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Electronic On-Board Recorders

Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs) are small computer devices used to record the amount of driving done by drivers of commercial vehicles such as buses and large trucks, including tractor trailers. These devices can be set up to synchronize with a number of other devices on the vehicle to determine things such as:

  • Distance traveled
  • Routes taken
  • Vehicle speed

EOBRs are essentially a small computer screen in which the driver inputs their various driving-related activities. The EOBR is connected to other devices, such as the vehicle's engine, and a GPS system, which then combines with the driver inputted information to produce an accurate account of the vehicle's movement. Advocates of mandatory EOBR use argue that EOBRs would cut down on fatigued truck drivers, thus leading to a decrease in accidents caused by overly-tired drivers who are often held to unrealistic trucking schedules.

EOBRs and the Law

EOBRs are currently mandatory for large service vehicles in many countries, including:

  • Brazil
  • Turkey
  • Japan
  • The European Union

In the United States, large trucking firms and independent trucking organizations are aligned against mandatory use of EOBRs, since they could slow average delivery times, ultimately resulting in a loss of profit. Consumer and health advocate groups have lobbied hard for mandatory use of EOBRs in the United States, but to little effect. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has instituted minor regulations, requiring a very small percentage of commercial vehicles to use EOBRs.

EOBRs and Paper Logbooks

Mandatory EOBRs would take the place of paper logbooks, in which drivers record their driving information. Many argue that these logbooks are largely falsified, and the logbooks are sometimes referred to as "comic books" because of the large amount of falsified information that they contain. These logbooks are meant to insure compliance with federally-mandated hours of service (HOS). These laws are intended to keep fatigued truck drivers off of the roads. Increased use of EOBRs could insure compliance with these hours much more effectively than the current "comic book" system.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a truck accident with a tractor-trailer or other large commercial vehicle and you believe electronic on-board recorders could have prevented it, please schedule a consultation with tractor-trailer accident Lawyers Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.

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