The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been pushing to mandate electronic onboard recorders (EOBR) throughout the trucking industry. EOBR's are electronic logs and global positioning systems that automatically record where a truck is and how many hours it has been on the road.
Federal regulations prohibit a truck driver to be on the road for more than 11 hours. The reason for the regulation is to avoid truck driver fatigue. Driver fatigue can result in devastating trucking accidents that result in catastrophic injures and sometimes death.
Currently, truck drivers are required to keep handwritten log books that document their time on the road. The handwritten logs, however, are easily manipulated and if a driver pulled an all-nighter to make a delivery on-time, he or she could easily falsify the log book to indicate regulations were not violated. EOBRs will make it difficult for truckers to get away with dishonest reporting. It will also make compliance confirmation simpler and less expensive.
Mandating EOBR's in every truck, however, does not mean that the driver will rest when prohibited from driving. EOBR's also won't prevent many other causes for truck accidents, including:
- Accidents resulting from improper loading
- Accident's caused because of a drivers' poor health
- Accidents caused by driver distraction, such as text messaging
- Accidents caused by alcohol and drug use
- Accidents involving the improper screening, training or supervision of drivers
- Accidents caused by improper maintenance
Electronic on board monitoring will hold truck driver's more accountable but may not make our roads substantially safer.