We have all heard about Electronic On Board Recorder (EOBR) it is an electronic device attached to your semi-truck, which is used to record the amount of time a truck is being driven.. Also know as Black Box. But what do you really know about them. This article is from my own experience with EOBR.
The new Electronic On Board Recorder rule, which will go into effect June 1, 2012, says carriers that violate hours of service rules 10 percent of the time, based on "single" compliance review, must use EOBR to track truck driver hours.
The rule also sets new performance standards for Electronic On Board Recorder will have to automatically track the truck's location at each change of duty status and while the truck is in motion. They must comply with security requirements. Drivers will be able to add information to the record but the device must keep the original information as well as the annotations. And, the device must provide a digital file for safety enforcement officials to read.
Electronic On Board Recorder is no different than the paper logs, requiring truck driver input. This includes truck operational issues, loading / unloading times and time in the sleeper berth.
I work for a trucking company that is currently installing Electronic On Board Recorder in 50% of there fleet. This was at the "urging" of the DOT who told them if they installed at least 50% OF there fleet with with Electronic On Board Recorder that the DOT would not audit them as much.
I was opposed to having a electronic log in my truck due to the fact that I had driven a truck for the last 20 years just fine without the need for one. But more and more I was reading where truck drivers are going to jail that have been involved in fatal accident an it was discovered they had a logbook violation.
Take this scenario which is from my personal experience. Several months ago I was heading home from Tennessee it was Saturday night going into Sunday morning. I knew the weigh stations would be closed for the weekend. I was in a hurry to get home and start my 34 hour break. I was out of hours for the day and over 70 hours. I knew I could sneak home and take my break.
I was north of Louisville on I-71. There were two trucks ahead of me and a four wheeler driven by a 19 year old girl. It was 1:30 am. The girl in the four wheeler was going down a hill and into a curve when she lost control of the car and slid sideways on a bridge.
The second trucker in front of me hit the car in the drivers door going about 65 MPH. There was no where for the truck to go they were on the bridge. The young lady lived for about 20 minutes before she passed away.
Had I been going 30 seconds faster it would have been me that hit her and I would be sitting in jail now for being out of hours and causing her death. All a lawyer would have to say is that I was out of hours and should not have been in that location at that exact time and his client might still be alive.
My life would have been over just like that young girls life was. And the question I kept asking myself is would it have been worth it just for me to be able to get home and be off.
That scenario is not worth it. Who know when this could happen to you. You can control your driving but you cannot control the actions of another driver.
So I decided to take a truck with Electronic On-board Recorder (electronic logs..) The first two weeks are the hardest, getting to know the system and re-thinking how you drive. What I like about it now is I know once I start my day it will end in exactly 14 hours. I will then have a full 10 hours off. I will only work 70 hours a week.
Before I had been working 16-17 hours a day getting less than 10 hours of sleep a day and working over 70 hours a week.
Once you get use to Electronic On Board Recorder you will not want to go back to a paper log again.
Some people say this will effect how much you make. But I have not found this to be a problem. If fact I'm making a little more than I was making before. Electronic logs require you to plan your trips better and get the most out of your 14 hour day. No more sitting around in the truck stop BS with the waitress or other drivers. You focus on your driving time.
If you get into a serious accident and think you can get away with logbook violations, think again. Do you have a cell phone? Do you know they are tracking devices. They update your location every few minutes by pinging the nearest cell phone tower with a time a date stamp. Have a Pre-Pass/E-Z Pass in your truck every time you pass a weigh station or pay a toll it has a time an date stamp. You buy fuel guess what that a document that has your location and date on it.
Here is a little know trick as to why I like paperless logs. When you get fuel on a log book you have to log 15 minutes but with electronic logs you only log the actually time you use. Usual about 6-7 minutes. Also when you do a pretrip you only log around 10 minutes. On paperless logs you would have to show 15 minutes. Over the course of a week this saves me about 2-3 hours on my logs. That's 2-3 more hours a week I can drive.
So my advice as humble as it is, is to be in compliance all the time cause you never know when something bad will happen.