In today's fast-paced local and long-distance trucking industry, it is important that companies get the most out of their time and money. Fuel and labor costs coupled with traffic and route delays can really dig into the profit margin. A high turnover of drivers is also an ongoing concern when sustaining a productive and efficient workforce. There are now systems available to optimize routing, electronically log and monitor driver hours, automate driver inspection reporting (DVIR) and track maintenance updates on vehicles plus identify undesireable driving behavior. Companies that use electronic onboard recording systems (EOBR) have just that!
How EOBR Works
Unlike manual log books that can be inaccurate or tachographs whose readings can be manipulated, an EOBR uses global positioning satellite (GPS) technology to pinpoint the location, speed and direction of vehicle at anytime and anywhere. Vehicle data is transmitted to a central server, updated at a pre-determined interval then to the company's office computer or Smartphone.
The benefits of this up-to-the-minute tracking system are clear:
- Managers and dispatchers know where their fleet is at all times.
- Automate driver inspection reporting (DVIR) with maintenance action logging improves fleet vehicle compliance which can virtually eliminate violations leading to unproductive “out of service” time.
- Knowing the vehicle status is being recorded keeps drivers more productive. No down time, out of route travel or extended breaks.
- An EOBR has a significant impact on vehicle and driver safety. Drivers report hours of service with greater accuracy so do not exceed the established mandates that have proven in preventing accidents due to driver fatigue.
Pros & Cons of EOBR
Not everyone is a proponent of EOBR. There are those who feel that constantly monitoring a driver's performance promotes distrust in the work force and diminishes the relationship between employer/employee. Others feel it is a violation of driver privacy. Those with a strong work ethic, however, see the positives to the process and embrace the accurate reporting and elimination of manual time logs and maintenance records. Drivers have found thatthey no longer have to justify delays and demands, because the device will track traffic or dock delays. Most companies that are using EOBR's saw that the system paid for itself in a matter of months by reducing unnecessary driving and padded driver hours. An added bonus is shrinking the company's carbon footprint due to less fuel consumption.
Safety on the highways is essential, and the use of electronic onboard recording devices will help companies stay in U.S. DOT FMCSA compliance for drivers and equipment. While still voluntary on the local level, companies that use trucks in their daily work can increase productivity while minimizing accidents/insurance claims.
From fleets of all sizes, from only a few vehicles to those with large fleets, electronic onboard recording devices have made a positive impact on productivity and government compliance. Anyone who's used GPS fleet tracking knows that the pros far outweigh the cons. Whether trying a basic system or working out a plan that is specific to a company's needs, EOBR technology just makes good business sense.