is nothing that rules the shippers and recievers and the bullying from the carriers that push the drivers even harder to run when your tired.
    For example… You have been sitting and waiting for a load all day…you have slept during the night before…now your awake. you finally get a load late in the afternoon…you start you clock…drive for about 10 miles to go load…sit there for about 6 hours loading. You are still awake… and your clock is still rolling and you cant sleep because your in the dock..on duty… After your loaded you are required to continue to roll through the night with what is left of your 14 hour clock because your electronic logs keep rolling.
    Or… after you have been sitting for 6 hours in the dock…most likely in your truck off duty….you still have to sit 4 more hours to be able to roll a full shift. Thats what most carriers will have you do. But, your still awake even though you have been off duty for a full 10 hours…and maybe slept for about 2-3 hours. Then you roll for 11 hours straight because the carriers want you to get the most out of your time.
    With Elogs, a driver has no room for naps…no room to pull over and sleep when he is tired because the carrier is more worried about getting the freight to the reciever on time then if the driver lives or dies.
    The flip side to this is that elogs also reduces the income a driver has with about 30%. He now has to push even harder and is even more stressed than he was before because he’s not making the same money as before because the carrier is regulating his/ her miles to their advantage.

    The HOS ( Hours of Service) rules do not help the industry at all with the way they are set today. They actually infringe on a drivers rest time. They make him tired because there is no room to manage the time in a way that lets the driver rest when he is actually tired.

    If the government really wanted a system in place that would better the safety on the roads, and give drivers and the carries a way to manage the time right, they need to address the needs of the drivers first.