With the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's rulemaking on electronic on-board recording (EOBR) devices due this month, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has released a report on the trucking industry's experience using on-board recorders. And the results aren't what you might expect.
Though opponents of mandatory EOBR use have argued that monitoring devices have a negative impact on driver morale and retention, the report found that wasn't the case. In fact, ATRI, which is the research arm of the American Trucking Associations, said a surprising 76 percent of EOBR users reported that EOBR usage improved driver morale. Furthermore, none of the EOBR users reported that driver retention was harmed by EOBR usage. In fact, 19 percent said EOBRs improved driver retention.
"We know there are long-standing perceptions associated with EOBRs, but this research gives us insight into the statistical realities that can only be provided by EOBR users," says Doug Duncan, ATRI chairman and president of FedEx Freight.
Those findings notwithstanding, ATRI says its research indicates that EOBR usage today remains low. The primary reasons include overall system costs and lack of return on investment where safety and productivity are concerned. It also appears that fleet owners may be waiting to see what functionalities and standards the federal government will require if FMCSA decides to make EOBR use mandatory.
The ATRI also noted that the enforcement community is concerned about data privacy and data access issues because there are few policies and protocols available for using EOBR data to monitor driver compliance with hoursof-service regulations.