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Trucking industry argues that onboard recorder rules too costly

Members of various groups within the trucking industry have taken issue with rules soon to go into effect about the use of electronic onboard recorders (EOBR). They say the requirements, which companies have two years to comply with, make the technology too expensive.

EOBRs are devices installed in trucks that track many details of a how the vehicle is driven, including the number of hours on the road. These devices prevent serious tractor trailer accidents by making sure drivers comply with existing regulations. More than just being a “gotcha” device, though, many companies find their routes are becoming more efficient after examining data collected by their fleets’ EOBRs.

Not everybody is happy with the new laws about the devices, however. There are two main points of contention for some in the industry: the temperature ratings and the ability to transfer data with USB Type B connectors. When the new rules take effect, an EOBR must be able to function in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius and as high as 85 degrees Celsius. Some are complaining that this range is too large and that current standards are more appropriate. Likewise, they say that most current devices are compatible with Type A USB connectors and forcing the installation of devices with Type B connectors would be an unnecessary expense for many companies.

Whatever the outcome of this discussion, hopefully regulators and industry representatives can come to a consensus that provides a safer environment on our nation’s highways. If all trucks were fitted with an EOBR, not only would we see a decline in tractor trailer crash injuries, but companies will benefit by becoming more efficient which should be reflected in lower costs. One of the leading causes of accidents is driver fatigue and the Hours of Service regulations have proven themselves to be effective at fighting this problem. Any devices that further compliance with these regulations would be a welcome innovation.