The debate surrounding electronic onboard recorders (EOBRs) and automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs) often centers on the initial cost of installation. What often gets lost in the discussion are the improvements in fleet optimization (read: cost savings) made possible thanks to the data they offer, as well as the fact that a flexible, affordable option for improving CSA scores is available on the market.
EOBR and AOBRD Technology
Fleets can capture Hours of Service data, as well as other useful data analytics by employing either fixed hardware systems or by taking advantage of portable mobile devices—and that data can be instrumental in improving both CSA scores and fleet performance. Given the wide array of options regarding technology and functionality, there is an on-board recording device available to meet every budget.
When EOBRs and AOBRDs are discussed industry-wide, fleet executives, managers, and drivers often think of the traditional “black box.” This type of system employs fixed hardware and an embedded modem to record both a driver’s hours-of-service and duty status.
In addition to helping trucking companies improve their CSA scores, these full-featured systems can also deliver robust analytics tools that help fleets:
- Identify unsafe driving behaviors, allowing them to target drivers for additional training
- Track speed, idle time, and hard braking, helping fleets modify driver behaviors for fuel efficiency gains
- Track assets to aid dispatchers in achieving greater fleet efficiency and improved customer service
- Integrate into other back-end systems like routing or dispatch, which helps fleets save on fuel and labor costs
- Reduce admin time using payroll automation tools
- Improve communication with their drivers
- Remain in contact when their trucks are out of cellular range, using satellite communications
According to the FMCSA, the average cost of a fixed hardware system is $1,600 per vehicle.
The second option available to the trucking industry takes advantage of Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices to record GPS location data and engine diagnostics information.
While not offering the broad scope of analytics tools as their fixed hardware system counterparts, they do offer much more than just electronic driver logs, including:
- Driver and vehicle reporting capabilities that allow fleet managers to improve fleet safety and efficiency
- Asset tracking that provides fleet managers with the tools to make informed dispatching decisions and deliver improved customer service
- Near real-time driver alerts that allow fleet managers to quickly address inefficient and unsafe driving behaviors, prevent vehicle maintenance issues, and cut the amount of time dedicated to reviewing detailed reports
It is important to note that the FMCSA requires on-board recording devices to be “integrally synchronized” to the engine; a cell phone that records GPS locations only does not live up to FMCSA’s standards.
XRS is currently the only company to offer a §395.15 compliant solution that utilizes truck data and the power of handheld devices. Turnpike delivers affordable electronic driver logs and more as a software as a service option; the $35 per vehicle per month fee is billed directly through the fleet’s mobile communications carrier.
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