Study to test effectiveness of EOBRs in compliance, safety
Jeff Hickman says the study will seek to determine whether EOBRs actually increase compliance and safety. (Courtesy: VTTI)
The Trucker News Services
BLACKSBURG, Va. — With funding from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute said Friday they will study the impact electronic on-board recorders have on safety within the commercial vehicle industry and whether EOBRs are an effective tool to increase compliance with Hours of Service regulations.
“A requirement to use electronic on-board recorders was withdrawn because of potential misuse and questions about whether the devices actually increase compliance and safety,” said Jeff Hickman, occupational health and safety expert at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, a reference to the so-called remedial rule that would have required the use of EOBRs by any motor carrier found to have significant HOS violations.
The agency is writing a new rule that would mandate EOBRs for all commercial trucks.
In addition, Congress mandated the use of EOBRs in the new surface transportation bill called MAP-21.
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Hickman’s team will also look how many operators and fleets use EOBRs, how much they cost to install and operate, and whether there are other benefits of the devices.
Hickman specializes in assessing driver behavior, fatigue, work/rest cycles, and driver distraction in commercial motor operations.
“For this research project, we will look at crash and vehicle data to determine whether trucks with electronic onboard recorders have a significantly lower crash rate than those without,” he said. “Our database will also allow us to look at preventable crashes and crashes that have been designated as fatigue related.”
The project will also include department of transportation-recorded crash rates and Hours of Service violation rates for vehicles with and without electronic onboard recording devices.
Study results will be reported by late 2013.
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