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Electronic onboard recording devices are an expensive, intrusive, and mostly unnecessary regulatory device that FMCSA wants to mandate on all commercial vehicles. Their argument is that this mandate will somehow improve SAFETY, i.e., a reduction of crashes, injuries, and fatalities in large truck crashes in the U. S. This argument continues in the face of the decade-long Werner experiment with EOBR’s that seemed to have a negative impact on crashes, injuries, and fatalities, rather than a positive one.

EOBR’s started out in Western Europe years ago as a simple tachograph that helped government collect road taxes from truckers. Its original idea certainly had nothing to do with SAFETY, but much to do with money. That hasn’t changed much on this side of the Atlantic with this mandate. Money is the ultimate motivator behind mandated EOBR’s.

Where is the money?

Global Position Satellites (GPS) entered the trucking industry some twenty five years ago with Qualcomm leading the parade. The boxes were around $3,300.00 per unit and the monthly fee ran around $60.00 to $90.00 per power unit per month. Larger companies flocked to this technology primarily to mitigate the logistical nightmare created by extremely high driver turnover rates and the fact that a certain percentage of their drivers could not be trusted to tell the truth about their respective locations. There were certainly other benefits for GPS tracking that included ease of communication between driver and dispatch, fewer check calls, the ability for one dispatcher to handle more trucks, loads, and drivers, fuel tax calculations, asset management, and to use as a valuable marketing tool to sophisticated shippers who wanted to track their shipments. The down-side to this technology was that good drivers resented the implication that they could not be trusted and that “Big Brother” was always tracking their movements.

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