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13.10 Electronic On-Board Recorders

Many motor carriers have installed electronic devices in their trucks to help accurately record hours of service information. If such a device meets the requirements of the safety regulations, it is called an Electronic On-Board Recorder (EOBR), and may be used in place of a paper logbook.

Manufacturers of EOBRs must certify that their devices meet the minimum requirements. This includes a requirement that an EOBR must be mechanically or electronically connected to the truck to automatically record, at a minimum, engine use, road speed, miles driven, the date, and time of day. Drivers enter other information required to complete the hours of service records. The vast majority of EOBRs now use GPS tracking to meet these requirements.

The EOBR device must be capable of displaying or printing for enforcement officers the times of duty status changes and other required information. It must also store this information for the prior 7 days. An EOBR may be used without creating any paper copies of logs by transmitting the data electronically to the carrier, or it may be used to print copies of the logs that would be signed by the driver and mailed to the carrier.

What Is The Future Of EOBRs

Even 5 years ago, the vast majority of major trucking carriers relied on paper logs. But the DOT and FMCSA have begun a historic crackdown on enforcing and regulating, among other things, HOS rules. Violations now effect both the drivers record as well as the carriers safety rating. We are at a turning point where it now makes financial sense for trucking companies to switch over from using paper logs to EOBRs. These electronic recording devices are here to stay and will only grow in usage as time goes on. In fact, on January 31, 2011, the FMCSA proposed a rule that would require Electronic On-Board Recorders for interstate commercial truck and bus companies.

How Do I Use An EOBR?

There are a few things you'll need to learn in order to use an EOBR. Your carrier will provide you with proper training as each company uses slightly different systems. But for the most part, the logs are automatic. You still have control over everything on your log except for driving time. Any off duty, sleeper berth , or on duty time can be edited. If something needs to be changed with your driving time, your carrier has the authority to make changes for you. The log will automatically keep track of your location and track how many miles you have driven in a given day.

How do I show my logs during an inspection?

Every truck equipped with an EOBR must contain an instruction guide. If any law enforcement or DOT official asks to see your logbook , you may physically give them the EOBR along with the instruction sheet so that your logs can be properly reviewed. Otherwise, most logs have a print or fax option so that you can print out and/or fax your logs to whoever is requesting the information.

What if my EOBR malfunctions?

As with any electronic device, your EOBR may malfunction or become completely unusable. You are still required to have a paper logbook in the truck in case of a malfunction. It is your responsibility to ensure your paper logbook accounts for all time your EOBR has been down.

This Driver Shows How His Electronic Logbook Works

Driver Shows How His Electronic Logbook Works

A driver demonstrating electronic logs - EOBR

Some Concerns And Myths About EOBRs

As with any major change within any industry, there has been some resistance to EOBRs. Let's bust some of the many myths and concerns you may hear about EOBRs.

“If I’m forced to use an EOBR, I’ll have less time behind the wheel.”

This is not true. Some drivers even claim EOBRs actually help them gain more time on the road. While paper log books require drivers to round up to the nearest 15 minutes, EOBRs record on duty status right down to the minute. Over the course of a week, that can add up to hours of time on the road. In the next page, we'll go over some tips and tricks on how to maximize your hours on the road.

Additionally, most carriers will have access to your available driving hours at all times. That means carriers can more accurately plan your next load assignment and use your available hours more efficiently. That leads to less downtime and more time driving.

“EOBRs require me to enter data while I'm driving which is unsafe.”

Drivers usually log in to their EOBR at the beginning of their shift and log off when they’re finished for the day. As EOBRs detect when the truck is either moving or stationary, they can automatically record changes in duty status. Driver interaction while the truck’s in motion is never needed and most EOBRs restrict usage while driving. However a countdown timer is available, ensuring you never find yourself out on the highway, unaware that you were nearly out of hours.

“An EOBR tells the government where I am and what I’m doing. I don’t want ‘big brother’ in my cab!”

Not true. Only the trucking company employees that you work for, who are authorized to view your EOBR data, will be able to pinpoint your location. If the DOT demands an audit, they may view location-based data from your electronic logs , but they will not know your every move. It’s the same process as an audit of your paper logs, except that electronic driver logs save time and are more accurate.

“If I run out of hours, the EOBR will shut down my truck.”

Not true. Sure, remote shutdown technology is out there, but it’s not an EOBR standard. EOBRs were simply designed to record engine data—they don’t take control of your vehicle. To date, we are not aware of any company that shuts down trucks when a driver runs out of hours. There are many rumors about this happening, but those rumors have always been disproven.

“EOBRs don’t make safer drivers.”

The answer is yes and no. EOBRs don’t dictate a truck’s speed, following distances, or lane changes. It also doesn't guarantee a driver is resting during his sleeper berth or off duty time. And finally, on occasion, EOBR's will show available hours when a driver is not safe to drive. However, they do let drivers know how much time they have left behind the wheel each day. It also ensures that carriers can't "force" their drivers to drive illegally.

Electronic On Board Recorders (EOBRs) are also referred to as Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRDs). However, this term is becoming outdated and most people do not use this term anymore. They are also called E-Logs or Electronic Logs. Both of those terms are readily used in the industry.
Law enforcement and DOT officials do ask to see your paper logbook. If your EOBR is functioning properly, you should not use your paper logbook. But you are still required to have one with you in the truck.
You're not going to be asked any questions from information in this video. We just included it because we thought you might find it interesting!

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

EOBR:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Electronic Logs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

EOBRs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Review Questions - Click On The Picture To Begin...

Which statement below is true?
  • EOBRs are declining in usage
  • EOBRs must be capable of printing a log sheet
  • An EOBR may be used without creating any paper copies
  • EOBRs must store at least the previous 3 days of log information

Quote From The CDL Manual:

The EOBR device must be capable of displaying or printing for enforcement officers the times of duty status changes and other required information. It must also store this information for the prior 7 days. An EOBR may be used without creating any paper copies of logs by transmitting the data electronically to the carrier, or it may be used to print copies of the logs that would be signed by the driver and mailed to the carrier.

What Is The Future Of EOBRs

Even 5 years ago, the vast majority of major trucking carriers relied on paper logs. But the DOT and FMCSA have begun a historic crackdown on enforcing and regulating, among other things, HOS rules. Violations now effect both the drivers record as well as the carriers safety rating. We are at a turning point where it now makes financial sense for trucking companies to switch over from using paper logs to EOBRs. These electronic recording devices are here to stay and will only grow in usage as time goes on. In fact, on January 31, 2011, the FMCSA proposed a rule that would require Electronic On-Board Recorders for interstate commercial truck and bus companies.

Next
EOBR's are required to automatically record which of the following?
  • All of these answers are correct
  • Miles driven
  • Road speed
  • Engine use

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Manufacturers of EOBRs must certify that their devices meet the minimum requirements. This includes a requirement that an EOBR must be mechanically or electronically connected to the truck to automatically record, at a minimum, engine use, road speed, miles driven, the date, and time of day. Drivers enter other information required to complete the hours-of-service records. The vast majority of EOBRs now use GPS tracking to meet these requirements.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

Most EOBRs are integrated within satellite communication systems that drivers and dispatchers use to communicate with each other.

Prev
Next
What does EOBR stand for?
  • Electronic Occurrence and Break Recorder
  • Electronic On-Board Recorder
  • Electric Orientation and Break Recorder
  • Enforcement of Break Rules

Quote From The CDL Manual:

Many motor carriers have installed electronic devices in their trucks to help accurately record hours of service information. If such a device meets the requirements of the safety regulations, it is called an Electronic On-Board Recorder (EOBR), and may be used in place of a paper logbook.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

EOBRs are slowly becoming the industry standard. If you are hired on with any large carrier, chances are very high that you will be using an EOBR. Many small companies still use paper logbooks, but EOBRs will soon take over.

Prev
Next
What happens if an EOBR malfunctions?
  • A broken EOBR will require you to shut down immediately and remain off-duty until the EOBR can be repaired
  • Drivers are still required to have a paper logbook in the truck in case of a malfunction
  • The driver is expected to use an "honor system" until the issue can be repaired
  • Drivers can call their carrier and have each duty-status changed remotely

Quote From The CDL Manual:

What if my EOBR malfunctions?

As with any electronic device, your EOBR may malfunction or become completely unusable at times. You are still required to have a paper logbook in the truck in case of a malfunction. It is your responsiblity to ensure your paper logbook accounts for all time your EOBR has been down.

TruckingTruth's Advice:

Remember, during a random logbook inspection, you may be asked to show that you have a paper logbook in case of an EOBR malfunction.

Prev
Next
Which statement about EOBR's is true?
  • None of these statements are true
  • EOBRs require me to enter data while I'm driving
  • If I run out of hours, the EOBR will shut down my truck
  • If I’m forced to use an EOBR, I’ll have less time behind the wheel

Quote From The CDL Manual:

As with any major change within any industry, there has been some resistance to EOBRs. Let's bust some of the many myths and concerns you may hear about EOBRs.

“If I’m forced to use an EOBR, I’ll have less time behind the wheel.”

This is not true. Some drivers even claim EOBRs actually help them gain more time on the road. While paper log books require drivers to round up to the nearest 15 minutes, EOBRs record on-duty status right down to the minute. Over the course of a week, that can add up to hours of time on the road.

Additionally, most carriers will have access to your available driving hours at all times. That means carriers can more accurately plan your next load and use your available hours more efficiently. That leads to less downtime and more time driving.

“EOBRs require me to enter data while I'm driving which is unsafe.”

Drivers must log in to their EOBR at the beginning of their shift and log off when they’re finished for the day. As EOBRs detect when the truck is either moving or stationary, they can automatically record changes in duty status. Driver interaction while the truck’s in motion is never needed, though a countdown timer is available, ensuring you never find yourself out on the highway, unaware that you were nearly out of hours.

“An EOBR tells the government where I am and what I’m doing. I don’t want ‘big brother’ in my cab!”

Not true. Only the trucking company employees that you work for, who are authorized to view your EOBR data through, will be able to pinpoint your location. If the DOT demands an audit, they may view location-based data from your electronic logs, but they will not know your every move. It’s the same process as an audit of your paper logs, except that electronic driver logs save time and are more accurate.

“If I run out of hours, the EOBR will shut down my truck.”

Not true. Sure, remote shutdown technology is out there, but it’s not an EOBR standard. EOBRs were simply designed to record engine data—they don’t take control of your vehicle. Decisions about where a truck may safely be stopped are best left in the driver’s hands.

“EOBRs don’t make safer drivers.”

The answer is yes and no. EOBRs don’t dictate a truck’s speed, following distances, or lane changes. It also doesn't guarantee a driver is resting during his sleeper berth or off-duty time. And finally, on occasion, EOBR's will show available hours when a driver is not safe to drive. However, they do let drivers know how much time they have left behind the wheel each day. It also ensures that carriers can't "force" their drivers to drive illegally.

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