Helpful Details on the New FMCSA Electronic On-Board Recorder Rule

There is a new rule that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is working on publishing this year that would require all truck drivers to use an Electronic On-Board Recorder (EOBR) or Electronic Logging Device (ELD).   The publication of the new rule is expected to be public on November 18, 2013 and will accept comments until January 20, 2014.  The law requires drivers to start using EOBR within two years after the rule is issued.

What is an EOBR?

An EOBR is an electronic device attached to a commercial motor vehicle, which is used to record the amount of time a vehicle is being driven.  EOBR’s can monitor and record data about the vehicle and its driver. The electronic driver logs also track a driver’s hours of service and electronic driver vehicle inspection reports track speeding, idling and hard braking. They also integrate map and route solutions as well, which can help drivers.  The EOBR is attached to a commercial vehicle’s engine to capture speed, distance and location.

How Much Does an EOBR Cost?

The FMCSA originally estimated in 2011 that the average carrier would likely spend $1,500 to $2,000 per CMV based on Qualcomm’s Mobile Computing Platform (MCP) 150, which costs approximately $1,775.   However, Qualcomm recently introduced an updated version, called the MCP 50 which retails around $889.  Other vendors are promoting EOBR’s at an even lower price and some include smart phone applications of the device.   JJ Keller also has a whole section of EOBR’s and ELD’s.

What About Hours of Service?

To make the changes easier on fleets and drivers, many Electronic On-Board Recorder manufacturers are designing them as an hours of service and compliance solution.  They have updated their software to comply with new alerts, visibility tools, and remote access options.

Overall, the device should help provide better roadside inspections, fuel efficiency, CSA score improvement, improved time management, and protection from DOT audits.  EOBR’s automate electronic in-cab loggings and performance reporting.  For more information regarding this new rule, visit the FMCSA’s EOBR’s Frequently Asked Questions Page.

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