The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed that only the worst trucking companies be required to have electronic onboard recorders (EOBR) to determine if there are hours of service violations by the drivers. Why? The FMCSA knows that fatigue is the leading cause of death in thousands of accidents and collisions on the roadways every year. The EOBR monitors the drivers identity, duty status, date, time, location, and carrier distance traveled. The trucking company instantly knows about violations and if the driver needs time off to avoid becoming fatigued.

The problem from my point of view is that they are not mandating that EOBR’s be used in throughout the trucking industry. Given the acknowledge shortage of drivers, the desire to work longer hours by some drivers and  trucking companies in order to make more money, and the fear of getting fired by some drivers if their load isn’t delivered on time, it seems as if these devices would prevent drivers from overwork and fatigue, and thus collisions. It comes as no surprise that the trucking industry is in favor of limited use of EOBRs despite the fact that a study done by the American Trucking Association showed 76% of the drivers had their moral improve! Clearly the drivers know they are being forced to overwork!

In a recent case, Trotter v. B & W Cartage Company, Inc., 2006 US Dist LEXIS 19074 (S.D. Ill. 2006) a truck driver was in serious violation of the hours of service regulations, fatigued and had been submitting false logs for weeks to the trucking company. The driver’s employer admitted that they couldn’t audit the driver’s logs because they got "too big too fast." If they had an EOBR, a horrible crash would likely never have happened.