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Would these equipment cost estimates be accurate once implementation of the rule creates a large increase in demand?

I have one truck and leased to a company who we have to pay this ?

    Thanks for commenting on this issue as well sewest. As the owner of one truck, are there specific aspects of these new costs that concern you more than others?

    Over the Road Trucker are payed by the mile not hr and O/O pill have to pay for this out of pocket it just a lost to us and no i have seen ppl playing with these things when driving have talked to ppl that showed me that you can lie to them and they can show you moveing when you are not these things are a way for the OTR Trucker to go under

    Thank you for your great comment aaron and welcome to Regulation Room! You raise a lot of good, practical points likely to get FMCSA’s attention.

    You mentioned that the government could subsidize production of new trucks so that they come pre-fitted with EOBRs. Could you share more details about how you see this working? Would truck owners receive subsidies to equip old trucks as well? What do other commenters think about this proposal?

    What do think of the ideas jeff raises below?

    Also, aaron, maybe you have ideas about what whether FMCSA should phase in compliance by carrier size. You can read and discuss the current proposal here.

    You mentioned that the government could subsidize production of new trucks so that they come pre-fitted with EOBRs. Could you share more details about how you see this working? Would truck owners receive subsidies to equip old trucks as well?
    I see this working as a cooperation with manufacturers of the vehicles on any new vehicles that enter the market. A standard EOBR system would need to be introduced to cut costs and keep it consistent across the board. This would cut production costs as well as training costs in relation to safety officers inspecting the EOBRs and what to expect. If the EOBRs are always the same they know exactly what they’re doing when they inspect one—and so will the drivers and everyone else in the industry.
    The trucks that are already on the road would pose the larger issue. The older trucks would need to be installed in a similar manner and, therefore, a more complex system may take effect with the installation.
    To be completely honest I don’t see why a system with an innate GPS isn’t just installed in everything. The GPS technologies are getting cheaper and I could see them being used to identify when the truck is in motion—as opposed to using an EOBR that tracks when the vehicle is in motion with motor use. They can certainly tell you how fast you’re going. I’m sure something could be setup that would not only track their on duty driving time (by automatically changing duty status when the vehicle is in motion), track the drivers and also serve as a location tool for trucks. It could even be used as a communication tool from the carrier. Some may think that they could just fool it by placing it in an area where it wouldn’t find satellites but as soon as it comes back on and finds a new location miles away from the original it would be easy to program to show an HOS violation. (Please note this idea here for when I claim some kind of use of my idea later in court hahaha).
    These systems could also be integrated with current software to show more accurate arrival/departure times from shippers and possibly integrate enough into the software to automatically notify customers of these events and any delays in shipments. I’ve seen systems where the software can be checked online by customers before with GPS tracking that just gives a tracking position. I’m sure Google could jump into the trucking industry and before you know it we’d have locations of trucks on a map that you could just highlight and see the driver, contact information, route, hours available, etc. (Do you hear me Google?)

    Is the 3-year proposal too long? Too short? Why?
    3 years seems like adequate time for many companies to comply. However, just because one agrees with the timeframe doesn’t mean that it still allows for the industry to be competitive –as I’ve stated before about smaller companies and individuals being able to afford these items without assistance—or that one even agrees with the practice.

    Should all carriers be required to comply by the same time, or should larger carriers be required to install EOBRs sooner than smaller ones? Why? The compliance date should be the same for either group. If anything a smaller fleet would have less trucks to worry about whereas a larger fleet would have a larger undertaking. As long as enough time is allowed for the smaller fleets to get the subsidies or anything else they could get to help pay for the equipment, install it and train their drivers in its use, then it shouldn’t make much of a difference here. I’d certainly be interested to hear any arguments as to why this would matter if they are allowed a several year deadline.

    How many power units/vehicles should be considered “large” for this purpose?
    This one would be hard to set a number on. I’m sure they already have classifications based on groupings they have developed using the new CSA 2010 standard where the groups are compared to their peers. Might as well stick to this standard.

    Should EOBRs be phased in over a period of time, depending on the number of power units in the carrier’s fleet? Perhaps, but this would probably create another auditing point. Having a deadline for all trucks to have EOBRs sounds more feasible because you can just fine the offenders. Phasing it in and requiring that a certain amount of a fleet is required to have an EOBR by certain dates would require more auditing and resources.

    What would be the break points for each phase? No comment.

    Are there other factors FMCSA should consider in setting compliance dates?
    Consideration for the carriers should always be a factor. Carriers should be able to ask for extensions due to relative hardships. Information (locations to have it done or how to do it, etc) and subsidizing the costs should be available to the smaller fleets certainly.

    “I am all for being able to track our drivers”
    I don’t want to word it this way. I’m not about tracking people. However, I think what’s being said here is “I want to track my equipment and my liabilities. I want to know what’s being done with it and how my resources are being spent.” We know that drivers can be a liability for smaller fleets because some of them think that after they get done with their assignments the truck is just their personal vehicle. I’d also love to know what route they are taking at all times and be able to easily divert my drivers with available information or even advise them where to get fuel without having to call them.
    “include cell phone tracking/management systems.”
    Sounds very interesting. Cell phones are also integrating GPS technologies all the time and things could be done just like I noted above. Our system already allows for load data to be sent to drivers with smart phones. These are certainly viable options and alternatives to EOBRs. In fact, I believe EOBRs are probably not where we should be heading. We should definitely be going paperless, but there are much better alternatives than what is already out there and understood and I know someone could innovate.
    “HOS in the proper format on his cell phone or GPS PDA and the company has access to the same information at the Home Terminal”
    This would be excellent for safety officers and operations. This would help dispatchers with a clear picture of things if they could view a driver’s logs in real time. A safety officer could also stop drivers before they go into violation with alert systems. The responsibility should still fall on a driver to properly maintain and adhere, but these would be excellent ways to ensure compliance.
    “having all of the upfront cost on buying another accessory to add to our trucks that may “break” down and we have to send that unit off to get it repaired…does that truck just have to be put “out of service” until the unit comes back in?”
    My first comment covers much of Jeff’s comment here. I agree completely that these will just be another item that needs to be repaired and contingency plans made that will get the item working again as soon as possible and still remain in compliance through the use of paper logs.
    “there needs to be a standard for all CMV Companies”
    Absolutely. That’s my comment.
    “Why do you not include companies like Telenav Track or Xora or another similar company into the EOBR guidelines that all they need to do is “make [an] app for that”? The apps can be very detailed and the driver will have to enter some information but they will have to do that anyway we look at it.”
    I’m still not sure about the whole cell phone thing. I think a separate system that could be hardwired into (but not necessarily installed into the truck) the vehicle that could serve as a multi-purpose unit would be a better choice. Cell phones are certainly growing into huge personal devices, but they can also be very unreliable as cell phone manufacturers make them cheaper and cheaper and the margins get ever tighter. Also, I imagine the data input into a cell phone would just be too difficult to manage. I’m sure there are methods that could be developed, but this seems like it would be a very tedious task. However, I would keep an open mind until I tried one. It’s just what I’m imagining. I’m certain many types of smartphones could do this very seamlessly. Such as a touchscreen device that would allow you to just drag a bar across the times you were on duty driving and then going up to do sleeper berth. Allow it to zoom in and do it in blocks.
    I’m certainly open to this sort of thing, but I would see a device almost like an iPad or a 5 inch GPS unit that is mounted on the dash and hardwired (the power source at least) into the truck. The unit could be removed and used for communication through wireless networks/satellite back with the carrier, etc.
    In other words, I wouldn’t want to see it just used for recording logs. It should benefit the industry. I think drivers everywhere could benefit from a GPS. Even if they don’t need it for directions, who could deny the benefits of seeing what roads you’re approaching, seeing the speed limits for the areas you’re driving through, etc… They even find locations to eat, banks in the area (has helped me once when doing IFTA for my company and they sent me with the wrong paperwork), etc.

    If these EOBRs had a broader range of features that drivers and companies could use for different purposes, do you think the companies would be more willing to foot the bill for purchasing, installing, and maintaining them? What other features do you think would make the cost worthwhile, especially for small companies?

    You may also want to add your voice to the “What about Privacy concerns” section based on your comment that EOBRs are for tracking equipment and liabilities, not for tracking drivers. You can access it by clicking here.

    Does anybody else know any reasons why small and large carriers should have different deadlines to comply with the rule?

    Do other commenters agree that EOBRs should be made with additional features, like GPS technology? Do you think this could save money for drivers and owners? Is it possible to include more features without causing the price to rise?

    Aaron, your comments on privacy concerns are helpful and will be incorporated into our summary to DOT, but would you be willing to re-post them in the privacy section? Commenters interested in that part of the proposed rule will have an easier time finding your thoughts and responding to them.

    You can see the current specifications for what EOBRs must be able to do here. Do you think cell phones could handle it? If not, is there more in the specifications than FMCSA really needs?

    I use the JJ Keller system for my EOBR rules. It meets FMCSA rules for EOBR use. it costs $199.00 for the GPS tracker and $6.00 a month to use. the system uses a smart phone to logand compute your hours. whats nice is that you can use the phone as your cell phone. the system will not let you text while truck is moving over 8mph.

    I think cell phones could handle most of what the FMCSA requires. I think the current specifications need to be more open. I propose that we use cell phones with apps that can report the requirements that the FMCSA requires. Applications have really come along way so I feel that they would be able to record what the FMCSA really needs.

    The 395.15 and 395.16 component to the regulation require engine connectivity which most cell phone applications do not have. There are exceptions, such as Xata Turnpike which uses an application on the handset paired with a device (Route Tracker) tied to the engine.

Being a small bus company in these economic times, we have NO extra money for more regulations. I am all for safety but this is going to put the small guys out in the cold!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks for your comment Jason and welcome to Regulation Room! You’re saying you agree that safety should be a consideration, but that this proposal will cost too much.

    DOT and FMCSA are interested in hearing ideas that you and other commenters may have. Do you have suggestions for how to reduce the expected cost without sacrificing safety?

I operate 2 trucks under my own authority and to incur these expenses along with the lack of flexibility in the current HOS would probably force me to discontinue my operation.

We have 4 trucks and are a small company, having to pay for these would place a great burden on our company.

    As part of a small trucking company, could you share specific details about how this would place a great burden on you?

this is a bunch of bs how do they expect us to support our family when all this happens these stupid rules will lead to more illegal stuff like drug dealing stealing and murders this isnt right everyone wants to make money off the driver fuel is already at a all time high brokers are trying to go down on freight and no one cares they think truck drivers are all ready at the bottom of every thing i have you know that this country runs off of truckdrivers people wouldnt have nothing no food no clothes no heat no energey no water no nothing so if they want to pass these stupid laws let them but i promise you the usa will be like egypt the people will take a stand and the people will get what they want just watch and see no wonder theres so many people on drugs and we have so many murders i think thats the way the goverment wants it but i promise you when this takes place your going to see some mad truckers and it will efect the usa and the world the people have had enough of giving giving and more giving this is not a free country any more but its ok if we can just print up 325 billion dollars and give it away so our kids can pay for it and there kids i promise if this takes effect the usa will take back what was ours to start with do you think jesus would be like this oh i forgot i cant even say jesus can i well the goverment is not any good all they want is more money in there pocket i thought the new president was going to fix it well he has a lot of proving to do and hes running out of time we the truckers of america need to take a stand and do something and we will just watch and see i dont care if i loose every dime i got were going to take a stand and the affects will be felt world wide thats a promise

    Yo Steve,its apparent we,cant fight these thugs>our government< ,they have already shown that they are going to do what they want,so instead of wasting good breath,i think we should rally,they want to control us?fine put us on the payroll,like the postal workersetc

    Mikeakakrazy, I appreciate your concern about this proposed rule, but this is not the appropriate forum for rallying protests. In fact, Regulation Room gives you the opportunity to make sure that FMCSA is addressing your concerns before they enact the rule. For more information, see How Does Rulemaking Work?.

I work for a company that has four 3/4 and 1 ton pickups pulling trailers with a GVWR of under 8,000 pounds. We cross state lines occassionally. The costs involved in this rule would all but put our division out of business. I can somewhat understand the reason for this on an over the road truck, but there has to be more exemptions to account for the little guy like us. We may only need to drive CMV’s 3-5 times per month.

    It seems like your main concern is how this rule will effect smaller trucks that only sometimes meet the current weight definition for CMV. You might want to go to the Who would have to use an EOBR? post to see what FMCSA and others are saying about this.

    Do you think FMCSA should exclude trucks that don’t meet the CMV weight requirement most of the time? How many trips per month does it make sense to exclude?

What about farmers and ranchers that haul cattle and hay a few months out of the year? What about the custom Harvestors who travel a circuit harvesting grain about six months out of the year? How are these guys going to afford this? what about personell conveyence.. We use our truck a couple of times a year to pull our fifth wheel travel trailer to races..

No benefits at all. they are just an expence that is not necessary..

Follow the EOBR and drive tired that makes sence.. let an Electric onboard recorder tell me when i am tired.. REALLY?

Follow the EOBR and drive tired that makes sence.. let an Electric onboard recorder tell me when i am tired.. REALLY?

There is just no realistic reason for this..

Why would any1 use Qualcomm. I use the JJ Keller system. $199.00 for the GPS unit + $6.00 a month to use on a smart phone. Works great easy to use.

    That looks like a much cheaper option than the one FMCSA pointed to. Do you know if it meets the EOBR specifications?

    Can you post a link to the product you mentioned so other commenters can see if it would work for them?

FMCSA is using the most expensive system for the EOBR calulations. I use the JJ Keller system. $199.00 for the GPS and $6.00 a month. It requires you to use a smart phone and is very easy to use.

the JJ Keller system EOBR cost $199.00 for the GPS and $6.00 a month to use. It requires a smart phone to use but you can use this phone as your cell phone as it can do both items at the same time. I have a $75.00 everything cell plan and it works great.

If the government wants to enforce HOS, then they need to foot the bill.

Why should we pay the cost for some alien device to be planted in our vehicle, at our expense, to be used against us as an enforcement tool? This is no more than Big Brother overstepping his sovereign authority. We did not place sovereignty in our government to merely penalize us for making a living, while they fatten their pockets from all of the public lobbyists groups.

Fire/Layoff unneeded law enforcement, pay for these devices yourself.

We already pay: for trucks, trailers, all maintenance, registration, authority, process agents, IFTA Stickers, UCR (another subject that erks me), 2290 Highway Road Use, Fuel Taxes, Ad Valorem Tax, fuel and supplement purchases, insurance, Drug Consortium, ungodly enforcement penalties (sometimes by crooked law enforcement that never even crawl under your vehicle, but charge you with brakes out of adjustment), forced to keep extensive records and documentation, income taxes (federal and state), self-employment tax, health physicals, cost of cash flow, and many other numerous things. And don’t forget: We have been informed of the proposed 1099′s that we must issue to EVERYONE that we do $600 in business with in a year.

It takes so much time for all of that, that we really don’t have time to drive now.

Oh, I can see you desk jockeys now: let us create robo-trucks so that the real drivers can take care of the dirty work!

    It looks like you’re worried about how much EOBRs will cost and the amount of time their use will take up.  FMCSA thinks that EOBRs will actually save drivers time, because they won’t have to fill out paper logs or deal with as many supporting documents.  Do you agree?

The EOBR is a get rich in a hurry gift to the primary company that is making the unit is making a lot of money and on top of that we are forced to pay 40. dollars a month to stay compliant if that is not another way off letting government reach in your pocket to give it to there friends. And the FMCSA wonders why very few owner operators trust them.

To the Moderator,

Cost is only one of the factors I’m speaking about. Violations of our right to work without being harassed at every turn of our step is also taken into my consideration.

How is it fair for our every move to be tracked, while every other working individual is allowed freedom of movement? If we have to have EOBR’s, then every motorized vehicle needs one as well.

My logbook works just fine. Although I don’t agree with all the little quirks which have been implemented merely as a result of some lobbyist group such as: MADD, Public Citizen, and many others.

Therefore, no I do not agree, as many others will not either.

When the public sees that the owners are not willing to foot the cost of “Self Law Enforcement,” they will also enjoy the greater cost of all delivered goods.

    Curious, it’s clear that you don’t want FMCSA to issue this regulation. However, the rulemaking process isn’t a yes or no vote. Federal agencies aren’t allowed to decide based on majority rule.  To learn more about the rulemaking process and how to write effective comments, see How Does Effective Commenting Work.


You are exactly right.

Look at the TWIC Cards. Look at the criminal background checks. Look at the TWIC Reader. Look at cost to be qualified to haul coils in Alabama.

Who is the recipient of the profit behind that list?

To The Moderator:

The design of this website included responding to someone by a Reply Key, which makes it much easier to see all responses made to our comments on our Profile Page.

Do you think that you could possibly use the Reply Key so that we can locate ALL responses made to us?

    We’re always looking for new ways to improve our site. Thanks for the feedback and I’ll pass it along to our webmaster.

It is my understanding that I will have to pay for the EOBR that would go in my truck. $2255.00 for the first year. It is also my understanding that all of us American truckers will be paying for all of the Mexican truck’s EOBR’s because Obama has mandated it to be so. Now, in addition to me paying for my truck and the Mexican trucks, they will come up here burning cheaper fuel and charging cheaper rates and competing against me in an unfair way (mainly because the US Government is subsidizing them)and I am supposed to be supportive of this.
I have a suggestion. Why don’t you make it a rule that it is illegal to be an American trucker. We already are penalized by having to sit for hours at shippers without pay. We are paid by the mile but our miles are limited by hours of service, shippers whims, inspections in every state we pass through (sometimes twice or three times in the same state) long lines at weigh scales, speed limits, mandatory stops, etc, etc.
Why don’t you just make it illegal to be an American Trucker and then we can go do something else and you can let all those wonderful Mexican trucks come into the US and operate so safely.
I am already contemplating getting out of trucking because all I can afford is a million mile truck and all I get paid is usually just enough to pay my bills. If the fuel goes up in price, like it did last week 18 cents in one week, my fuel surcharge takes 3 or 4 weeks to show up and if fuel goes down my fuel surcharge drops immediately.
I’ve done this 44 years and I’ve never known anything but getting screwed by every entity that I have to work with.
It appears to me that the US government wants American trucking to cease operating and be taken over by foreign interests that will work much cheaper and be much less safe.
I’m old enough to not care anymore. If that’s what you want, I hope you choke on it.

    You bring up a lot of points about how difficult and expensive it is to be an American trucker. If you have specific comments about how requiring EOBRs will affect truckers like you, you can make them here and FMCSA will consider your concerns.

    Your other general points about the trucking industry, and your comments about the Mexican trucking subsidies, are not part of this proposed rule. However, you may want to contact your local representative to let them know how you feel. You can write to your representative here.

i dont know about anyone else but it sounds like our government is trying to put small fleets out of business with all these new rules and gadgets we have to buy and conform to

As a provider of GPS fleet management solutions the advantages of such a system are obvious. While return on investment will vary considerably depending on how individuals / businesses utilize the data, ultimately the benefits are certainly there. My argument is not with the regulation, rather the implementation. Having implemented many GPS solutions over the last several years I am aware of the investment numerous small and medium size companies have made. I work with businesses to find the solution that meets their objectives so I am familiar with several solutions. For the most part, businesses invested in GPS to ensure efficient dispatching, monitoring activity, and provide accurate customer service. The objective was not regulatory compliance as it was not mandated at time of purchase. That now changes and in almost all cases my customers now have tracking devices that will become obsolete. Not in functionality, but in compliance. Where is their relief in the mandatory re-investment? Many have yet to reach ROI. As a new investment, I am not hearing much push back. However, for those that have recently invested in the technology but find their respective solution non-compliant is painful. It certainly provides transport data that satisfied their objectives at the time, but the providers did not intend for their market to be subject to regulations that require data that they are unable to capture.
There should be some credit available to those businesses that already have tracking capabilities.

    Hi Ron. Thanks for sharing your experiences, you raise a good point. Do you have an idea of how many businesses would be affected this way? Also, FMCSA is currently proposing that this rule would not go into effect for three years, do you think that would be long enough for these businesses to recoup their investments?

Recommend DOT remove the reference to Qualcomm. Federal Contracting rules normally require the Federal Government require capabilities rather than manufactures. If other vendors can meet the requirements they should be allowed to compete. Even if it is legal it creates an appearance of bias. Also, recommend a review of all DOT employees to ensure there has been no insider trading regarding interests in Qualcomm. Finally, since the regulation will cause a tremendous financial cost to the US Transportation industry and a financial boom for Qualcomm (i.e. forced income redistribution by the Federal Government from small business to Qualcomm) recommend a prohibition for all DOT employees to work for Qualcomm for at least two years.

the cost savings are incorrect. I buy 12 log books a year at approximately $1 each for a total of $12 per year. Since I fill out , file, etc., the RODS myself there are no other costs. If the big companies find the cost EOBR’s cost effective, they should use them. If Qualcomm made a product that was cost effective, I would buy it. Unfortunately, this is another example of a company using the federal Government to mandate use of a product they can’t sell in the free market to enrich themselves. Recommendation – rework the cost saving as they are unrealistic.

According to recent news reports, an agreement was reached between The US and Mexico that the US taxpayers would pay for the EOBR’s required in Mexican trucks operating in the United States. The next day a jubilant Mexican president announced that there would be no limits on the number of Mexican trucks allowed to operate in the United States. It is my interpretation the United States carriers will have pay the entire themselves. Recommendation: This is a disaster. Get rid of the EOBR requirement, don’t pay for Mexican truck EOBR’s, pay for all US and Canadian truck EOBR’s. This is what happens when politics trumps safety. Either pay for everybody or pay for nobody.

There is cumulative effect of the recent flurry of DOT regulations, 5% of revenue for EOBR’s, 5%-10% revenue reduction for elimination of the 11th hour of service, TWIC cards, cell phone prohibitions, no idling laws, mandated rest breaks, California CARB rules, new rules for fuel efficiency that increase equipment costs. How much money do you think we make? The shotgun approach for regulation hides the true amount of burdens the DOT is placing on private industry. As a former military person, I know some of the first objectives of any military plan is to disrupt and destroy the enemy’s lines of communication and supply. Someday we could have “star trek” like teleporation devices, until then the US trucking industry is this nations line of supply. No enemy could possible do a better job of destroying this nations line of supply than our own Department of Transportation. Recommendation: DOT conduct a comprehensive study that includes the costs leveraged on the trucking industry by all levels of government over the last 24 months and proposed regulations over next 24 months to determine the true increased cost of regulations. Also, recommend comparison of the cost information will real life revenue information from private carriers (including small business)to determine the cumulative effect of regulations.

    The 14 hour rule is the problem. Once it starts it can’t be stopped. Many have advocated for s split sleeper berth provision that would allow the driver to use his/her own professional judgment to determine fatigue. Under the current and proposed HOS provisions, the vehicle operator has no input regarding their own level of fatigue.

    As a follow-up regarding the cumulative costs of regulations, I researched and found out Executive Order 12866 signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993 requires all Agencies to publish the cumulative effects of their regulatory schemes.

    Recommendation: In compliance with the subject Executive Order, the US DOT publish a study detailing the cumulative costs of all the recent regulations. I tried to cut and paste the extract from the executive order but was unable to. The verbiage can be found in paragraph (11) of the Executive Order.

    Agree. We provide income for eight families. These are eight families that might otherwise be on the dole. It is tough enough dealing with the avalanch of regulations without being saddled without one more expense.

As a small trucking company owner, the the proposed EOBR doesn’t pass the cost/benefit test. To pay $785 a year for something I currently do for $12 a year when I get absolutely no benefit is unnecessary financial burden.

It is not clear what benefit the United States of America receives from this proposed regulation. All we are told is this regulation is necessary “to ensure compliance with hours of service regulations”. What does that mean? Since DOT decided to include log book “form and manner” and other trivial logbook violations as evidence of “fatigued driving” in CSA 2010. The information provided by CSA 2010 is useless for measuring actual fatigued driving issues. Also, since there is no way to actually measure fatigue, the DOT position becomes a mixture of subjective opinions and political agendas, all stuffed under the banner “fatigued driving” since no one can measure fatigue or refute assertions of opinion that are masqueraded as statements of fact. Recommendation: DOT delay this prohibitively expensive regulation until they can provide “peer reviewed” scientific studies that provide facts about how to measure fatigue, how much fatigue actually costs, and what are the true costs of this regulations.

    rdb, you have some clear concerns about the way that FMCSA is defining “fatigued driving”. You can read more about their analysis by reviewing parts of the Regulatory Impact Analysis here

    What do you think about the way DOT is calculating this analysis?

    Ok, thanks for the prompting and the providing the opportunity to further comment and expound upon the topic. In simple language, fatigue affects each person differently. No one has developed a way to measure it. For detailed information regarding this assertion about fatigue measurement, reference the legal decision regarding the Minnesota State Patrols flawed campaign against fatigue that was struck down by the courts in 2011. The testimony rendered in the trial by Subject Matter Experts regarding measuring fatigue is quite compelling. Can we all agree there is no method to measure fatigue that has been developed using the scientific method, peer reviewed and accepted by the courts? Probably not. Lacking any science to back their position, the US DOT has decided to attack the problem by developing a “one size fits all” rule and instituted the 11 hour, 14 hour, and 70 hour rule. One of the problems associated with the “group think”, inside the belt way government, “thought bubble“ group, is once they make a statement “right or wrong”, since they are government, they consider it a scientific fact. In reality the DOT rules regarding fatigue are not safety decisions, they are political decisions. Unfortunately, there are indirect consequences to bad decisions. In a quote often attributed to the Military strategist Sun Tzu in his book The Art of War,

    “If your strategy is wrong from the outset, no matter which clever tactics you use, you are inevitably doomed. Tactics without a good strategy are a waste of resources.”

    As predicted by Sun Tzu in 500 BC, this Don Quixote like quest by the US DOT is a waste of resources, unfortunately they have decided to use the power of government to waste my resources instead of their own (the Mexican Government won’t put up with it, so DOT is using US taxpayer money to pay for their EOBR’s). Additionally, the untended consequences are dangerous. Under their current scheme they want us to use an EOBR to measure and govern how much we work. The inherent flaw in this strategy is that the EOBR is smarter and knows an individuals fatigue level better than the individual. Under the current rules, a driver can plan, schedule, and execute his routes based on his/her understanding of the route (driving in some terrains and weather conditions can be more fatiguing than others), equipment, type of load, weather, and other factors. Under the EOBR scheme proposed by DOT, drivers will essentially be required to drive even when they know they are tired. Since companies and the government will be monitoring ever aspect of their driving, companies will most likely only employ drivers that can “max out” the hours allowed by the Government, drivers will be forced to drive even if they know they are tired. By substituting the EOBR’s judgment for the drivers, there will be fatigued drivers on the road.

    Recommendation: Prior to implementation of this rule, the US DOT institute a science based and peer reviewed study of the safety results of drivers being required to drive when they know they are tired, want to take a rest break, but due to financial and regulatory rules must continue driving. Any study that does not consider this dynamic of fatigue is flawed and once considered likely makes the whole EOBR scheme illogical, unless you believe the EOBR is actually more able to measure a person’s fatigue level better than the person, his/her self.

    Do you, and do other users, have recommendations for DOT to address this potential problem within the proposed rule? Can you imagine a way for drivers to self-diagnose fatigue in addition to what the EOBR says?

Issue: US DOT’s proposed rulemaking regarding Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBR’s) is not in compliance with The Paper Work Reduction Act of 1980 as amended in 1995, Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended, and Executive Order 12866.

Discussion: The Federal Laws identified in the issue statement require Federal Agencies to consider Small Business in their rule making and mandate that federal agencies include flexibility and scalability for Small Business in their regulations to reduce the administrative and financial burdens from regulation on small business. The cost figures contained in DOT’s cost analysis for EOBR’s are horribly skewed toward a big business model. I own a one-man one-truck trucking company and I only spend about $12 a year on paper log books to comply with DOT’s Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. Over a ten-year period, I will spend about $120, the DOT’s proposal requires me to spend $7850 over a ten year period. That is a 6442 % increase. Also, their figures have clerical staff (I don’t have any) making between $27-$29 per hour. Good work when you can get it, but I don’t know of any small trucking companies that are paying anybody those kind of wages. I have been inspected for hours of service violations by DOT 6 times in the past 18 months and have never been cited for being over my hours of service. My $12 per year program must be working. Accordingly, the estimates provided by the DOT in the proposed rulemaking do not include small business and will need to be reworked in order to be in compliance with federal law.


1. DOT rework the regulatory proposal on EOBR’s to include small business as required by the federal laws identified in the issue statement.
2. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act, DOT provides small business with less burdensome alternatives.
3. My personal recommendation is use a scalable process, for example companies with over 100 trucks might find to economically beneficial to use EOBR’s. When DOT publishes the initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) for small business mandated by the Regulatory Flexibility Act discussing their efforts to create flexibility for small business, they should consider alternatives for small business that are closer to the $12 per year I currently pay.
4. As required by Executive Order 12866 paragraph (11), DOT conduct and publish an analysis of the cumulative effect on small business of all their proposed regulations combined.
5. DOT carefully review paragraph (8) of executive order 12866 with regarding to establishing performance objectives as opposed to the manner of compliance. In plain language, don’t specify a Qualcomm device as mandatory for all commercial vehicles. The regulation should tell people what they are going to do, not how they are going to do it.

References: Selected applicable extracts from the Paperwork Work reduction Act, The Regulatory Flexibility Act, and Executive Order 12866 that are relevant to the US DOT proposed rule making regarding Electronic On-board recorders (EOBR). Extracts of particular significance have been highlighted in BOLD text.

The Paper Work Reduction Act of 1980 as amended in 1995

The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, Pub. L. No. 96-511, 94 Stat. 2812 (Dec. 11, 1980), codified in part at Subchapter I of Chapter 35 of Title 44 of the United States Code, 44 U.S.C. § 3501 through 44 U.S.C. § 3521, is a United States federal law enacted in 1980 that gave authority over the collection of certain information to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). These information policies were intended to reduce the total amount of paperwork handled by the United States government and the general public.

Standards That Must Be Certified in Paperwork Reduction Act Submissions AppendxiI
The 1995 amendments to the Paperwork Reduction Act established
detailed paperwork clearance requirements for agencies before
information collections are proposed to the Office of Management and
Budget (OMB) for review. The 1995 law required every agency to establish
a process under the official responsible for the act’s implementation, now
the agency Chief Information Officer,1 to review program offices’ proposed
collections and certify that they meet 10 standards.

These standards are
codified at 5 C.F.R. 1320.9. The standards read as follows:

“(c) reduces to the extent practicable and appropriate the burden on
persons who shall provide information to or for the agency, including
with respect to small entities, as defined in the Regulatory Flexibility
Act (5 U.S.C. § 601(6)), the use of such techniques as:

“(1) establishing differing compliance or reporting requirements or
timetables that take into account the resources available to those
who are to respond;
“(e) is to be implemented in ways consistent and compatible, to the
maximum extent practicable, with the existing reporting and
record keeping practices of those who are to respond;

The Regulatory Flexibility Act
The following text of the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended, is taken from Title 5 of the United States Code, sections 601 – 612
(The Regulatory Flexibility Act was originally passed in 1980 (P. L. 96-354). The Act was amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-121).) (
The Regulatory Flexibility Act is perhaps the most comprehensive effort by the U.S. federal government to balance the social goals of federal regulations with the needs and capabilities of small businesses and other small entities in American society.
In practice, the RFA has been an interesting and much-imitated attempt to “scale” the actions of the federal government to the size of the groups and The White House Conference recommendations lent significant impetus for the passage, in September 1980, of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA).[5] The intent of the act was clearly stated:
It is the purpose of this act to establish as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall endeavor, consistent with the objectives…of applicable statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale of businesses…To achieve this principle, agencies are required to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain the rationale for their actions to assure that such proposals are given serious consideration.
The key requirement of the law is that federal agencies must analyze the impact of their regulatory actions on small entities (small businesses, small non-profit organizations and small jurisdictions of government) and, where the regulatory impact is likely to be “significant”, affecting a “substantial number” of these small entities, seek less burdensome alternatives for them. Both current and proposed federal regulations are subject to the RFA.
The process for seeking these less burdensome alternatives is three-fold. Agencies must:
· Solicit views of affected small entities
· Consider the views of the SBA Office of Advocacy
· Publish an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) and/or a final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) in the Federal Register, or provide a certification that the regulation will have no “significant impact”
Executive Order 12866
In September 1993, Vice President Al Gore’s National Partnership for Reinventing Government also urged that the Regulatory Flexibility Act be strengthened by permitting judicial review of agency compliance.
A few weeks later, President Bill Clinton issued Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review”,[12] designed, among other things, to ease the regulatory burden on small firms.
The order required federal agencies to analyze their major regulatory undertakings and to take action to ensure that these regulations achieved the desired results with minimal burden on the U.S. economy. I couldn’t cut and paste paragraphs (5), (8), and (11) of the executive order. Just Goggle it.

    rdb, thank you for taking such an interest in all aspects of the rulemaking process. It looks like you may have already read the RIA or the NPRM, but I want to show other commentors where to find them.

    As rdb pointed out, agencies that engage in rulemaking are required to consider a number of factors before they make new regulations, such as the rule’s potential impact on small businesses. If anyone is interested, you can see FMCSA’s responses in the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM). For more in depth information, go to the Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA). Just a warning: these documents get pretty technical in some places.

    RDB — Well said.

For my company the cost of useing EOBRs will be extremely burdensome. I am a Custom Harvester with 10 units that fall under RODS requirements for less than 15 days a year. The rest of the year they are either not in use or do not have a GVWR requireing RODS or are operating from exemption of HOS under 395.1k. So requireing EOBRs on these units for 15 days a year of use under FMCSA estimate costs $785 per year would be $52 a day. This is a substantial cost over a paper log sheet costing cents a day. With the 10 units it will cost me $520 dollars a day to move. All but 2 days a year I have to use RODS I average less than 350 miles a day. So while moving my 10 units in convoy the use of EOBRs is going to cust me $1 to $1.52 a mile. To any reasonable person this is a highly burdensome cost.

As far as the EOBRs lasting 10 years I have heard that before. My trucks operate 2/3 of their miles offroad in hot dirty and rough conditions which often sees premature failers in electronics. The manufacturer only warranties them for 3 years so they have no confidence past that time frame.

The reduced overhead and administrative costs for EOBRs is moot when compairing a small number of unit used relatively few time a year. My employees are on salery so time for compleating RODS is not direct cost. The clerical time for submiting paper logs will be faster and cheeper than electronic logs when done in small quantities. The cost of storing electronic data could be substancially higher when considering the computers needed to collect and store the data collected from EOBRs. What about data backup, computer data does fail and small business do not generally have the best bomb proof data backup systems. Yes paper logs can be destroid in fire and floods but how often does that happen compared to computer failure. Do you get a large fine because your logs are gone due to a loss of data to electronic failure either in the EOBR, data loging, or data storage?

I dont think the cost of maintaining EOBRs has been fully thought out by FMCSA. I think it has been fully thought out by the EOBR manufactures and they see $$$. 2 million power units required to buy these systems are going to be paying $40 a month for subsription costs, that’s $80 million a MONTH! Everyone knows the best businesses to be in are subsciption based sales were the customer has to keep paying. All the better that the customer has to pay you by force of law. I’m in the wrong business. Even by FMCSA estimates of .3% to.5% of cost to trucking revinue that’s $1 billion to 1.7 billion a year. That might be chump change to the federal government but it is not to private industry. All this expense is because the government does not trust motor carriers to be truthfull with their HOS compliance. All of this cost does not even guarantee a reduction of fatigue related accidents. It just stiffens the reporting requirements of HOS. Most motor carrier’s fatigue related accidents occure with no HOS violations.

Ron I hate to say it but if I were in your shoes I say the same thing, spoken like a true sales man. Somebody needs to explain to me, how me with one truck paying out 1645. dollars to install an EOBR and be forced to pay 40. dollars a month for somebody to make sure I am not breaking the FMCSA idea of laws we should be following. Please tell me how thats going to turn into profit for me. Is this not known as a fixed expense, not profit. Ron how would you like having government sitting in your office with you making sure that everything you are doing is legal,or make sure you are using the right garbage can for the right garbage or having Irs there watching every trans action, and they are going to charge you a monthly fee to do it, don’t worry you will see better returns this way. Ron I do not mean to be critical however I do not believe you have ever been in business for yourself. The FMCSA has absolutely no reason to be putting these thing in are truck, and if they can afford to pay the Mexican drivers and pay all the monthly fee’s then they can pay for mine and all the expense to stay connected then my argument about money goes out the window,however privacy is a whole another subject. The FMCSA needs to just stay out of our trucks.

Equipment costs for large fleets are obviously less of a concern than they are for us small fleet owners. We have eight trucks on the road. Keeping paper logs is a no brainer. What the regulators need to appreciate is that us smaller company have less flexibility in rates we charge. We, more than any other sector are subject to wims of the free market. This would be much more palatable were the federal government to treat us like the proposed law to allow Mexican truckers into the US and pay for the devices. JB Hunt, CR England, ETC can more easily hide the device expenses in the cost of doing business. We small guys can not. I think one-time grants for companies having fewer than 15 trucks would be a boon.

    What do other users think about giving small businesses a subsidy or grant to pay for EOBRs?

    Should businesses pay a portion of the cost or should it be completely subsidized?

Your cost estimates for paper record keeping are way high for smaller companies, where the owner does everything. It is a pain for me to keep paper logs, but I can do it between other things and keep up. And driver time submitting is a non-starter. They tear them out of the book and fedex them to me along with BOLs.

This is a funny question in that it of course depends on who is bearin the cost and who gets the benefit. It appears as if the administration is trying to use a seldgehammer when a tacking hammer would work.

I took a look at the data and see that 13% of all accidents used in the study were caused partially by fatigue. Fatigue, is defined by questioning the drivers about their activities before they drove and the time period leading up to the accident. EOBRs will not prevent a driver from reporting for duty already tired. What the study failed to report were the number of trucks with EOBRs that were involved in accidents, compared to the total number of EOBR equipped trucks and the number of non-EOBR equipped trucks compared to the percentage. In other words, the federal government is proposing that us truckers take on a tremendous expense with no evidence that this really helps.

When it is all boiled down, what is the real benefit of EOBR? How many fewer fatalaties/injuries can we expect to have?

It would appear to me at first blush that this is an example of bureaucracy run wild. We have created a bureau – FMCSA – to regulate trucking and by gawd we are going to have regulations.

Once again, this is a case of the big truck companies loving it because they can more easily affect the price they get for freight and the little guys taking it on the chin.

This is as releveant as the current CSA 2010 criteria which lumps all things having to do with HOS under the fatigued driving label. Making an error on a log book is not a fatigued driver make. Falisfying a log book, does not a fatigued driver make, but is more likely.

    Could you share more details about how big truck companies can affect prices and how this will impact small businesses?

I have had drivers working for me who have told me that they have used EOBRs and that it is possible to cheat on them as well. EOBRs know when you are driving, but not necessarily when you are working and not driving.

This figure of 13% reminds me of a study I read 15 years ago that attributed excessive speed to be the cause in nearly 70 percent of all accidents. When one looked at the data, one could see that police collect primary, secondary and tertiary reasons for all accidents. If speed showed up in any of these, than it contributed to the accident. So, if one was driving 30 mph on the interstate in foggy conditions and still ran into the back of a car, the accident would be attributed to excessive speed – driving too fast for conditions. But from that, I would not surmised that I should lower the speed limit and implace manditory governors on cars.

As usual, data can say about anything we want it to say. If I were a bureaucrat whose livelyhood depended on establishing and leading a program, I would use my powers to demonize trucks and emplace stricter and stricter limits on them. After all, that is my job.

“Anticipated safety benefits will also vary”, according the excerpt at the left… Measure the number of accidents with EOBRS and without EOBRs before moving ahead.

Your cost benefit analysis applies to larger companies and has little to do with the small mom and pop operators who do everything from dispatch to repair to checking paperwork.

Again, JB Hunt and others of that size see this type of benefit. Us small fish probably won’t. We will see only the heavy hand of government over regulating and overbearing.

Moderator – you have thrown the question back to rdb on how to self regulate. He gave you a real answer – use real science to develop real methodologies.

But I suspect the entire problem. Fatigued driving has been said to be a significant cause of accidents. We, the public have bought this. Merely because the government says so, does not make it so.

As rdt says, these are political decisions, not necessarily safety.

thanks patrick, your point is one i was trying to make, for not only small trucking companies and owner ops but for farmers and custom harvesters like your self. I am a former custom harvester as well..

In response to your question about big truck companies: Here is the nature of the business today: The biggest companies control most of the freight. They don’t haul the freight, but they book the freight, and haul it with their trucks, or rake some off the top and pass the loads down to smaller companies.

The reality is that there is little connection between the company paying for the hauling and the company doing the driving. What this means, then, is that smaller companies struggle to make ends meet in several ways. Smaller companies:
– Often must accept lower rates – the cmpanies booking the freight take 25% off the top for the joy of passing paper around.
– Are often abused at shippers and recievers. Because there is little connection between trucker and shipper – truckers are often unable to demand payment for extended delays at the shipper or receiver.

The single biggest impediment — BY FAR — to drivers being able to make a living at trucking — is delays at loading and unloading docks. Freight brokers have no incentive to pay truckers for delays – which often can amount to a day or a night – because they don’t have a connection to the trucker. Imagine sitting at a dock waiting for a load for 6 hours and not getting paid for that. Imagine waiting even 2 – 3 hours to get loaded and then needing another 1 – 2 hours to rig and tarp a load. Shippers are not required, nor do they feel any compunction to pay for this time. As a result, drivers often refuse to log this time because they must turn miles. No miles, no pay.

This is in my experience, is the biggest impedement to fatigued driving. If shippers take up 25% of a driver’s vailable work time – the driver must make up for it by pushing the limits of his or her endurance.

If FMCSA were serious about fatigued driving, it would find the root cause of drivers driving too long and solve that. Drivers don’t want to driver around the clock – but often must do so to make a living.

In this age of just-in-time logistics, companies ought to be able to forecast transportation requiremens and understand when to have trucks made available.

Now back to the larger companies: larger companies sign contracts with customers that spell out such things as loading/unloading times, tarping fees and other special charges. When the big company can’t haul the freight with its own trucks, it brokers the load. However, contracts between drivers and brokerages that spell out delays and other assessorial charges generally does not exist. Some companies will pay a nominal fee – litterally nominal – and others either pocket the money, or refuse to charge the original customer.

If a driver is working, he should be paid. Failure to pay for detention, frequently causes drivers to drive longer than they ought.

So, an EOBR can be seen as an impediment to drivers, who are barely making it now. EOBRs potentially punish the driver for doing what he has to do to make a decent living. What about the company that takes a driver’s time, but refuses to pay for it?

In our small company I have dealt with this numerous times. The standard (if there is such a thing) in the industry is to give a shipper or receiver two hours of time to load and unload. But, if at the two hour mark I call the broker and complain, I usually hear something like: “I’ll call the shipper and see about detention.” This is a kiss-off. My choices are to wait or to pull the truck off the load and look for something else. If I choose the latter course, then I wast time looking for a well paying load and then fuel and time moving the truck to the new shipper and again, starting the clock.

A signficant step toward ensuring that drivers don’t drive fatigued is ensuring that drivers can make a decent living during the legal hours available.

And, by the way, this also includes numerous time that a company calls for a truck which sits from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. only to learn that the load is unavailable. Some brokers might offer to pay truck not used of $150. This amount does not even begin to cover the expense of loosing an afternoon and night of production. (The problem is that by the time the company learns the truck has been ordered and can’t be used, it is too late to book another load.)

I am retired from the Army, and I can tell you that in no other business have I seen such an egregious concern for those doing the work.

No driver would willing work long hours if he can make a decent living in a shorter time. Make sure that all their hours are compensated and they will stop violating HOS.

I’ll try this again, this time without typos to make more readable.

Let me suggest a way to make this more palatable to the massess: Offer a reduction in safety scores if companies voluntarily go to an EOBR system. I, for one, did not understand the implications of CSA 2010 and did not appreciate the fact that every single violation on a log book would add to my company’s fatigued driving score. Hence, I was not as strict with my drivers as I should have been on things that were not out of services. As of December I found myself being hammered for fatigued driving for such things as not having a BOL listed on the form or not having total miles on the log sheet. I would bet that if FMCSA allowed a rollback of some, or all of the points for fatigued driving, that many companies would jump at the chance and voluntarily begin EOBR. The goal of any program should be compliance, not punishment. A score over 60 in the HOS acts as punishment. While I still think that the figures (safestat scores) don’t accurately reflect what is going on, I understand that fighting with the bureaucracy is futile. I think FMCSA could offer a carrot to get EOBR installed and would earn the FMCSA some good will with the industry. This program can’t be punishment only. Even in my company safety program I offer rewards and punishments. Maybe its time for FMCSA to take a page out company playbooks and reward those who are willing to play at a higher standard.

It is becoming apparent that there is no discussion of whether the EOBR should or should not be required and one can only assume that this means everyone will be required to purchase these units.
Providing any form of cost-savings calculations tends to be moot as those calculations are based on data that, if anything, can only be described as ‘generalized’ or ‘median’, with no real accounting for the myriad differences in carrier size, operating costs, or budget.
If this discussion truly is over and now we are simply trying to find a way to swallow it all in one gulp, I would have to believe that there is little or no point in any further discussion.

Let me be direct here:
Requiring EOBRs doesn’t make sense to the majority of CMV operators on the road. Not only doesn’t it make sense, but the costs associated with what many believe to be unnecessary and pointless are incredibly high.
There is an obvious connection between the forced implementation of the EOBR and Qualcomm and other device manufacturers, for the FMCSA based its calculations on the company’s product.

If anyone can provide evidence linking Qualcomm to any public servant, government official, interest group, or lobby, please let everyone know.

It can’t quite be accepted by the majority that they are to purchase something due to safety if the only incentives in doing so lay with the manufacturers and all disincentives fall into the laps of those most effected by the negative financial consequences of purchasing said devices.

That being said, can anyone out there see if we are essentially backed into a corner (those of us against the use of EOBRs) or if there still is a fighting chance to stop this?

I feel that what we are seeing now is the quieting down of discussion about whether or not we should use the recorders, and we are now moving onto how we will purchase specified units.

WHEN we are ultimately forced to buy these things, will there be any incentive, any immediate incentive, to the carriers and drivers in any form, and how quickly will Qualcomm see profits from this? How much profit will we see on the news at night while people struggle with the expense of these units?

Re: Digital TV Antennae
The government helped people buy television antennae. Will they also help people purchase these EOBRs?

At Xata we see benefits to the use of e-logs daily. Here’s 20 reasons:

1. Paper work time savings: it’s simply a pain to keep track of paper logs. XATA often sees 15 to 30 minute improvements in time for filling out the logs in the proper form and manner.
2. Convenience: electronic logs are easier to use than paper through the level of automation provided.
3. Added time in a day: A minimum stop for paper log is 15 minutes; electronic logs can get down to the minute for an accurate stop. If you do many stops in the day, your drive time increases.
4. Detention billing: EOBRs as part of a performance management solution, especially if industry wide, give proof to location and time spent at a shipper’s yard. The biggest criticism to an EOBR is a driver having to start their day on duty while at a dock. In reality, drivers should be starting their day at the dock, and billing the detaining company detention time for lost hours.
5. Ability to prove adherence to Hours of Service laws: Legal truckers can be proud of their safety resume.
6. Interoperability of working with other fleets: an electronic system can help move an O/O from fleet to fleet based on hours available. Send an electronic report to a dispatcher to prove the hours available.
7. Ability to charge higher rates: by showing compliance with HOS laws, and having shippers understand what it takes to be a legal trucker, truckers can charge the rates deserved based on time and distance.
8. Keeping drivers on task: EOBRs can use as a productivity measuring tool. You can measure the time at stops, time on the road, and time in between. These accurate measures help show inefficiencies and time that is wasted.
9. Perception from the public that tracked hours are safe hours: e-logs may not keep you awake, but their use can prove you operate in a legal way.
10. CSA Scores: fleets that use e-logs have better fatigued management CSA scores (Look at XATA’s customer base for proof)
11. Keeping up with potential HOS changes: Based on the complexity of the new rules, and electronic system will help keep a driver straight on what is legal compared to being in violation
12. Proof in an audit: many small fleets will fail an audit. Electronic logs will give support to documentation that paper log books will not.
13. Proof in roadside inspections: Upon seeing the use of electronic logs, many enforcement officials may not go into the details on log books
14. Additional applications from a system: A device running XATA turnpike along side of other applications like ALK CoPilot Truck and email can give truckers tools needed when away from home. Truckers are consumers too – their tools should fit their lifestyle.
15. Reduction in supporting documents: there is an overall reduction in supporting paperwork needed to prove logs or fuel tax. The potential mandate for logs makes this a critical point for adoption.
16. Warnings if time is low: a paper log book doesn’t help a driver know if hours are low. EOBRs quickly show available time left when driving.
17. Ability to move rule sets (e.g. US to Canadian): it’s a flip of a switch and you can run a different rule set and understand how much time is left in what rule set you are in.
18. Document storage reduction: no need to keep old documents.
19. Give peace of mind to the at home contact – many O/Os work in a team – the husband may be driving, the wife keeping track of the books. EOBRs gives O/Os the tools to give visibility into mileage, time, and potential violations.
20. Form and Factor: Many current violations are from form and factor mistakes, which can be as simple as someone not writing down a line. These simple mistakes are virtually eliminated.

I think that before the FMCSA forces the industry into using EOBR’s , they should wait and see what the impact of the CSA brings forth . Many companies are weeding out the bad apples already and improving thier over-all porformance ratings within the CSA guidelines . Before throwing trucking companies that are already having a hard time making ends meet with the high cost of operating , they should at least put this idea on the back burner for at least 2 or 3 years , and see what happen’s with the statistics then . I think the numbers will show from the CSA impact , that the system will work to reduce the numbers .

Electronic On-Board Recorders "What will this cost?"

Agency Proposal

By the Regulation Room team based on the NPRM

What will this cost?

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FMCSA has estimated the costs and benefits both per CMV Commercial Motor Vechicles and industry-wide.  Your comments are important on any part of an estimate that you think is right, wrong, or questionable.  Including data or sources makes your comments more valuable. Asking good questions can also help improve FMCSA’s estimating.

All the details of FMSCA’s cost and benefit estimates are in the Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIARegulatory Impact Analysis) .

Equipment Cost. FMCSA’s equipment cost estimates are based on a Qualcomm MCP-100, made by one of the largest suppliers of mobile computing platforms.  This unit currently retails at $1675 and requires a $40/month communication fee (which covers all the device’s main features including HOS Hours of service (Regulations issued by FMCSA that limit the number of daily and weekly hours a CMV driver may drive) monitoring).  There are less expensive models, but they are currently produced only by a manufacturer with a small market share, and there is not a lot of market depth.  FMCSA Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (The agency proposing the EOBR Electronic on-Board Recorder (A device attached to commercial motor vehicles that tracks the number of hours drivers spend on the road) rule) estimates that its basic EOBR Electronic on-Board Recorder (A device attached to commercial motor vehicles that tracks the number of hours drivers spend on the road) proposal would require about 2 million units; even with a delayed compliance date (see When Would It Take Effect?), it doubts that enough of the lower cost models would be available to meet the demand.  At least one vendor provides the hardware free and recoups the cost of the device over time through higher monthly operating fees.

Read the details of FMCSA’s equipment cost estimates here, here, and here.

FMCSA is aware of no “stand alone” EOBR Electronic on-Board Recorder (A device attached to commercial motor vehicles that tracks the number of hours drivers spend on the road) – i.e., one that is not part of a fleet A group of motor vehicles owned or leased by businesses or government agencies management system.  It particularly wants comments and data about the availability and costs of EOBRS.        

See the current EOBR Electronic on-Board Recorder (A device attached to commercial motor vehicles that tracks the number of hours drivers spend on the road) performance specifications.

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Net cost per CMV. Using the Qualcomm MCP-100, FMSCA estimates a total cost per power unit/vehicle of $785 per year for 10 years.  (The manufacturer says that its early units are still in service after a decade.)   This is based on:  $1675 purchase price; $40 monthly fees, $100 installation, and manufacturer-estimated repair costs after expiration of the 3-year warranty.  Training cost is not expected to be an issue because FMCSA Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (The agency proposing the EOBR Electronic on-Board Recorder (A device attached to commercial motor vehicles that tracks the number of hours drivers spend on the road) rule) believes these units are largely intuitive and self-explanatory, and are simpler to operate than many mobile phones.  (It estimates training costs at $2.50 per unit.)  Per unit annual costs would be lower if purchased from a vendor who requires no upfront hardware investment: $ 525 per year for 10 years.  For carriers already using an EOBR-ready FMS, estimated annual per unit cost is $92.

FMCSA calculates that these per unit costs would be 0.3%-0.5% of annual operating revenue per vehicle, based on its industry-wide estimate of $172,000 annual revenue per power unit. It also assumes that all CMV Commercial Motor Vechicles operators already have access to computer technology, so no costs for this are included.  It wants to hear from commenters if this assumption is not accurate.

Read the NPRM.
Read the details of these cost estimates here, here and here.

As for cost savings, FMCSA Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (The agency proposing the EOBR Electronic on-Board Recorder (A device attached to commercial motor vehicles that tracks the number of hours drivers spend on the road) rule) estimates significant recordkeeping savings of $688 per driver now using RODS:

  • $485 for reduced driver time completing RODS Record of duty status (A logbook maintained by CMV drivers to track driving time (i.e., duty status) for each 24-hour period) (18 hrs. @ $27/hr.)
  • $56 for reduced driver time submitting RODS Record of duty status (A logbook maintained by CMV drivers to track driving time (i.e., duty status) for each 24-hour period) to employer (2.08 hrs. @ $27/hr.)
  • $116 for carrier clerical staff to handle and file RODS Record of duty status (A logbook maintained by CMV drivers to track driving time (i.e., duty status) for each 24-hour period) (4 hrs. @ $29/hr)
  • $30 for cost of RODS Record of duty status (A logbook maintained by CMV drivers to track driving time (i.e., duty status) for each 24-hour period) forms ($2.50/mo.)

Driver hourly rate include benefits; clerical hourly rate includes benefits and firm overhead. FMCSA Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (The agency proposing the EOBR Electronic on-Board Recorder (A device attached to commercial motor vehicles that tracks the number of hours drivers spend on the road) rule) acknowledges that some carriers say that they don’t currently compensate drivers for completing and submitting RODS, but it thinks these are appropriate elements of the net cost of switching to EOBRs.  It assumes that supervisors would spend the same amount of time reviewing electronic duty status records as paper RODS Record of duty status (A logbook maintained by CMV drivers to track driving time (i.e., duty status) for each 24-hour period) are now, and so doesn’t estimate any savings there.  Of course, carriers whose drivers are not now using RODS Record of duty status (A logbook maintained by CMV drivers to track driving time (i.e., duty status) for each 24-hour period) would not get any of these savings.

Read the NPRM.
Read the details of these savings estimates here.

The HMTAA requires FMCSA Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (The agency proposing the EOBR Electronic on-Board Recorder (A device attached to commercial motor vehicles that tracks the number of hours drivers spend on the road) rule) to improve HOS Hours of service (Regulations issued by FMCSA that limit the number of daily and weekly hours a CMV driver may drive) compliance but not impose “unreasonable” costs on CMV Commercial Motor Vechicles operators.  Are the per CMV Commercial Motor Vechicles costs of the basic EOBR Electronic on-Board Recorder (A device attached to commercial motor vehicles that tracks the number of hours drivers spend on the road) proposal “unreasonable”?  To make your view count with FMCSA, be sure to give reasons.

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Industry-wide costs/benefits. FMCSA must also determine whether the costs of an EOBR Electronic on-Board Recorder (A device attached to commercial motor vehicles that tracks the number of hours drivers spend on the road) rule will outweigh the societal benefits.  Estimating total industry costs and societal benefits is a lot more complicated than getting a per-CMV estimate.   Key factors in the analysis include:  which drivers/carriers are included in the final rule; how widespread is current use of EOBRs, or EOBR-ready fleet A group of motor vehicles owned or leased by businesses or government agencies management systems; what is the baseline level of current HOS Hours of service (Regulations issued by FMCSA that limit the number of daily and weekly hours a CMV driver may drive) noncompliance; what percentage of CMV Commercial Motor Vechicles crashes are attributable to driver fatigue; how much will EOBRS likely reduce HOS Hours of service (Regulations issued by FMCSA that limit the number of daily and weekly hours a CMV driver may drive) violations; and what is the dollar value of lives saved and injuries avoided. Some of the data and assumptions are pretty complex.  You can see them all in the RIA.  Here are some highlights:
  • Current level of HOS Hours of service (Regulations issued by FMCSA that limit the number of daily and weekly hours a CMV driver may drive) noncompliance:  According to several surveys, a very high percent of CMV Commercial Motor Vechicles drivers admit to violating HOS Hours of service (Regulations issued by FMCSA that limit the number of daily and weekly hours a CMV driver may drive) rules.  In one survey, 55% said they are deliberately violating an average of 6 days a month, and accidentally another 5 days/month.  Many falsify RODS Record of duty status (A logbook maintained by CMV drivers to track driving time (i.e., duty status) for each 24-hour period) entries to disguise violations. FMCSA’s data from CMV Commercial Motor Vechicles roadside inspection reports are considerably lower than these self-reported numbers:  HOS Hours of service (Regulations issued by FMCSA that limit the number of daily and weekly hours a CMV driver may drive) violation rates ranging from 5.3% (2006) to 3.9% (2009).
Dig into the details here and here.
  • CMV crashes related to driver fatigue.  Increased safety benefit estimates depend on how many crashes now occur because of driver fatigue.  Based on the Large Truck Crash Causation study, FMCSA Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (The agency proposing the EOBR Electronic on-Board Recorder (A device attached to commercial motor vehicles that tracks the number of hours drivers spend on the road) rule) now estimates that 13% of crashes can be blamed on fatigue (up from its 7% estimate in 2003).  Comparing 2007 and 2008 statistics with a baseline (constructed with 1997-2000 data), the overall number of crashes causing fatalities or injuries has declined; the overall number causing “property damage only” has increased.
Dig into the details here and here.
  • EOBR effectiveness. Total safety benefits also depend on how much the HOS Hours of service (Regulations issued by FMCSA that limit the number of daily and weekly hours a CMV driver may drive) violation rate falls when EOBRs Electronic on-Board Recorders (Devices attached to commercial motor vehicles that track the number of hours drivers spend on the road) are used.  Based on roadside inspection data comparing operators using RODS Record of duty status (A logbook maintained by CMV drivers to track driving time (i.e., duty status) for each 24-hour period) with operators using AOBRDs, the AOBRD group had 70% fewer HOS Hours of service (Regulations issued by FMCSA that limit the number of daily and weekly hours a CMV driver may drive) violations.  Taking out the ones that were for missing and improper RODS, FMCSA Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (The agency proposing the EOBR Electronic on-Board Recorder (A device attached to commercial motor vehicles that tracks the number of hours drivers spend on the road) rule) estimates that automatic recorder reduce driving and non-duty time violations by 40%.
Dig into the details here and here.
  • Current usage. FMCSA Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (The agency proposing the EOBR Electronic on-Board Recorder (A device attached to commercial motor vehicles that tracks the number of hours drivers spend on the road) rule) estimates that 12% of long haul generally, >150 mi. from base for property carriers operations and 4% of short haul generally, <150 mi. from base for property carriers operations already use AOBRDs automatic onboard recording devices: earlier recorders w/o GPS capability or EOBRs.  It estimates 1,472,000 LH long-haul; generally >150 mi. from base for property carriers CMVs Commercial Motor Vehicles (vehicles owned or used by a business) and 2,165,000 SH short-haul: generally, < 150 mi. from base for property carriers CMVs.  This means that more than 3.3 million CMVs Commercial Motor Vehicles (vehicles owned or used by a business) lack the devices.
Dig into the details here.
  • Industry composition: FMCSA Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (The agency proposing the EOBR Electronic on-Board Recorder (A device attached to commercial motor vehicles that tracks the number of hours drivers spend on the road) rule) estimates that the entire industry is roughly 60% SH short-haul: generally, < 150 mi. from base for property carriers 40% LH, although the proportions changes depending on nature and size.  For example, large carriers have more than twice as many SH short-haul: generally, < 150 mi. from base for property carriers drivers as LH long-haul; generally >150 mi. from base for property carriers drivers, while small and medium carriers are roughly 50-50.  Motor coach are roughly 50-50; “other passenger carriers” are four times as many SH short-haul: generally, < 150 mi. from base for property carriers as LH; in bulk HazMat hazardous materials the ratio is roughly 1.5 LH long-haul; generally >150 mi. from base for property carriers to 1 SH.  This means that compliance costs for various segments of the industry will change depending on whether FMCSA Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (The agency proposing the EOBR Electronic on-Board Recorder (A device attached to commercial motor vehicles that tracks the number of hours drivers spend on the road) rule) adopts its basic proposal (RODS to EOBRs) or a version that also covers all passenger carriers and/or all bulk HazMat.

Anticipated safety benefits will also vary because FMCSA Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (The agency proposing the EOBR Electronic on-Board Recorder (A device attached to commercial motor vehicles that tracks the number of hours drivers spend on the road) rule) concludes that LH long-haul; generally >150 mi. from base for property carriers carriers are most at risk to suffer from inadequate rest because of longer continuous daily driving periods and nights spent away from home (and, for team drivers, sleeping in a CMV Commercial Motor Vechicles in motion).

Dig into the details here and here.

FMCSA provides a chart summarizing overall industry and societal costs and benefits.  These estimates take into account costs and benefits of proposed changes in Supporting Documents requirements for carriers now required to keep them. The bottom line is:

1)      Basic proposal (EOBRs required for CMVs Commercial Motor Vehicles (vehicles owned or used by a business) now using RODS): annual net benefits of $715-$747 million

2)      CMVs Commercial Motor Vehicles (vehicles owned or used by a business) who use RODS Record of duty status (A logbook maintained by CMV drivers to track driving time (i.e., duty status) for each 24-hour period) plus passenger-carrying CMVs Commercial Motor Vehicles (vehicles owned or used by a business) subject to FMCSRs Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and bulk HazMat hazardous materials carriers:  annual net benefits of $654 – $687 million

3)      True universal (all CMVs Commercial Motor Vehicles (vehicles owned or used by a business) subject to HOS Hours of service (Regulations issued by FMCSA that limit the number of daily and weekly hours a CMV driver may drive) rules):  annual net benefits of $334-$373 million

These estimates are based on the current HOS Hours of service (Regulations issued by FMCSA that limit the number of daily and weekly hours a CMV driver may drive) rules.  Since FMSCA is proposing changes in the HOS Hours of service (Regulations issued by FMCSA that limit the number of daily and weekly hours a CMV driver may drive) rules in a separate rulemaking, it also calculated costs and benefits if those changes are made.  Such changes would increase the net benefits in all three versions of an EOBR Electronic on-Board Recorder (A device attached to commercial motor vehicles that tracks the number of hours drivers spend on the road) rule. (See lines VIII and IX of Table 19.)

For more information on hours of service, EOBRs, and CMV drivers generally, visit the Background page.