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What's Happening Now

April 26, 2011 11:01 am

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.

April 26, 2011 11:03 am

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.

April 26, 2011 11:29 am

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… more »

…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. « less

April 26, 2011 11:32 am

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.

April 26, 2011 11:36 am

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,… more »

…I would use my powers to demonize trucks and emplace stricter and stricter limits on them. After all, that is my job. « less
April 26, 2011 11:38 am

“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.

April 26, 2011 11:41 am

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.

April 26, 2011 11:47 am

RDB — Well said.

April 26, 2011 11:50 am

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.

April 26, 2011 11:56 am

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.

April 27, 2011 9:08 am

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… more »

…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. « less

April 28, 2011 3:18 pm

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… more »

…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. « less
May 18, 2011 11:55 am

In paragraph one, toward the end, the issue of resting at home versus on the road is raised. Limiting hours does not dictate where one rests. One could reasonably argue that having longer driving periods helps assure that drivers can make the distance and get back home.

May 18, 2011 12:30 pm

I think we might have missed the point about costs favoring the larger companies versus smaller companies. Larger companies by and large establish rates accross the US. The JB Hunts hauls the majority of the freight and extract the highest freight rates, compared to smaller companies which get the leftovers. The smaller companies can still compete, because their overhead costs are lower – smaller staff, fewer facilities, used versus new trucks, etc, etc. Large companies even save money with EOBRs because it reduces the number of staff it takes to track HOS. A 10-truck company probably is run by the owner and his wife and does not see an appreciable costs associated with implementation of EOBRs. The larger companies do. The big companies have willingly converted to EOBRs for economic… more »

…reasons. The little guys are no dummies and would also if it were in their economic interests.

HOWEVER – - as I stated previously — but I did not see reflected in these comments — I think FMCSA ought to survey smaller companies and find out how many would volunatarily convert to EOBRs if their HOS safestate scores were lowered. Incentivize drivers to convert. « less

April 26, 2011 11:23 am

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?

April 26, 2011 12:30 pm

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

May 18, 2011 7:17 pm

Thanks for your input to help make the final summary better. You left your comment about lowering HOS safestate scores on the Cost post, so you can see that comment reflected in the Cost post summary, available here.

May 21, 2011 10:34 am

Gordon, The paragraph you are referring to is a quote from another commenter. We’ll double check that we’ve got the quote correct. The effort now is to make sure we accurately include everything that was raised in the comments.

April 26, 2011 11:36 am

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,… more »

…I would use my powers to demonize trucks and emplace stricter and stricter limits on them. After all, that is my job. « less
March 28, 2011 12:51 pm

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… more »

…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.
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March 26, 2011 10:23 am

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… more »

…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.
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