[Senate Hearing 110-1205]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
S. Hrg. 110-1205
ELECTRONIC ON-BOARD RECORDERS (EOBRs) AND TRUCK DRIVER FATIGUE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON SURFACE TRANSPORTATION
AND MERCHANT MARINE INFRASTRUCTURE,
SAFETY, AND SECURITY
COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE,
SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS
MAY 1, 2007
Printed for the use of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and
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SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS
DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii, Chairman
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West TED STEVENS, Alaska, Vice Chairman
Virginia JOHN McCAIN, Arizona
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts TRENT LOTT, Mississippi
BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas
BARBARA BOXER, California OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine
BILL NELSON, Florida GORDON H. SMITH, Oregon
MARIA CANTWELL, Washington JOHN ENSIGN, Nevada
FRANK R. LAUTENBERG, New Jersey JOHN E. SUNUNU, New Hampshire
MARK PRYOR, Arkansas JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri JOHN THUNE, South Dakota
AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota
Margaret L. Cummisky, Democratic Staff Director and Chief Counsel
Lila Harper Helms, Democratic Deputy Staff Director and Policy Director
Christine D. Kurth, Republican Staff Director and General Counsel
Kenneth R. Nahigian, Republican Deputy Staff Director and Chief Counsel
SUBCOMMITTEE ON SURFACE TRANSPORTATION AND MERCHANT MARINE
INFRASTRUCTURE, SAFETY, AND SECURITY
FRANK R. LAUTENBERG, New Jersey, GORDON H. SMITH, Oregon, Ranking
Chairman JOHN McCAIN, Arizona
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West TRENT LOTT, Mississippi
Virginia KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine
BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
MARIA CANTWELL, Washington DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
MARK PRYOR, Arkansas JOHN THUNE, South Dakota
THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri
AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota
C O N T E N T S
Hearing held on May 1, 2007...................................... 1
Statement of Senator Klobuchar................................... 55
Statement of Senator Lautenberg.................................. 1
Statement of Senator Pryor....................................... 25
Statement of Senator Smith....................................... 2
Gabbard, Jerry G., Vice President and General Manager, Commercial
Vehicles, NAFTA Region, Siemens VDO Automotive Corporation..... 28
Prepared statement........................................... 30
Harrison, Captain John E., President, Commercial Vehicle Safety
Prepared statement........................................... 14
Hill, Hon. John H., Administrator, Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation.............. 2
Prepared statement........................................... 4
McCartt, Anne T., Senior Vice President, Research, Insurance
Institute for Highway Safety................................... 34
Prepared statement........................................... 36
Olson, Richard G., CEO, FIL-MOR Express, Inc..................... 50
Prepared statement........................................... 53
Reiser, Richard S., on behalf of the American Trucking
Associations, Inc. (ATA); Executive Vice President and General
Counsel, Werner Enterprises, Inc.; Chairman, ATA's Hours-of-
Service Committee.............................................. 38
Prepared statement........................................... 40
Rosenker, Hon. Mark V., Chairman, National Transportation Safety
Prepared statement........................................... 9
Rajkovacz, Joe, Member, Board of Directors, Owner-Operator
Independent Drivers Association, prepared statement............ 61
Response to written questions submitted by Hon. Frank R.
Captain John E. Harrison..................................... 69
Hon. John H. Hill............................................ 64
Richard S. Reiser............................................ 71
ELECTRONIC ON-BOARD RECORDERS (EOBRs) AND TRUCK DRIVER FATIGUE
TUESDAY, MAY 1, 2007
Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and
Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security,
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:35 p.m. in
room SR-253, Russell Senate Office Building, Hon. Frank R.
Lautenberg, Chairman of the Subcommittee, presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK R. LAUTENBERG,
U.S. SENATOR FROM NEW JERSEY
Senator Lautenberg. Our Subcommittee hearing today is on
electronic on-board recorders and truck driver fatigue
I want to welcome everyone to today's hearing as we begin
the Subcommittee's work on truck safety. It's a factor that
worries all of us, particularly in a state like mine which has
high-density travel, and in New Jersey, we are very conscious
of risk that we face with a mixture of cars and trucks on the
same roads, all competing for space and time.
Today, we're going to focus on reducing truck driver
fatigue through the use of safety technologies. Each year, some
43,000 Americans die in traffic crashes; 5,000 of them are
killed in a crash with a large truck. Surveys show that as many
as one in five truck drivers regularly exceeds the maximum
hours that they may drive under the law, and we know that that
fatigue causes crashes.
The paper logbook system for recording driver time is
outdated, easy to falsify, and fails to ensure safety. But
there's an existing technology available to better enforce our
safety laws. A device, presented over here on the table, called
an ``electronic on-board recorder,'' could help prevent
tragedies by giving trucking companies and law enforcement
officials a way to enforce hours-of-service.
These recorders can be installed in a truck's cab, made
tamperproof, and programmed like a black box to record safety
data, including engine operation, location, mileage, speed, and
braking data. Further, I believe that these recorders could be
used to help drivers accurately log the time spent loading and
unloading trucks at terminals. This work, and the delays that
sometimes occur at these facilities, can significantly add to
driver fatigue, consumes a lot of time.
Last, on-board recorders can save time and money for
truckers and trucking companies by reducing paperwork,
improving fleet management, and increasing safety.
Electronic on-board recorders are already required in big
trucks in the entire European Union, and many other countries
in Asia, and South Africa. They've noted substantial reduction
of accidents as a result--in the European Union--of the
device's presence. Safety advocates have been advocating their
mandatory use in the United States since the 1980s.
So, I'm perplexed as to why the Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration proposed in January to require recorders
on as few as 465 of the more than 700,000 trucking companies in
this country. It doesn't make any sense.
Under the proposal, only 1 and a half percent of the
industry will even be inspected for compliance with truck
safety laws each year. Now, I'm not sure that the industry
themselves could have written a more favorable proposal if they
choose not to be concerned about this. We need electronic on-
board recorders in every truck on the road to ensure the safety
of our truck drivers and the families who travel on the
So, I thank our witnesses for appearing today. Before we
call on them, I want to recognize my colleague, Ranking Member
Senator Smith, your comments, please?
STATEMENT OF HON. GORDON H. SMITH,
U.S. SENATOR FROM OREGON
Senator Smith. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate your
scheduling this important and timely hearing. Thank all the
witnesses for being here. I particularly want to welcome
Administrator John Hill, who, I understand, recently was in
Oregon, where he addressed the Oregon Truckers Association. And
I hear you earned rave reviews.
So, we're fortunate to have an impressive group of experts
with us to discuss an issue that's been debated for several
decades and is now the subject of pending rulemaking.
So, I look forward to the hearing.
Senator Lautenberg. Thank you very much. We're pleased to
have you join us for this hearing.
And I would now call on Mr. Hill. We welcome you here. You
bring a lot of experience and knowledge. We're pleased to have
your testimony. And if you would be--start with us. We'll give
you 5 minutes. If you don't break down at 5, we'll give you
some coasting time, maybe another minute, but we ask you to
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN H. HILL, ADMINISTRATOR,
FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION,
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Mr. Hill. Mr. Chairman, I'll try to be right on time.
Chairman Lautenberg and Ranking Member Smith, and members
of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to discuss the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's proposed
rulemaking concerning electronic on-board recorders and our
efforts to reduce the number of fatigue-related crashes.
I am pleased to describe FMCSA's proposal to require
carriers with severe patterns of hours-of-service violations to
use EOBRs and to promote the voluntary use of EOBRs throughout
the industry. We are currently analyzing all the comments
received on the proposal, and we will also incorporate the
comments from this hearing into the public docket, basing
future decisions on a complete analysis of all submitted
Since 2000, FMCSA has been exploring the EOBR issue,
including whether these devices should be mandatory, and
analyzing proper design, use, cost, and benefits.
In May 2000, FMCSA proposed requiring the use of on-board
recorders for long-haul and regional carriers based on data
indicating, one, the higher percentage of crashes involving
these carriers; and, two, noncompliance with the hours-of-
service regulations, particularly by some segments of the long-
The proposal was part of the Agency's comprehensive
rulemaking on hours-of-service. After reviewing nearly 50,000
comments to the rulemaking docket, and the data concerning the
potential costs and benefits of requiring the use of on-board
recorders, the Agency decided to focus, at that time, on
completing the first major revision to the hours-of-service
rules in over 50 years.
In September 2004 FMCSA published an advance notice of
proposed rulemaking, requesting public comment on the issue of
technological specifications for EOBRs and whether their use
should be required for the entire motor carrier industry,
certain segments of the industry, or whether they should remain
During 2005, we completed a literature and technology
review and study focusing on a range of data collection and
information management topics.
In January 2007, FMCSA proposed a rule intended to increase
the use of electronic on-board recorders within the industry
and to improve hours-of-service compliance. The proposal
contains three components: one, a new performance-based
standard for EOBR technology; two, the use of EOBRs to enforce
and monitor regulatory noncompliance; and three, incentives to
promote EOBR use. We believe these three components strike a
balance promoting highway safety while objectively evaluating
the cost and benefits of the rulemakings. In addition to
requesting comments through the Federal Register notice, the
agency held three public listening sessions in Washington,
D.C.; Phoenix, Arizona; and Chicago, Illinois.
In our enforcement activities, FMCSA targets unsafe
companies. Based on our safety research, motor carriers whose
drivers routinely exceed hours-of-service limits have an
increased probability of involvement in fatigue-related
crashes. The carriers that would be required, under the
proposed rule to use EOBRs have crash rates that are 87 percent
higher than the overall industry average. Therefore, we propose
a risk-based approach to target these carriers.
EOBR technology is available and an important tool to
ensure improved unsafe driving behavior. Drivers must follow
the hours-of-service rules to protect them and those with whom
they share the road. FMCSA's Large Truck Crash Causation Study
shows that approximately 13 percent of the large truck crashes
involved some form of fatigue on the part of the commercial
vehicle driver. EOBRs will help to encourage compliance of
drivers violating hours-of-service regulations and reduce the
likelihood of fatigue-related crashes.
My experience in traffic safety has taught me that
meaningful traffic enforcement programs must contain strong and
valuable laws and rules, public support for the law to
encourage voluntary compliance, an effective enforcement regime
that imposes sanctions for noncompliance, and, finally, there
must be meaningful adjudication processes.
The 2007 notice of proposed rulemaking for electronic on-
board recorders will provide a basis for meaningful enforcement
of those who flaunt the safety of our highways. We intend to
build on that NPRM as we review the comments, the docket, and
will take them into consideration in determining the most
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today,
and I'll be looking forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hill follows:]
Prepared Statement of Hon. John H. Hill, Administrator, Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation
Chairman Lautenberg, Ranking Member Smith, and Members of the
Subcommittee, thank you for inviting me today to discuss the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA's) proposed rulemaking
concerning Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs) and our efforts to
reduce the number of fatigue-related crashes involving commercial motor
vehicle (CMV) drivers. I am pleased to describe to you what FMCSA has
proposed to improve the safety performance of motor carriers with
severe patterns of hours-of-service (HOS) violations, and to promote
the voluntary use of EOBRs in the motor carrier industry. However, as
FMCSA is now analyzing all the comments received on the proposal, we
have not made any decisions about the next step in the rulemaking. Any
future decisions concerning the rulemaking will be based on our
analysis of the comments and data submitted to the docket.
These days, the transportation community must confront many
important issues. Even as priorities change and transportation needs
evolve, safety on our roads must remain paramount to all other
priorities. Perhaps the most important influence on improving future
road safety rests with technology. By strategically integrating smart
technologies like EOBRs, we will improve safety in the motor carrier
For many years, the transportation community has focused on
fighting driver fatigue as a way to make our roads safer. Earlier this
year, we took another step toward reducing the number of these crashes
by proposing the mandatory use of EOBRs by carriers with the worst
levels of compliance with the HOS rules. This action will force these
carriers to provide their drivers with adequate opportunities to obtain
the proper amount of rest before getting behind the wheel.
Initially prompted by a desire to improve efficiency, the motor
carrier industry began looking to automated methods for recording
drivers' duty status more than 20 years ago. In the late 1980s, we
implemented the first rule allowing the use of automatic on-board
recording devices (AOBRDs). Still in effect today, the rule provides
straightforward performance requirements for these devices to ensure
they are tamper-resistant and capture enough information to monitor
drivers' time behind the wheel.
The existing design standard must permit duty status to be updated
only when the vehicle is at rest, unless the driver is registering the
crossing of a state boundary. The on-board recorder and support systems
must be tamper resistant ``to the maximum extent practicable.'' The
device must provide a visual or an audible warning to the driver if it
ceases to function. Any sensor failures and edited data must be
identified in the Records of Duty Status, more commonly known as log
books, printed from the device. Finally, the on-board recorder must be
maintained and recalibrated according to the manufacturer's
specifications, drivers must be adequately trained in the proper
operation of the device, and the motor carrier must maintain a second
(backup) copy of electronic HOS files in a separate location.
At the time the current rule was issued, the technology to allow
on-board recorders to transmit data wirelessly between the CMV and the
motor carrier's base of operations did not exist on a widespread
commercial basis. Today's technologies allow for real-time transmission
of a vehicle's location and other operational information. These
technologies enable a motor carrier to know at any point in time where
a vehicle is, whether it is on its assigned route, and when it reaches
its destination. These same technologies can also be used to record and
transmit the driver's HOS information. FMCSA calls these current-
generation recording devices electronic on-board recorders or EOBRs. By
exploiting the power of these technologies, a motor carrier can improve
not only its scheduling of vehicles and drivers but its asset
management and customer service. These developments in technology and
communications require that FMCSA revise the current, narrowly defined
on-board recorder regulations.
May 2000 Proposal to Require EOBRs
Since 2000, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has
been exploring the EOBR issue further--including whether these devices
should be mandatory--and analyzing proper design, use, costs, and
benefits. In May 2000, FMCSA proposed requiring the use of on-board
recorders for long-haul and regional carriers based on data indicating:
(1) a higher percentage of crashes involving these carriers; and (2)
non-compliance with the HOS regulations, particularly by some segments
of the long-haul industry. The proposal was part of the Agency's
comprehensive rulemaking on HOS of CMV drivers.
After reviewing the public comments to the rulemaking docket and
considering data concerning the potential costs and benefits of the
proposal to mandate AOBRDs, the Agency decided that mandating the use
of on-board recorders was not appropriate at that time. However, the
Agency determined there was a need to further explore the potential of
this technology for helping to ensure that motor carriers and drivers
comply with the HOS rule. To this end, the Agency conducted research on
EOBRs and other technologies, and considered the feasibility of
providing incentives for their voluntary use. Key research factors
included: (1) the ability to identify the individual driver; (2) tamper
resistance; (3) the ability to produce records for audit; (4) the
ability of roadside enforcement to quickly and easily access the HOS
information; (5) the level of protection afforded other personal,
operational, or proprietary information; (6) cost; and (7) driver
acceptability. The research included a literature and technology review
that was completed in March 2005, and a study focusing on a range of
data collection and information management topics, including location
referencing methods, completed in August 2005.
Initiation of New Rulemaking in 2004
On September 1, 2004, FMCSA published an Advance Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking (ANPRM) requesting public comment on the issue of technical
specifications for EOBRs, and whether the use of such devices should be
required for the entire motor carrier industry, certain segments of the
industry, or whether use of the devices should remain voluntary. During
2005, we analyzed the comments to the ANPRM and prepared a proposal for
a new EOBR rule that takes those comments into consideration.
January 2007 Proposal
In January 2007, FMCSA proposed a comprehensive rule intended to
increase the use of EOBRs within the motor carrier industry and to
improve HOS compliance. The approach contains three components: (1) a
new performance-oriented standard for EOBR technology; (2) the use of
EOBRs to remediate regulatory noncompliance; and (3) incentives to
promote EOBR use. FMCSA believes this approach strikes an appropriate
balance between promoting highway safety and Executive Order
requirements to evaluate the societal costs and benefits of all
significant rulemakings. In addition to requesting comments through the
Federal Register notice, the Agency held three listening sessions in
Washington, D.C.; Phoenix, AZ; and Chicago, IL.
FMCSA's NPRM proposes amending the safety regulations to
incorporate new performance standards for EOBRs installed in CMVs
manufactured on or after 2 years from the effective date of a final
rule. EOBRs meeting FMCSA's current requirements and voluntarily
installed in CMVs manufactured before the rule's effective date may
continue to be used for the remainder of the service life of those
The technical standards element of the proposed rule would help
motor carriers and safety compliance officials by providing them with
clearly defined information, presented and stored in a standardized
way. These standards would provide a ``benchmark'' for EOBR system
developers to use in designing their systems and for motor carriers to
use in comparing the features and performance of different systems. The
standards would also enable motor carriers to select the devices that
are most appropriate for different types of operations, knowing that
the data from the different systems will be recorded, stored, and
secured in consistent ways. This portion of the rule would require
EOBRs to record basic information needed to track a driver's HOS
compliance, including: identity of the driver, duty status, date, time,
and location of the commercial vehicle, and distance traveled.
Additionally, it would add a new requirement to use Global Positioning
System technology or other location tracking systems to automatically
identify the location of the vehicle, which further reduces the
likelihood of falsification of HOS information.
Our proposed technical specifications would improve dramatically
the ease and convenience of using these devices as a safety tool.
First, there would be standard display of specific data fields.
Regardless of location or which manufacturer's device is being used,
every read-out and display would be in a similar format. Additionally,
the technology would have to support the ability to transfer the data--
either by hard wire or wireless transmission. Updating the technology
standards will allow us to make the best use of modern and efficient
communications. Uniformity will help drivers and law enforcement know
how to use these devices regardless of manufacturer or model.
The rule further proposes that motor carriers with a history of
serious noncompliance with the HOS rules would be subject to mandatory
installation of EOBRs meeting the new performance standards. If FMCSA
determined, based on HOS records reviewed during each of two compliance
reviews (CRs) conducted within a 2-year period, that a motor carrier
had a 10 percent or greater violation rate (``pattern violation'') for
certain HOS regulations, FMCSA would issue the carrier an EOBR remedial
directive. The motor carrier would be required to install EOBRs in all
of its CMVs regardless of their date of manufacture unless the carrier
had equipped its vehicles already with AOBRDs meeting the Agency's
current requirements and could demonstrate to FMCSA that its drivers
understand how to use the devices.
Finally, FMCSA would encourage industry-wide use of EOBRs by
providing the following incentives for motor carriers that voluntarily
use EOBRs in their CMVs: (1) revising its compliance review procedures
to permit examination of a random sample of drivers' records of duty
status; and (2) providing relief from HOS supporting documents
requirements, provided certain conditions were satisfied.
Rationale for Limiting the Mandate
In all our enforcement activities, FMCSA focuses on those companies
that are most likely to be a safety hazard on the road. Based on its
safety research, FMCSA believes that motor carriers whose drivers
routinely exceed HOS limits have an increased probability of
involvement in fatigue-related crashes and therefore present a
disproportionately high risk to highway safety. Based on the Agency's
analysis of its Motor Carrier Management Information System data from
CRs conducted on motor carriers operating in interstate commerce,
carriers to which a remedial directive would apply under this proposal
have crash rates that are 87 percent higher than the overall industry
average. Currently, carriers with high crash rates and high driver HOS
violation rates top our priority list for CRs and are targeted at the
roadside for increased inspections.
Under this proposed rule, only those truck companies with a history
of serious HOS violations would be required to install EOBRs in all of
their commercial vehicles. Within the first 2 years of the rule's
enforcement, we estimate that 930 carriers with 17,500 drivers would
fall under this requirement.
FMCSA recognizes the views of many in the highway safety community
and the general public about mandating EOBRs. However, there are
several million CMVs on America's roads today. Our estimated costs for
mandating EOBRS on every vehicle in the fleet greatly exceeded the
estimated benefits at the time we published the April 2003 Final Rule
on drivers' HOS. Therefore, we focused on finding other ways to get
more of these units on CMVs without creating an unreasonable burden
with a government mandate. Consequently, we proposed a risk-based
approach to target this technology where it is likely to have the most
benefits for the driving public.
While EOBR technology is at our disposal, we must always remember
that it is just another tool to ensure safe driver behavior. Drivers
must also follow the HOS rules that protect them and protect those with
whom they share the road. In 2003 and again in 2005, FMCSA revised its
HOS regulations to require motor carriers of property to provide
drivers with better opportunities to obtain sleep and thereby reduce
the incidence of crashes attributed in whole or in part to drivers
operating CMVs while drowsy, tired, or fatigued. These rulemakings were
necessary because FMCSA estimated that a portion of truck drivers
involved in large truck crashes each year is fatigued. Specifically,
the results from our March 2006 Report to Congress on the Large Truck
Crash Causation Study indicate that 13 percent of the large truck
drivers involved in study crashes were believed to be fatigued. FMCSA
estimates that, when adhered to fully, the changes to the HOS rules
will save lives each year as a result of giving drivers an increased
incremental amount of time to obtain rest and sleep. EOBRs will monitor
non-complying motor carriers for compliance with these important rules.
Motor carriers have been allowed to use on-board recorders to
document drivers' HOS for approximately 20 years. While the current
level of on-board recorder use is limited and many believe that nothing
short of an industry-wide mandate will improve safety, the information
we had available at the time we published our NPRM did not support an
industry-wide mandate. We have received strong feedback to our NPRM and
have begun the process of reviewing each of the comments to the docket
to determine the most appropriate steps to take in following up on the
January 2007 proposal.
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. I look
forward to working with this Committee and the transportation community
to ensure a safe transportation system for the citizens of the United
States. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Senator Lautenberg. Thank you very much, Mr. Hill.
The witnesses range from the Administration to trucking
industry officials to the manufacturers of the on-board
recorders, and we, obviously, welcome all of you to the witness
Mr. Rosenker, Mark Rosenker, Chairman of the National
Transportation Safety Board, welcome, and please give your
STATEMENT OF HON. MARK V. ROSENKER, CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL
TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD
Mr. Rosenker. Thank you, Chairman Lautenberg, Ranking
Member Smith for allowing me to present testimony on behalf of
the National Transportation Safety Board. It is my privilege to
represent an agency that is dedicated to the safety of the
Today, I'd like to talk about how technology can help
prevent fatigue-related accidents by improving commercial
driver compliance with the hours-of-service regulations.
First, I'd like to compliment the administrator and his
organization, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration,
on beginning this process and framing the public debate by
issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking on electronic data
recorders for hours-of-service.
As you know, paper logbooks offer many opportunities to
play fast and loose with the hours-of-service rules. Some
unscrupulous drivers falsify their books, or keep two sets of
books. Some motor carriers do not closely monitor their
driver's compliance with the rules and some may actually coach
their drivers on how to fudge their logbooks.
Recognizing this lack of accountability with paper
logbooks, the Safety Board has advocated the use of on-board
data recorders for the past three decades. In 1977, the Safety
Board issued its first recommendation on the use of on-board
recording devices for hours-of-service compliance by asking the
Federal Highway Administration to explore the merits of
tachographs on reducing commercial vehicle accidents. Although
the Highway Administration studied the issue, they did not make
During the 1980s, the technology for on-board recorders for
hours-of-service improved dramatically. In 1990, as part of a
study on heavy-truck crashes, the Safety Board recommended that
the Highway Administration and the states require the use of
automated, tamperproof on-board recording devices. This
recommendation was rejected by the Highway Administration.
In 1995, the Board reiterated this same recommendation to
the Federal Highway Administration and the states. Both failed
In 1998, the Safety Board tried a different approach and
made recommendations directly to the industry, asking them to
equip their commercial vehicle fleets with automated and
tamperproof on-board recording devices. This recommendation was
opposed by the industry.
In 2001, when the new FMCSA issued an NPRM for hours-of-
service of drivers, the Board reiterated its position that
FMCSA strongly consider mandatory use of electronic on-board
recorders by all motor carriers. FMCSA did not incorporate this
suggestion into the NPRM.
Finally, 2 weeks ago, the Board sent a letter to the FMCSA
expressing our disappointment with the NPRM on-board recorder
issue. There are three primary reasons why the Board felt that
the NPRM fell short of its intended target:
First, the Board would like to see damage-resistance and
data-survivability included in the standards for recorder
Second, the Safety Board believes on-board recorder
technology should be applied to all carriers, rather than only
to carriers found to be pattern violators. It will be extremely
difficult for FMCSA to identify and administer the program on
an exception basis, given that they can only audit annually
about 1 percent of the carriers and that the Board has found
significant problems with their current compliance review
program. Therefore, the Safety Board is convinced that the only
effective way in which on-board recorders can help stem hours-
of-service violations, which the Board has linked to numerous
fatigue-related accidents, is to mandate their use by all
Third, the proposed rulemaking attempts to promote the
voluntary installation and use of on-board recorders. It seems
extremely unlikely that the unscrupulous motor carrier, who
already plays fast and loose with the logbooks, would be
willing to comply with a voluntary program.
In summary, fatigue-related accidents continue to plague
our Nation's highways, because, unlike alcohol, fatigue is
extremely difficult to detect. In fact, fatigue is probably the
most under-reported causal factor in highway accidents.
Electronic on-board recorders hold the potential to efficiently
and accurately collect and verify the hours-of-service for all
drivers. They will also establish the proper incentives and a
level playing field for compliance with hours-of-service rules
and will ultimately make our highways safer for all drivers.
Accordingly, Safety Board urges Congress to support the
requirement for on-board recorders for all motor carriers.
I would be delighted to answer any questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Rosenker follows:]
Prepared Statement of Hon. Mark V. Rosenker, Chairman,
National Transportation Safety Board
Good morning Chairman Lautenberg, Ranking Member Smith, and Members
of the Subcommittee. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to
present testimony on behalf of the National Transportation Safety Board
regarding Electronic On-Board Recorders for Hours-of-Service
As you know, the NTSB is an independent Federal agency charged by
Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United
States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation--
railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline, and issuing safety
recommendations to prevent future accidents. The Safety Board also
oversees the assistance to victims and their families following
commercial aviation accidents and also acts as the Court of Appeals for
airmen, mechanics and mariners whenever certificate action is taken by
the Federal Aviation Administrator or the U.S. Coast Guard Commandant
or when civil penalties are assessed by the FAA.
Since its inception in 1967, the Safety Board has investigated
about 138,000 aviation accidents and thousands of surface
transportation accidents. In addition, the Safety Board has issued more
than 12,600 safety recommendations in all modes of transportation.
Although we do not have authority to regulate safety, our reputation
and our perseverance in following up on safety recommendations has
resulted in an 82 percent acceptance rate for our recommendations.
Today, I would like to talk about how technology can help prevent
fatigue-related accidents by improving commercial driver compliance
with the hours-of-service regulations.
As you know, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
(FMCSA) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding
``Electronic On-Board Recorders for Hours-of-Service Compliance,'' on
January 18, 2007 and asked for comments by April 18, 2007. Although
this very important rulemaking has the potential to greatly improve the
compliance with hours-of-service rules, and ultimately reduce fatigue-
related accidents, it will not accomplish this in its present form.
First I would like to give you some background and long history on
the Board's position on this issue.
For the past 30 years, the Safety Board has advocated the use of
on-board data recorders to increase hours-of-service compliance of
commercial drivers. As you know, commercial drivers are currently
required to keep logbooks on the hours they drive. However, for many
reasons these log books often do not reflect the true hours of
operation. Because drivers for the most part are paid by the mile and
motor carriers make more money the more miles that are driven by their
drivers, neither party has adequate incentives for compliance with the
hours-of-service rules. The current system of paper logbooks offers
many opportunities to play fast and loose with these rules. Some
unscrupulous drivers write down hours different from those that they
actually drive, some maintain multiple logbooks, and some outright
falsify the information. In addition, some motor carriers do not
closely monitor their drivers' compliance with the rules and some
actually may coach their drivers on how to fudge their logbook. It is
not comical, but many in the truck and bus industry affectionately call
the logbooks ``comic books''.
Let me summarize some of the key events that have led to the
Board's position on hours-of-service compliance.
In 1977, the Safety Board issued its first recommendation on the
use of on-board recording devices for commercial vehicle hours-of-
service compliance. It was in response to the Federal Highway
Administration's (FHWA's) withdrawal of an Advance Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking concerning the installation of tachographs in interstate
buses. That recommendation proposed that the FHWA:
Conduct scientifically controlled studies to determine the
effects and merits of the use of tachographs on commercial
vehicles in reducing accidents. (H-77-32)
In April 1977, FHWA rejected the Board's recommendation due to
``insufficient credible evidence of the effectiveness of recording
speedometers as an accident prevention device'' and due to ``evidence
that present day technology of recording speedometers severely limits
their use to certain purposes and specific conditions.''
In the 1980s, the technology for on-board recorders for hours-of-
service improved dramatically, such that in 1990, the Safety Board
first urged the FHWA to mandate the use of on-board recorders.
The Board made this recommendation in its 1990 safety study on
Fatigue, Alcohol, Drugs, and Medical Factors in Fatal-to-the-Driver
Heavy Truck Crashes. This study concluded that on-board recording
devices could provide a tamper-proof mechanism to enforce the hours-of-
service regulations. The study also found that, of the 182 cases
studied, the most frequently cited factor or probable cause in these
accidents was fatigue, cited in 31 percent the cases. Alcohol was
second at 29 percent. Therefore, the Safety Board recommended that the
Require automated/tamper-proof on-board recording devices such
as tachographs or computerized logs to identify commercial
truck drivers who exceed hours-of-service regulations. (H-90-
An identically worded companion recommendation was made to the
states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the
In 1995, the Board reiterated this Safety Recommendation (H-90-28)
in its safety study on ``Factors That Affect Fatigue in Heavy Truck
Accidents'' in which 107 heavy truck accidents were studied. The study
also noted that the incidence of driver fatigue is under-represented in
the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) database. Both the FHWA
and the states failed to act on this recommendation.
In 1998, the Safety Board again advocated industry-wide use of on-
board recording devices after investigating a multiple-vehicle accident
that occurred in Slinger, Wisconsin, on February 12, 1997 in which 8
persons died. This time, rather that focusing on regulations we tried a
different route and made the recommendations to the American Trucking
Associations, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and the Motor
Freight Carriers Association, the Independent Truckers and Drivers
Association, the National Private Truck Council, and the Owner-Operator
Independent Drivers Association, Inc. The recommendation was:
Advise your members to equip their commercial vehicle fleets
with automated and tamper-proof on-board recording devices,
such as tachographs or computerized recorders, to identify
information concerning both driver and vehicle operating
characteristics. (H-98-26) (H-98-23)
At that time the American Trucking Associations responded that it
opposed the mandatory installation of such devices. The International
Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Motor Freight Carriers Association did
In August 12, 2001, the Safety Board reiterated its position
regarding the use of on-board recorders for hours-of-service compliance
in its response to the FMCSA's NPRM on Hours-of-Service of Drivers. In
our response, the Safety Board again requested that the FMCSA strongly
consider mandatory use of EOBRs by all motor carriers to help improve
Finally, 2 weeks ago on April 18, 2007 the Board sent a letter to
FMCSA expressing its disappointment with the notice of proposed
rulemaking entitled ``Electronic On-Board Recorders for Hours-of-
Service Compliance''. Let me highlight some of the reasons why the
Board felt the NPRM fell short of its intended target.
As you know, the NPRM focuses on three elements:
1. Performance-oriented standards for EOBR technology;
2. Mandatory use of EOBRs by motor carriers who are found to
exhibit a pattern of violations of HOS regulations; and
3. Development of incentives anticipated to encourage voluntary
industry-wide use of EOBRs.
With respect to the first element, the Safety Board is generally
satisfied with the direction proposed by the FMCSA except in the area
of crash protection. Performance standards offer flexibility in the
face of rapid technological advances; thereby requiring minimal-to-no
changes to pertinent regulations. The NPRM makes several proposals
designed to ensure the security and validity of EOBR data, but it fails
to address EOBR damage resistance and data survivability. Naturally,
the survival of the data is important, not only for regulatory
compliance, but also to assist accident investigators to determine the
influence of fatigue on the driver and the cause of the accident.
Therefore, in its comments on FMCSA's NPRM, the Safety Board asked
FMCSA to add performance standard factors that consider these issues.
Concerning the second element, the Safety Board is disappointed
that the NPRM did not propose to mandate the use of EOBRs by all
operators subject to the hours-of-service regulations. The proposed
rules only require EOBRs for carriers who are identified through the
compliance review process as pattern violators of the hours-of-service
regulations. Identifying such carriers seems problematic.
For a carrier to be identified as such, the FMCSA must perform at
least two compliance reviews on that carrier within a 2-year span. In
2005, the FMCSA was only able to perform a total of 8,097 compliance
reviews on a population of approximately 911,000 active and registered
carriers, meaning that less than 1 percent of all carriers were
assessed for safety and fitness. Although the FMCSA uses a computerized
rating methodology (SafeStat) to target potentially unsafe carriers for
compliance reviews, flaws in the compliance review system guarantee
that many unsafe carriers continue to evade even initial identification
as an hours-of-service violator. The Safety Board has documented
several instances in which carriers have received favorable compliance
review ratings despite long and consistent histories of driver-and
vehicle-related violations. For example, this was the case for the
operator and vehicle involved in the recent investigation of the
motorcoach fire that fatally injured 23 people near Dallas, Texas.
In light of the proven deficiencies in the FMCSA motor carrier
compliance program, this program should not be the triggering mechanism
to initiate a requirement for EOBRs. The Safety Board does not believe
that the FMCSA has the resources or processes necessary to identify and
discipline all carriers and drivers who are pattern violators of the
Consequently, a program to impose EOBRs on pattern violators that
relies on the compliance program to identify such carriers seems
unlikely to succeed. In addition, pattern violators of hours-of-service
regulations are the carriers least likely to choose to install and use
EOBRs voluntarily. The Safety Board is therefore convinced that the
only effective way in which EOBRs can help stem hours-of-service
violations, which the Board has linked to numerous fatigue-related
accidents, is to mandate EOBR installation and use by all operators
subject to hours-of-service regulations.
Additionally, the Safety Board is concerned that the NPRM proposes
using EOBRs as a form of remediation or punishment, when the technology
has significant potential for increasing the safety of all motorists.
According to the NPRM, ``. . . motor carriers that have demonstrated a
history of serious noncompliance with the hours-of-service (HOS) rules
would be subject to mandatory installation of EOBRs meeting the new
performance standards.'' The Safety Board believes that encouraging
motor carriers to perceive EOBRs primarily as a means of punishment
would undermine the goal of achieving voluntary industry-wide
acceptance. In fact, progressive motor carriers are using EOBRs as an
effective tool in shipment tracking, equipment maintenance, and
operator scheduling. In addition, EOBRs provide a more efficient and
reliable way for enforcement agencies to monitor hours-of-service
compliance. Finally, the Europeans have required the use of digital
tachographs for some time.
With respect to the NPRM's third element, the proposed rulemaking
outlines several incentives that the FMCSA hopes will promote the
voluntary installation and use of EOBRs. Among these incentives are new
compliance review procedures and exemptions for certain supporting
documentation requirements. The Safety Board is in favor of any
incentive that fosters use of EOBRs without undermining safety;
however, the Board is skeptical whether the incentives currently
proposed would be strong enough to override the financial motivation
some carriers and drivers have for continuing to circumvent the HOS
regulations and not use EOBRs. Moreover, for those motor carriers
considering the installation of EOBRs, the burden of being subject to
additional regulatory requirements might cause them to choose not to
equip their vehicles with the technology voluntarily.
In summary, the Safety Board is convinced that the regulations
proposed in the NPRM:
will not result in the timely and effective adoption of EOBR
technology by all motor carriers,
may serve to depict EOBRs as a punitive device rather than
as one that promotes safety, and
will ultimately fail to reduce the number of carriers and
drivers who exceed Federal hours-of-service limits.
Accordingly, the Safety Board urges the FMCSA to revise the NPRM to
require that all motor carriers, subject to the HOS regulations, to
install and use EOBRs.
The trucking industry in the United States has already installed
hundreds of thousands of devices capable of recording hours-of-service
information. We believe it is past time to act and that the use of
EOBRs should be mandatory throughout the industry, as are similar
devices required in most of Europe.
Fatigue-related accidents continue to plague our nation's highways
and because fatigue is difficult to quantify by investigating agencies,
it is likely the most underreported underlying causal factor in highway
accident investigation. Electronic On-Board Recorders hold the
potential to efficiently provide the proper incentives for compliance
with hours-of-service rules and ultimately make our highways safer for
I would be delighted to respond to any questions you may have.
Senator Lautenberg. Thank you very much.
Now, Captain John Harrison, President of the Commercial
Vehicle Safety Alliance.
Captain Harrison, welcome.
STATEMENT OF CAPTAIN JOHN E. HARRISON, PRESIDENT, COMMERCIAL
VEHICLE SAFETY ALLIANCE
Mr. Harrison. Good afternoon, Chairman Lautenberg, Ranking
Member and Senator Smith.
I am John Harrison, President of the Commercial Vehicle
Safety Alliance, and Captain with the Georgia Department of
CVSA is an international not-for-profit organization
comprised of local, state, provincial, territorial, and Federal
motor carrier safety officials and industry representatives
from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Our mission is to
promote commercial motor vehicle safety and security by
providing leadership in enforcement, industry, and
Our goal is uniformity, compatibility, and reciprocity of
commercial vehicle inspections and enforcement activities
throughout North America.
Chairman Lautenberg, thank you for calling this important
hearing and inviting me to testify on issues relating to
electronic on-board recorders and truck driver fatigue
In my testimony today, I will discuss the existing problems
relating to hours-of-service, how EOBR technology can help
provide--or help solve these problems, and our recommendations
and qualifications on implementing EOBRs.
In our written statement, we have provided more detailed
comments and recommendations on the current FMCA rulemaking.
Even though I am a captain and have a number of employees under
my command, I maintain CVSA certification to conduct North
American standards inspections.
Since 2000, the regulations regarding commercial driver
hours-of-service have been through a series of formal actions
by the FMCSA, as well as being challenged by outside groups and
in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. In the meantime,
compliance with hours-of-service continues to be a significant
problem encountered by law enforcement, both at roadside and in
the motor carrier's place of business.
In 2006, hours-of-service violations were represented in 7
of the top 20 driver violations discovered during roadside
inspections representing 34.2 percent of the total. Further, of
the top 20 driver out-of-service violations at roadside, 78.8
percent were for hours-of-service. During compliance reviews, 5
of the top 12 critical violations cited were hours-of-service
related, representing 34.6 percent of the total.
The results from the 2006 Large Truck Crash Causation Study
indicated that fatigue was reported as an associated factor in
13 percent of all large truck crashes.
We believe EOBRs hold great promise for helping improve
compliance with hours-of-service regulations and providing a
positive impact on safety in crashes related to driver fatigue.
We also believe that widescale--with emphasis on
``widescale''--adoption of EOBRs will help curb the challenges
with the limited resources available at State and Federal
levels for overseeing the motor carrier industry.
Unfortunately, drivers operating in excess of hours-of-service
limits and falsified driver logs continue to represent a
significant risk to safety. However, it is important to realize
that technology has limitations. In the end, driver behavior
and changing the safety culture are determining factors in
enhancing compliance and reducing crashes.
EOBR technology is proven. More than 50 countries have
mandated electronic data recorders for driving and standby-time
recording and/or speed and distance recording. Our
recommendations are as follows:
FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration should work to make EOBR standard equipment with
an implementation time-frame on the order of 3 to 5 years.
After market retrofit, installations should only be
permitted if they meet OEM equipment standards.
Existing devices should be grandfathered into this new
requirement only if they're able to meet the new OEM standards.
Those drivers operating existing vehicles, those built
prior to the new OEM requirement, or using noncompliant EOBRs,
would be required to retrofit their vehicles within 3 years to
meet the OEM standard. The paper-based logging system would no
longer be permitted.
FMCSA and NHTSA should create a rigorous certification
program for EOBRs administered by a third party, similar to how
speed-measuring instruments and breath alcohol testing devices
are approved and certified.
Until such time the OEM standard is effected, FMCSA should
conduct several field operational tests of different EOBRs and
include a wide range of carrier operational types. In our view,
moving forward with EOBR implementation means taking the
following issues into consideration: simple and standardized
display of the data for enforcement; positive driver
identification; tamperproof; simple identification and
explanation of errors malfunctions and manual inputs; an audit
trail at roadside; certification and calibration standards;
seamless secure standards based on EOBR data--EOBR data
transfer for analysis by roadside enforcement away from the
truck; evidentiary needs need to be accommodated; redundancy in
the event the system malfunctions; and adequate and
comprehensive training for enforcement; rigorous monitoring and
In summary, we believe that in order to enable significant
changes--significant policy changes to out-of-service
compliance, there needs to be a universal adoption of EOBR
technology. However, it is critically important that the
performance specifications for these devices and oversight for
producing and using them is done in a such a manner that
enables them to be user-friendly for law enforcement, and that
there is credibility and confidence in the accuracy of the
Moving forward with a mandatory requirement will help
provide certainty and competition in the manufacturing
community, and help keep costs down for the motor carrier.
Thank you very much for inviting me to testify here, and
I'll be glad to take any questions that you might have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Harrison follows:]
Prepared Statement of Captain John E. Harrison, President,
Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance
Good afternoon Chairman Lautenberg, Ranking Member, Senator Smith,
and members of the Subcommittee. I am John Harrison, President of the
Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) and Captain with the Georgia
Department of Public Safety.
CVSA is an international not-for-profit organization comprised of
local, state, provincial, territorial and Federal motor carrier safety
officials and industry representatives from the United States, Canada,
and Mexico. Our mission is to promote commercial motor vehicle safety
and security by providing leadership to enforcement, industry and
policymakers. Our goal is uniformity, compatibility and reciprocity of
commercial vehicle inspections and enforcement activities throughout
Chairman Lautenberg, thank you for calling this important hearing
and inviting me to testify on issues relating to Electronic On-Board
Recorders (EOBRs) and truck driver fatigue reduction.
In my testimony today I will discuss the existing problems relating
to hours-of-service and driver log violations, how EOBR technology can
help solve these problems, and our recommendations and qualifications
on implementing EOBRs. Finally, I will comment on the current FMCSA
EOBR proposed rulemaking and what we view as its shortcomings in
addressing hours-of-service compliance and enforcement and the related
problem of driver fatigue.
Even though I am a Captain and have a number of employees under my
command, I maintain my CVSA Certification to conduct North American
Standard Roadside Inspections. I work out in the field with the troops
on a daily basis. From my perspective, if I am to be effective and have
credibility within the ranks, this is something I need to do.
Since 2000, the regulations regarding commercial driver hours-of-
service (HOS) have been through a series of formal actions by the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), as well as being
challenged on the outside by various groups and the D.C. United States
Circuit Court of Appeals. Countless hours have been devoted to this
subject, both internal to the agency and by the public. In the
meantime, compliance with the hours-of-service regulations continues to
be a significant problem encountered by law enforcement, both at
roadside and in the motor carrier's place of business. The problem is
In the 2006 calendar year, hours-of-service violations were
represented in 7 of the ``Top 20'' driver violations discovered during
roadside inspections. These Top 20 driver violations in the aggregate
numbered 2,232,834--Hours-of-Service violations comprised 763,186 of
this total, or 34.2 percent. Delving further into the Top 20, Out of
Service (OOS) violations related to Hours-of-Service totaled 179,778 of
the 228,211 total driver OOS violations, or 78.8 percent. At the motor
carrier's place of business during the conduct of Compliance Reviews, 5
of the ``Top 12'' Critical violations cited were Hours-of-Service
related. These Top 12 violations in the aggregate numbered 6,676--
Hours-of-Service violations numbered 2,309 of this total, or 34.6
There are numerous studies regarding commercial driver fatigue and
each of them report different numbers related to driver fatigue and its
contribution to large truck involved crashes. The results from the 2006
Large Truck Crash Causation Study indicated that fatigue was reported
as an associated factor in 13 percent of all large truck crashes. This
is a significant number.
It is clear we have a compliance and a safety problem. How can we
We believe the implementation of Electronic On-Board Recorders
(EOBRs) for compliance with HOS regulations holds great promise for
helping improve compliance with HOS regulations and ultimately
providing a positive impact on safety and reducing crashes related to
driver fatigue and other work-related injuries. We also believe that
the wide-scale adoption of EOBRs will also help to curb the challenges
that currently exist with the limited resources available at the state
and Federal levels for overseeing the motor carrier industry. With
nearly 50,000 new motor carriers entering the business each year in the
United States, the implementation of proven safety technologies serves
to assist the law enforcement community in focusing its attention on
high-risk drivers, vehicles and motor carriers.
EOBR technology is proven. More than 50 countries have mandated
Electronic Data Recorders for driving and standby time recording and/or
speed and distance recording. As an example, more than 5.5 Million
Tachograph systems are being used in commercial vehicles and buses to
improve road safety in the whole of Western and Eastern Europe. In
Germany, for example, since the mid-1970s when the Tachograph was
mandated until 2000, they experienced approximately a 167 percent
improvement in the number of commercial vehicle miles traveled without
personal injury (see figure below).
We believe that in order to meet the intent of the 3 objectives
FMCSA laid out in its recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for
EOBRs, these devices must be made mandatory for all commercial
FMCSA should work with the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) to make these devices standard OEM equipment.
Aftermarket/retrofit installations should only be permitted if they
meet the OEM equipment standards. In order to assist the manufacturing
community and to help minimize the cost impacts to the industry, we
would suggest that the requirement would be put in place at a point in
the future, somewhere on the order to 3-5 years after the final rule is
published. We believe existing devices should be grandfathered into
this new requirement only if they are able to meet the new OEM standard
specifications. We also believe the existing Automatic On-Board
Recording Device (AOBRD) regulations in 49 CFR 395.15 should be
sunsetted. Those drivers operating existing vehicles (those built prior
to the new OEM requirement) or using EOBR devices not compliant with
the new standard would be required to retrofit their vehicles within 3
years to meet the OEM equipment standards. The paper-based logging
system would no longer be permitted.
In the interim, we would suggest that FMCSA conduct several field
operational tests of different device types (to include those not
integrally synchronized with the vehicle) to understand what the
optimum performance requirements should be, as well as to more fully
evaluate their impact on safety. One option for this test could be to
use the motor carrier population the Agency has suggested in its NPRM
that would be subject to a remedial directive and be required to have
the EOBRs installed--those carriers FMCSA has determined, based on HOS
records reviewed during each of two compliance reviews conducted within
a 2-year period, that the motor carrier has a 10 percent or greater
violation rate (``pattern violation'') for any regulation in proposed
Appendix C to Part 385. Theoretically, once EOBRs are installed on the
habitual offenders' vehicles, they should realize a significant
improvement in safety, both in HOS compliance and in fatigue-related
crashes. Another option to consider for the test phase, which is our
preferred option, is to tie EOBR application (for the test phase) to
SafeStat and ISS scores. This approach would broaden the pool of test
candidates and will likely also serve as a more representative sampling
of the industry. We believe that by taking into account both SafeStat
and ISS scores, carriers with demonstrated performance problems, as
well as those with no history can be part of the pool to be evaluated.
If the test is properly carried out and administered, it should
effectively demonstrate how to positively impact HOS compliance for
carriers on both ends of the scale--those who are uninformed about the
hours-of-service regulations and those who are habitual violators.
EOBRs must use standardized data formats and have a standardized
interface for law enforcement so that training, compliance evaluation
and monitoring is effective and simplified.
We also recommend that FMCSA (and NHTSA) create a more rigorous
certification program for EOBRs that is administered by a 3rd party,
and to also create an advisory board that would serve to create and
maintain an approved EOBR list. This advisory group could operate
similarly to those groups who are involved with speed measuring
instruments and breath alcohol testing devices. Wherever possible, EOBR
design and performance specifications should use accepted industry
standards that are verifiable and certifiable.
It is our belief that moving forward with a mandatory requirement
will help on all fronts. It will provide some certainty and competition
in the manufacturing community and likely result in more ``hardened''
and user-friendly systems, help keep costs down for the motor carrier
industry through economies of scale, and will assist the enforcement
community since there will be stringent and uniform standards. It also
will provide adequate lead time for both industry and enforcement to
ramp up their operations and provide for training, as well as budget
planning for the procurement of these devices and the development of
back office systems to accept and manage the data output.
The FMCSA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
In its recent NPRM regarding Electronic On-Board Recording devices
for Hours-of-Service, FMCSA indicated the intent of the NPRM was to:
1. Improve CMV safety;
2. Increase use of EOBRs within the motor carrier industry; and
3. Improve HOS compliance.
They further indicated that their approach had three components:
1. A new performance-oriented standard for EOBR technology;
2. Use of EOBRs to remediate regulatory noncompliance; and
3. Incentives to promote EOBR use.
While CVSA certainly supports the 3 objectives embodied in the
intent of the NPRM, we believe the approach FMCSA has taken will not
measurably impact on them. The universe of motor carriers required to
install EOBRs as a part of the proposal is a small fraction of the
motor carrier population as a whole. Additionally, we also believe that
their voluntary adoption, even with the incentives offered by FMCSA,
will not occur in large numbers.
Given the fact that hours-of-service (HOS) compliance continues to
be a major problem area for many motor carriers, and large truck
crashes related to fatigue are significant, we firmly believe that in
order to have a substantial impact on safety and HOS compliance EOBRs
must be universally used in the motor carrier industry. We believe that
habitual HOS offenders need stronger enforcement in addition to
requiring the installation of EOBRs. HOS non-compliance is indicative
of a systemic management problem within the motor carrier's operation,
and the mere installation of EOBRs will not serve to correct this
problem. The resources expended by government to monitor the motor
carriers subject to mandatory EOBR use will be substantial and in our
view, the benefits will not outweigh the costs.
Level Playing Field
In our view the NPRM will do little to help deploy EOBRs in large
quantities. Most carriers already using these systems are doing them
primarily to help better manage their drivers and not necessarily for
HOS compliance. HOS compliance [to many of them] is a secondary benefit
of these devices. We do not believe this thinking will change much with
the implementation of the NPRM. Most carriers will view this as a cost
item (and a legal liability) that will put them at a competitive
disadvantage with their peers, therefore making them reluctant to
voluntarily invest in these devices. The EOBR vendors will not put much
capital outlay into the development and deployment of these systems
since there is not a clear market for them. Additionally, given the
minimal number of devices that will likely penetrate the market, the
benefit of economies of scale will not be realized, therefore not
putting much pricing pressure or competition in the marketplace. This
will likely result in most of the devices not being an attractive
purchasing option for many small to medium sized fleets, or for those
fleets operating on thin margins. Ultimately, in our view the NPRM will
not enable a level playing field for the motor carrier industry as a
whole, which will cause most fleets to opt not to purchase an EOBR.
As FMCSA indicates in its NPRM, technology has come a long way in
recent years and is capable of performing many more functions than what
would be needed to monitor and manage HOS compliance. We believe the
optimal approach related to EOBRs is to limit their performance
requirements to just those necessary for HOS compliance. This will help
to keep costs down, and also help to ensure that the display,
evaluation and back office system functionality needed for enforcement
to monitor and evaluate compliance will be made easier and help to
minimize the liability exposure to the industry.
We believe FMCSA needs to put more explicit focus and emphasis on
standardizing the performance specifications regarding tamperproof
requirements, information gathering and display, editing and error
recording and reporting, and as well as communication accuracy,
timeliness and redundancy. We are appreciative of the fact that FMCSA
included GPS as a performance requirement in the NPRM, as this will
provide some measure of assistance in accuracy and redundancy. We also
appreciate requiring parallel data streams and making sure that the
original data is kept intact, as this should help law enforcement when
reviewing records and during the driver interview process. However, we
still strongly believe there must be a tamperproof requirement.
A related issue is one of FMCSA's identified seven performance
requirements in the NPRM--identification of the driver and ensuring the
EOBR is able to attach the driver to his/her appropriate hours-of-
service. In our view this issue is critical and fundamental to helping
minimize falsification and errors/inaccuracies. Although we support
providing flexibility to motor carriers and technology providers on
this point, we strongly believe that FMCSA needs to specify a minimum
performance requirement, to include outlining standardized and explicit
test procedures and expectations. This would be part of the EOBR
certification program (see Recommendation section). The EOBR must be
able to correctly identify the driver/employee in all duty status
stages of his/her hours-of-service and be able to accurately tie the
employee to the vehicle, cargo and motor carrier at all times. This is
especially important for leased drivers and owner/operators.
The NPRM discusses the notion of permitting EOBR devices that are
not integrally synchronized with the vehicle. While we fully understand
that cell phone and other like-technologies are available that use
hours-of-service applications, at this point in time we are not
supportive of permitting them to be used as EOBRs. We are not convinced
that these technologies will effectively minimize the opportunity for
falsification and drivers taking ghost runs. However, we do believe
that these types of devices are in need of further study to understand
how in the future they may be used in this capacity. We are sensitive
to the fact that cell phone and like-technologies are pervasive in the
industry and tend to be on the lower cost end of EOBR devices. We do
not want to dismiss out of hand the fact that once they (and the
performance specifications) are more fully outlined and understood they
possibly could be used as an EOBR.
As for the recording interval, we are supportive of 1 minute
increments. We also support the 1 percent location
accuracy. We believe that EOBRs must use standardized data formats and
communications protocols. We also firmly believe there must be a
standardized display using the graph-grid format, and that non-
compliance must be easily identified.
In our view, FMCSA may not want to explicitly identify the
different types of communications technologies that are able to be used
in the application of EOBRs, since they are so rapidly changing and
evolving. The more important aspects related to the data in our view
are the security aspects as well as the content and timeliness of the
information availability, and not necessarily the method of
The NPRM upon implementation will likely make it difficult for
enforcement officers. The problem with EOBRs today is that there is no
standardization in terms of how the information is made available for
officers to evaluate compliance, how errors and modifications to
records are recorded and reported, nor is there a rigorous
certification program to ensure they are operating correctly. The
combination of grandfathering existing devices, providing the 2 year
window for voluntary adoption of non-complaint 395.16 devices, and the
likely limited penetration of EOBRs will continue to create
difficulties for enforcement with understanding and accurately
evaluating the operation of all the different device types. We also
believe that the option of using devices not integrally synchronized
with the vehicle presents its own set of challenges for enforcement
that are not yet fully understood. We also strongly believe that EOBRs
must be made tamperproof. Although the NPRM does make an attempt to
correct some of these concerns in the performance specifications, we do
not believe it goes far enough to minimize tampering or to make sure
that officers will feel comfortable with using the devices.
Law enforcement needs the capability to be able to print HOS
records at roadside to more effectively review HOS compliance and
collect evidence. Although we support having EOBRs providing the
functionality to print out the HOS records, we think a more prudent and
cost effective approach is to equip certified inspectors/officers with
the appropriate technologies and printing device to be able to do this
themselves. This will help those officers who do not currently use
laptop or hand held computers (or the software to read the EOBR data
file). Ultimately, this approach will also serve to assist in having
more roadside inspections completed (and uploaded) electronically,
since many inspectors are still completing inspections on paper.
As for access to the HOS data, we agree with FMCSA that EOBRs must
not require the officer to have to enter the cab of the vehicle. If
electronic files are going to be made available for download, they must
adhere to common, uniform and strict standards. In addition, the
officers must be able to read the data on their (for those who have
them) laptops or hand held computers. However, we do have concerns with
the possibility of these files introducing a virus or otherwise
damaging the operating system or software.
We believe that in order to enable significant positive changes to
hours-of-service compliance there needs to be universal adoption of
EOBR technology. However, it is critically important that the
performance specifications for these devices, and the oversight of
those producing and using them is done in such a manner that enables
them to be user-friendly for law enforcement and that there is
credibility and confidence in the accuracy of the data.
Hours-of-service continues to be a challenging area for many motor
carriers to make significant strides in improving compliance. There
must be a multi-faceted approach in terms of finding solutions, and the
status quo is just not acceptable. We believe that the implementation
of EOBRs is one of the important elements of such an approach.
Thank you very much for inviting us to be here today, and I am
happy to take any questions you may have.
Senator Lautenberg. Thank each one of you for your
Mr. Rosenker, the USDOT's Large Truck Crash Causation Study
in 2006, estimates that only 13 percent of American truck
crashes involve fatigue, but yet, your agency has put the
figure at 30 to 40 percent. Now, is DOT underestimating the
problem of truck driver fatigue?
Mr. Rosenker. Sir, our study that we did in 1990 on large
truck crashes dealt with fatal accidents. We found that
approximately one-third dealt with, in some shape or form,
fatigue. But that didn't necessarily mean it was fatigue only.
So, the data that, in fact, we are seeing now, clearly later
data, is data which is quite valid.
Senator Lautenberg. How difficult is it to find out whether
driver fatigue is a factor in truck crashes? Does it have to be
an extrapolation of other data in order to even make an
assumption like that?
Mr. Rosenker. It does. And what we've found, in a series of
3 million inspections, 7 percent of the drivers that they took
a look at in the 3 million inspections were put off the road
for human-factor issues, the vast majority of which dealt with
fatigue. So, we found that to be a very large factor when they
were put out-of-service.
Senator Lautenberg. Mr. Hill, what do you think about that?
Mr. Hill. Mr. Chairman----
Senator Lautenberg. Do you agree with Mr. Rosenker?
Mr. Hill. Well, I would agree with several points that he
made. I would just like to clarify on the data problem that we
have in quantifying exactly the related cause of crashes.
As you know, most of the crashes were done by local and
state enforcement officers, and the crash reports indicate a
variety of things. Fatigue is one of the things that's
indicated on a crash report, as well as driver inattention. And
so, what we look at is the FARS data, the fatality accident
reduction--the accident reporting system, FARS, has a typical
under-reporting problem with fatigue. We know that. Therefore,
we're taking into consideration later data. When you mention
the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, this study took nearly
1,000 crashes, and it had specialized people who went to the
scene of the crash, interviewed all the drivers involved, and
they knew how to find this fatigue-related matter. That is why
the number is so much higher than what the common reporting
numbers in FARS indicate, which is somewhere around 2 percent
of all fatal crashes. So, we think that the number is much
higher, and that's why our Large Truck Crash Causation Study
indicates the number of 13 percent.
Senator Lautenberg. Did it take a long time for your agency
to step up to the reinforcement requirements, the law
enforcement requirements that were expected to be there in
these years past, and yet very little has really happened?
Mr. Hill. In terms of the enforcement of the hours-of-
service rules, sir?
Senator Lautenberg. Yes.
Mr. Hill. As Captain Harrison indicated, there has been
significant litigation, and every time we have a disruption in
that rulemaking process, the enforcement suffers from that.
They are uncertain about what the current rule is. At any given
time, when there are changes to the rule, we have to go out and
train them on the changes that need to be enacted. There has
been some disruption since 2003, when we implemented the rule.
Since that time, we are moving forward with our current
enforcement program. As Chairman Rosenker indicated we are
seeing out-of-service rates comparable to what they were before
the rule was imposed. So, we do have a consistency in the
enforcement regime at this time.
Senator Lautenberg. Captain Harrison, how do you see it, in
terms of the estimates on fatigue and the causation that it
Mr. Harrison. Well, we are not statisticians, we're--we'll
enforce whatever the rule is. And it appears, examining the
data that we do have, that it's been pretty consistent, whether
it was under the old rules or the revised rules. You know, the
point I want to make is that the hours-of-service regulations
since January 2004 have been in a constant state of flux, seems
like. And, as far as an enforcement is concerned, we need
stability in those rules so that everybody understands the
rules and we can readily educate the motor carrier population
and enforce the rules. We consistently run upon drivers that
don't understand the rules. And sometimes we come to blows,
almost, with drivers, because they can't understand why they're
being placed out-of-service for exceeding the limits, when they
don't really understand the limits. So, we need consistency on
the rules, to start with.
Senator Lautenberg. How do we get that educational factor
Mr. Harrison. Well, first, we need these hours-of-service
rules--if the FMCSA has done their job, and they have
identified the human factors that affect driver fatigue, and
say that a 24-hour clock is what you need, the circadian
rhythm, and they fashion the rules according to that, we need
them locked in place, and we'll enforce whatever the rules are.
And then we can have a set of data that we can analyze. Right
now, with the flux in the regulations, we haven't been under
the new rules long enough to determine if they are effective,
if they're making a difference.
Senator Lautenberg. It's obviously important for the EOB
recorders on trucks to be tamperproof. Now, that doesn't look
like it's an impossible problem, either technologically or
educationally. Nobody can alter or adjust the information in
black boxes on airplanes or locomotives, right? So, there
shouldn't be a problem with that, certainly, in terms of what
we expect the device to be able to guarantee here.
Mr. Hill, it seems that the Bush administration is taking
an opportunity to use technology to make our highways safer.
Why not require on-board recorders for all new trucks and all
new carriers, at the very least? That's, frankly, how we got
airbags into cars.
Mr. Hill. Mr. Chairman, I would just say to you that we are
currently proposing a rule that would begin down the road of
seeing a greater expansion of the technology in trucks, and
we're open to considering other alternatives. That is why we
are going through this notice of proposed rulemaking. So, I
think that your question--for us, in terms of this particular
rule, we're proposing one that deals with the risk, at the
present time, that we feel is the greatest, and that's why we
have addressed it the way we did. I made mention, in my earlier
statement, that 87 percent of the carriers that would be
involved in this remedial directive, or a requirement to have
an EOBR placed on the vehicle within the first 2 years, 80--
they have an 87 percent higher crash rating than other carriers
not in that group of people. So, we're trying to assess risk,
and put the technology where we can see it start to grow, and
then hopefully create some incentives for other industry
participation, as well.
Senator Lautenberg. Yes, but should we confine the use of
these recorders only to those who seem to be riskier? We ought
to be get it out there and introduce it as a requirement for
new product. I think that's a relatively easy thing to do.
What do you think, Mr. Rosenker?
Mr. Rosenker. We agree with you, Mr. Chairman. We've long
been on the record about this particular technology. We believe
it can do much to begin the process of getting compliance from
those that are, unfortunately, skirting the law, and that it
makes it easy to do when you don't have technology like this to
validate the actual hours-of-service that an operator is
performing. We started with this back in 1977, and,
unfortunately, have not been very successful in getting either
regulatory or voluntary installation.
However, with that said, we've got an NPRM that's now out
there, and I'm hoping that it would perhaps include, as what we
suggested in our response to the NPRM: one, heartier, more
robust standards for crash-worthiness that could be utilized in
the event of an accident; two, it should basically deal with
all carriers, not just selected carriers that have appeared in
one shape or form that violated the rules; and, finally, the
NPRM asks for voluntary compliance, and if you're asking for
voluntary compliance from everyone, those that, in fact, are
the most egregious of violators won't be incentivized to
install this device.
Senator Lautenberg. I agree.
Last summer, a large truck crashed into two cars on the New
Jersey Turnpike, killing four people. The truck driver was
cited for careless driving. When your agency looked at the
records of this driver--after the fact--the investigators found
previous violations of the hours-of-service laws, falsifying
records of compliance, and no drug or alcohol testing plan in
Now, obviously, wouldn't the electronic on-board recorder
be an aid to your inspectors, and state inspectors, to find
violators before, not after, a crash? The thing we were
discussing, Mr. Hill, about looking at the riskiest places--the
riskiest individuals also to be part of that.
Want do you think, Mr. Rosenker?
Mr. Rosenker. Again, we believe technology has a tremendous
place in this issue of compliance. With the new devices are
data and digital data-driven, we believe that they are
extremely difficult, if not nearly impossible, to in any way
influence on change. So for us, when it comes to accident
investigation, the kinds of equipment that we see right now
would be extremely helpful. We believe we can significantly
reduce the number of accidents, injuries and, ultimately,
fatalities by getting compliance ahead of time so that the
fatigue issue isn't a factor when we're talking about highway
Senator Lautenberg. But I'm not sure that we came to the
conclusion that relates to the records of drivers, those who
have had past difficulties, falsifying records. Could we use
the data gathered here to determine that and make sure that
these people had a particular condition that we had to watch
Mr. Rosenker. I'm not sure if this type of device, the way
it is built at this moment, would be a device that would
provide that type of information to the roadside inspector.
Senator Lautenberg. Yes.
Mr. Rosenker.--an entire record. I don't know if that could
Senator Lautenberg. No, but I assume that there is a place
where records are kept of a driver's performance, especially in
serious accidents. Shouldn't that be a database that we tap
routinely for people who are going to get behind the wheel of a
giant truck and get out there on----
Mr. Rosenker. I would agree. And we have that on our Most
Wanted List. I happen to have brought an example of our Most
Wanted List with me.
Senator Lautenberg. OK.
Mr. Rosenker. Two areas that, in fact, we've worked on with
the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the area of
preventing medically unqualified drivers from operating
commercial vehicles, and also improving the carrier operations.
We've asked that to be done by preventing motor carriers from
operating if they put vehicles with mechanical problems on the
road or unqualified drivers behind the wheel, which would be
those that are in egregious violation of the rules and
regulations of the State and Federal law.
Senator Lautenberg. Thanks. I have more questions, but my
colleague Senator Smith has been most patient.
Senator take as much----
Senator Smith. OK.
Senator Lautenberg.--time as you need.
Senator Smith. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Administrator Hill, I understand that under the rule
proposed by your agency earlier in the year, only carriers that
have a identified history of noncompliance with hours-of-
service regulations are the ones that will then get these
electronic on-board recorders. Is that correct?
Mr. Hill. That is the proposal at this time. Of course,
there are also incentives for people to put it onto their
carriers into their fleet voluntarily, but we did require EOBRs
as you suggested, for the noncompliant ones, yes.
Senator Smith. I'm interested in how you arrive at the
designation of a noncompliant person. As I listened to Mr.
Rosenker, it seems to me he's saying that the sampling may be
awfully small. In 2005, your agency performed only 8,000,
roughly, compliance reviews, and there are nearly over 900,000
active and registered carriers, meaning 1 percent is the
sample. If you're going to take your approach, providing EOBRs
on all trucks, is that a sufficient sample?
Mr. Hill. Well, it--as I said, earlier to the Chairman in
response to his question, we are starting with a proposed rule,
and I think we have to consider that this is a baseline, and we
need to consider other options. I'm hearing that very clearly
today. I do believe that it's very small sample, and it's going
to be difficult, but I will say that it's a snapshot in time,
so that this list could grow, it could become larger, because
of more roadside inspections finding noncompliance, and we
could also foresee a time when we might use other indicators.
And one of the things that using EOBRs does do, as the Chairman
was alluding to in his last questioning with the Chairman, is
that it allows us to go in and readily look for patterns of
violations. So, where we put this into carriers, we'll be able
to quickly survey and do an assessment of the driver records at
that carrier's place of business much more quickly, because it
will be automated, as opposed to the safety investigator going
through and doing a laborious sampling of certain logbooks. So,
I think it's a----
Senator Smith. Doesn't it take you----
Mr. Hill.--in the long run----
Senator Smith. It takes 2 years to determine if somebody
has a noncompliance history?
Mr. Hill. Well, in terms of the proposal, that's what has
Senator Smith. And do you have the resources to increase
the surveillance, the designations?
Mr. Hill. Well, as you indicate, as you framed the last
question--we do have a large population here, and we have
finite resources. I think last year we did 15,000 compliance
reviews between us and the State enforcement groups. They're
doing 3 million roadside inspections. That's still a very small
part of the overall picture. So, we do have limited resources,
and that's why we, as an agency, and our State partners, focus
on risk, looking at the most severe violations to try to
address that problem. And that's the consistent theme here that
we've been trying to apply in this rule. And I would just,
again, reiterate that it is a notice of proposed rulemaking,
with the opportunity to make changes.
Senator Smith. I would imagine that the truckers don't like
this. You know, this is Big Brother watching over them. I can
imagine that they just don't like the regulation. Can you give
me some flavor of the opposition to this?
Mr. Hill. Sure. We're hearing privacy issues. In some
cases, I think there is confusion on the part of the person
making that claim, because we're not going to require anything
under this proposed rule or this final rule of--as it comes
out, that isn't already on a logbook.
But it's the idea that the monitoring system will allow the
carrier to know where the vehicle is going when they are not
doing work for the carrier----
Senator Smith. So, is it the driver or the trucking
company? Sometimes they're the same, I understand--but where is
most of the pushback coming from, the drivers or the motor
Mr. Hill. I believe you have both. I think, from the
carrier perspective, there's a cost factor, and they want to
make sure that if you do have it, that they're not playing on
an uneven playing field with their competition. And then, I
think you have other drivers who are concerned, because they're
not fully aware of the EOBR technology, about privacy concerns.
Senator Smith. So, the companies would prefer that, going
forward, it be in every vehicle, I assume, as part of the cost
of the vehicle, if you're going to have it at all, or would
they prefer just in the basis of where you designate who has a
Mr. Hill. Well, the industry's going to be here on panel
two, and I'm sure they'll be ready to tell you how they feel
about it. But I----
Senator Smith. Well, I can imagine how they feel about it.
I'm not saying where I am on this position. But I'm anxious to
hear your perspective on your challenge in crafting this
regulation, why you're proposing to do it this way.
Mr. Hill. Our problem, Senator Smith, is we're required,
under the Administrative Procedures Act, to figure costs and
benefits, and it's going to be difficult to put a rule forward
that allows us to show some kind of benefit with an industry-
Senator Smith. OK.
Mr. Hill. And so, we're trying to work within that. To the
extent that we can do this with a limited population, we can
show a safety benefit. That is one of the options.
The alternative to that, of course, is that, as you deploy
this more widespread you'll see prices come down with the----
Senator Smith. Right.
Mr. Hill.--the technology. And somewhere in there, I'd like
to see somebody suggest more incentives to encourage carriers
to put this on their vehicles.
Senator Smith. Well, thank you.
Mr. Rosenker, I understand that you've looked at what the
Europeans are doing and their digital recorders for some time
now, do they have it on all trucks? Is that correct?
Mr. Rosenker. That is a requirement, yes, sir.
Senator Smith. And has the incidence of fatigue-related
crashes in Europe decreased since the installation of the
recorders? Was there any data----
Mr. Rosenker. We believe they have. And we believe we'd see
that same type of improvement here in the United States if, in
fact, we required all of the motor carriers to use them. I have
to feel some sympathy for the Administrator, but I believe if
we made it a requirement across the board, there would be a
level playing field where everyone could participate. The costs
of these devices would come down significantly. And you would
also begin to see much better compliance.
As matter of fact, I believe what you would find is that
this would help the Administrator and the local authorities in
compliance, because, in fact, if everyone has them then they
all run the same risk of being stopped and their devices being
looked at for valid hours-of-service.
Senator Smith. Do you know of any evidence that suggests
the carriers with the EOBRs have fewer fatigue-related crashes?
Mr. Rosenker. I have not seen the specific data that deals
with that. There are not a whole lot of carriers out there that
have it. Many of your larger carriers are using them, but
they're using them as a total system, because with many of the
more advanced devices that you get do significantly more than
just monitor the hours-of-service. They will deal in load
management, fuel management, trip management, cost-accounting
devices. Now, those are more expensive devices, but I believe
you're going to hear from industry that will follow us in the
next panel, that will talk about the significant benefits they
have in not only using the actual recorder for hours-of-service
monitoring, but for other broader applications as well.
Senator Smith. Administrator Hill, I wonder if there are
any carrier companies that have them installed now, because
they want all the information that Mr. Rosenker identified--
accounting and control of their traffic and all of these
Mr. Hill. Yes, Senator, that is a very legitimate point to
this whole process. It helps with the overall operational
efficiency of their carrier operation.
I would just say to you in response to what you asked
earlier, we are presently working with carriers who have
deployed EOBR equipment, and we are looking at their crash
rates. And I--it's a little premature, the study is finished,
but we're going through a peer-review, so it's preliminary for
me to actually tell you the results of it, but I will say the
findings do look encouraging, in response to your question
about the safety benefit for people who have deployed it.
Senator Smith. I wonder--with all the information-gathering
that could come from this, I wonder if one of the pushbacks, in
addition to loss of privacy on the part of the driver, would be
the fear on the part of the company for litigation and what
would be discovered, in terms of information. Are you hearing
Mr. Hill. Yes, sir, that is a concern. And there is a
desire in some part of the motor carrier industry to have that
bulletproof so that there would not be this opportunity to just
routinely take that information and use it in tort situations.
Senator Smith. Thank you. Been helpful.
Senator Lautenberg. Thanks very much.
Senator Pryor, welcome.
STATEMENT OF HON. MARK PRYOR,
U.S. SENATOR FROM ARKANSAS
Senator Pryor. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me ask, if I may, Administrator Hill, just a quick
hypothetical so I make sure I understand the program we're
talking about. Let's say you have a trucking company that has
100 trucks, and one driver has an hours-of-service violation.
Would this require all 100 to add this? Tell me how this is
going to work.
Mr. Hill. Senator Pryor, the current proposal is that when
we go in to do compliance review, we do a sampling of the
hours-of-service compliance, so we would take a percentage of
the drivers, so, in your particular scenario, it would have to
be a very small carrier for one driver to be affected. If you
have 100 drivers----
Senator Pryor. Do you know----
Mr. Hill.--it would not affect the----
Senator Pryor.--what you--what percentage----
Mr. Hill.--entire carrier.
Senator Pryor.--what percentage are you looking for?
What's your threshold?
Mr. Hill. Ten percent violation rate, sir.
Senator Pryor. OK. Let me ask this. I know that there are
companies that are using this. And you all talked about that
just a minute ago. What's your sense of how many trucks, or
what percentage of trucks, on the road in the U.S. are using
Mr. Hill. We anticipated that question, sir, and we've been
trying diligently to put our hands around it. There was a
article in last year's Commercial Carrier Journal that
suggested 100,000 vehicles had this kind of equipment. We have
seen more recent data, from some of the trade publications,
that indicates that there might be vehicles equipped with
technology that is not presently measuring hours-of-service,
but has the capability of doing so, on the order of 400,000-
450,000. So, there is a lot of--as the chairman just
indicated--there's a lot of interest in this already with
managing your operation, but not using it for the hours-of-
Senator Pryor. And so, whatever the number is--100,000,
400,000--how many of these large trucks are out on the road?
Mr. Hill. Well, we are aware of about 8 million being
registered, so--now, that includes anything over 10,000 pounds.
So, a lot of trucks, a lot of vehicles that would impacted.
Senator Pryor. I'm sorry, I missed the first part of the
hearing, you probably said this, how expensive is the base
unit? I know, as you mentioned, some do a lot of other things,
but how much is a base unit? What's the cost?
Mr. Hill. You didn't miss it. We have, in the Notice Of
Proposed Rulemaking, a range, anywhere from $100 up to $4,100.
And the estimate that we use for this notice of proposed
rulemaking was about $1,200.
Senator Pryor. OK. You guys are working on this Mexican
truck program that we've talked about before. The DOT, you
know, is scheduled to allow Mexican trucks to operate beyond
their current scope of authority and do international pickups
and deliveries outside their current, ``commercial zone.'' What
sort of technology will be required, or is at least being
contemplated, for those trucks participating in the Mexican
truck program? What type of technology are we talking about
Mr. Hill. Well, I can say a couple of things. First of all,
they are required to meet the same standards that U.S. trucks
Senator Pryor. Right.
Mr. Hill. So, the regulatory scheme, there would be nothing
other than what we presently have for U.S. trucks. But we are
looking and considering using some kind of tracking mechanism
for Mexican trucks and U.S. trucks going into Mexico during the
time of the demonstration project that would be similar to a
global positioning system that would allow us to monitor some
of these activities.
Senator Pryor. Would that qualify as an EOBR, or would that
just be more like a GPS? And I'm not sure I understand the
difference, completely, but----
Mr. Hill. It would have the capability of doing what an
EOBR does. I haven't done a side-by-side comparison to say it
meets every one of our performance standards, but it would
allow us to monitor the movement of that vehicle. I wouldn't
necessarily put a driver in the exact location every time in
the same way that we want in this EOBR.
Senator Pryor. And you might--underline the word ``might,''
because I think you haven't finalized what you're going to do
yet--but you might put--require these as part of this pilot
program in order--so you can accurately monitor the program and
see how it's going, is that the purpose of doing it?
Mr. Hill. Well, first of all, we are considering this,
Senator. But the large issue here is cabotage movement. It'll
allow us to watch for whether or not there is extensive
movement beyond the point of delivery and the point of return.
And so, in that sense, it'll allow us to know if the truck is
operating within the United States contrary to the
Senator Pryor. Right.
Mr. Hill.--of pickup and delivery. It's not really focused
exclusively on hours-of-service, but it could have an
application. And I'm not prepared to talk a further about it,
because I have not been fully briefed on that. I'd be glad to
get back with you on it, though.
Senator Pryor. That'd be great. If you would----
Mr. Hill. OK
Senator Pryor.--that would be great.
Captain Harrison, let me ask you, from a law enforcement
perspective, does having EOBR--a new EOBR regulation, does that
present any challenge to local law enforcement, in terms of
training and equipment, et cetera?
Mr. Harrison. I don't think it would have a significant
impact, provided we have a standard. The problem right now with
the EOBRs that are in use is, there's not a standardized format
from company to company or manufacturer to manufacturer. So,
when we're trying to examine these devices now at roadside, it
presents a significant problem, because every one of them
presents the data in a different way. And so, now--it's
probably a bigger problem now than it would be in the future,
if they're implemented, because now what do you train on? You
have all these----
Senator Pryor. Right.
Mr. Harrison.--different formats?
Senator Pryor. Right.
Mr. Harrison. In the future, if you have a standardized
display of the information and how it's retrieved and so forth,
we can train on that, and we can implement it.
Senator Pryor. OK. Is, your concern is that there may not
be any standard?
Mr. Harrison. Well, our concern is that when and if it's
implemented, number one, it should be systemwide. We advocate
that it be on all vehicles--all commercial vehicles for an
unspecified period of time, and that there be standards in
place over and above what's there now to make sure that, number
one, the data is displayed in a standardized format from
manufacturer to manufacturer, that we have positive driver
identification, because that is a significant problem. You
could falsify the data in one of these devices by using a ghost
driver. You punch in a different driver code, and, you know,
the officer at the roadside, unless he has the name on the
data, he doesn't know who that data belongs to, it's just some
driver number. And also, that it's tamperproof. Those are our
Senator Pryor. OK.
Mr. Chairman, if I may, just one more question for the
Mr. Rosenker, today we're talking about trucking. What
other transportation industries regulated by DOT are currently
required to use EOBR for hours-of-service compliance?
Mr. Rosenker. As far as hours-of-service compliance, the
primary use for the kinds of recorders that we use in aircraft,
are flight data recorders for performance of the aircraft.
Senator Pryor. Right.
Mr. Rosenker. The hours-of-service is governed by other
methods. We have data recorders for cabs in locomotives. Once
again, they are dealing in performance. And then, of course,
the same type of recording device for ships called voyage data
recorders. These are devices which record performance data of
the vessels but not necessarily hours-of-service of the
Senator Pryor. OK. That's fair enough.
Senator Lautenberg. Thanks very much.
I would ask that you respond to any questions in writing
that may come. And I thank you all for your testimony. And
we'll excuse you now from the witness desk and ask for the next
panel to come up. That would include Mr. Gabbard, Dr. McCartt,
Mr. Reiser, and Mr. Olson, please.
Senator Lautenberg. Welcome, to our second panel. Mr.
Gabbard--or is it Gabbard?
Mr. Gabbard. Gabbard is correct, sir.
Senator Lautenberg. OK, you're Vice President of Siemens,
VDO Automotive; Dr. Anne McCartt, Senior Vice President,
Research, for Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; Mr.
Reiser, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Werner
Enterprises, Incorporated--Mr. Reiser, you're going to be
representing the American Trucking Association; and Mr. Olson,
we know that you're Chief Executive Officer of FIL-MOR Express,
Incorporated--as a small-size trucking company, you'll be able
to tell us what size is small in the trucking industry. Thank
Let's start with Mr. Gabbard, please. Try to stay to a 5-
minute limit, if you would.
STATEMENT OF JERRY G. GABBARD, VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL
MANAGER, COMMERCIAL VEHICLES, NAFTA
REGION, SIEMENS VDO AUTOMOTIVE CORPORATION
Mr. Gabbard. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and your
My name is Jerry Gabbard. I am the Vice President of the
Commercial Vehicle Group of Siemen's VDO. On behalf of Siemens
VDO Automotive Corporation, I appreciate the opportunity to
present our views on the use of electronic on-board recording
As you stated earlier, I will say I find it astounding that
the United States is one of the few areas of a modern
industrialized society on this globe that does not have an
electronic hours-of-service recording device requirement for
heavy-duty truck drivers.
Globally, Siemens VDO, as indicated somewhat earlier in
some testimony, is involved in the manufacturing of this type
of device, and we have over 6 million of these devices deployed
throughout the world.
What's wrong with today's notice of proposed rulemaking? I
would suggest that the regulatory impact analysis that's been
referenced in the earlier testimony has used data that is
flawed, and has led people to draw erroneous conclusions.
The rule does not mandate the universal installation of
EOBRs, and experience has found without the universal mandate
of the EOBR, it will have minimal effect on road safety.
The rule does not require a tamperproof system, which is
absolutely mandatory for law enforcement and to enforce the
rules of the road.
The rule lacks standardization for driver identification,
as mentioned earlier, on falsification of records and ghost
And there also is no provision for moving data from one
truck to the next. When a driver would happen to move from one
vehicle to another, his hours-of-service data needs to move
The data privacy concern is not adequately addressed.
Actually, what has happened is that the FMCSA has been led
to ignore some of the evidence that was presented, and has been
swayed somewhat by a regulatory impact analysis that is not as
accurate as it should be.
If you look at the regulatory impact analysis specifically,
the full cost of a fleet management system was being used, as
was indicated in earlier testimony, that full cost was in the
range of $1,200, when, reality, a minimally compliant device
could be in the area of $300 to $450, which would dramatically
impact and change the outlook of the regulatory impact
Also included in the RIA are costs for wireless data
transmission of data back to a base or a home office, when, in
reality today, sir, a lot of the truckers that are operating in
the United States do not have a back office; in fact, it might
be--the back of the cab that they're riding in might be their
office; and, therefore, the wireless data transmission is not
really needed for a minimally compliant device.
Cost savings from economies of scale, if you make a market
attractive for manufacturers such as ourselves, it will drive
down the cost of the device; therefore, the cost savings from
economies of scale was not considered.
The useful life of the device, or the life expectancy of
the device in the RIA was stated to be 3 to 5 years, when, in
reality, the true market indication is, the life of the device
should be in the neighborhood of 10 years.
A universal mandate will also further reduce costs of the
device itself, as I mentioned, by economies of scale and by
reducing installation costs; and, furthermore, with a
standardized device, as indicated in earlier testimony, it will
significantly reduce training costs for drivers, dispatchers,
and law enforcement.
Therefore, I would re-emphasize that the--I believe that
the FMCSA was led, to false conclusions by using flawed RIA
data in their analysis.
What can an EOBR do for society and for the American roads?
It can increase road safety. It can reduce the paper mill of
supporting documents. It can improve driver compliance. It can
provide tamperproof data. It can provide and reduce roadside
time for roadside safety inspections. It can reduce accidents
that translate into the reduced loss of life and property. It
can provide a level playing field. And it can provide and
create a market for a low-cost device. And, reemphasizing
again, a low-cost device should be in the hundreds, not in the
In summary, Mr. Chairman, the full potential of a
standardized device of an EOBR can lead to increased road
safety. We can create an attractive market for manufacturing
the device and the supporting materials that will come along
The paper record of driver activity needs to be replaced,
and I believe that in the efforts that have taken place over
the last 3 years, that we've lost the focus of trying to come
up with a system that would provide trustworthy, reliable data
in order to enforce hours-of-service rules on our American
highways. And this rule, to this point, has failed to address
This concludes my discussion, Mr. Chairman, and I look
forward to questions later on.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gabbard follows:]
Prepared Statement of Jerry G. Gabbard, Vice President and General
Manager, Commercial Vehicles, NAFTA Region, Siemens VDO Automotive
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, my name is Jerry
Gabbard, and I am Vice President for Commercial Vehicles in the NAFTA
region of Siemens VDO Automotive. On behalf of the Siemens VDO
Automotive Corporation, I appreciate the opportunity to present our
views on the use of electronic on-board recording devices.
Background of Siemens with Vehicle Safety Technologies
Siemens VDO is a leading international supplier of automotive
electronics and mechatronics. Through the use of our products, such as
airbags, ABS, or access control systems, both chassis and car-body
safety is increased. As a development partner within the automobile
industry, we manufacture a comprehensive spectrum of products relating
to the drive-train, engine management electronics and fuel injection
that simultaneously improve engine performance and reduce emissions.
Driver comfort is enhanced and driving is made easier with information
and car communication systems that include instrumentation, audio and
navigation equipment, telematics, and multimedia applications, up to
entire cockpit designs.
Globally, Siemens VDO supplies virtually all manufacturers of
commercial vehicles with electronic on-board recorders and offers a
variety of aftermarket solutions tailored to unique regional and
national needs. There are more than 6 million of our on-board recorders
installed in commercial vehicles throughout the world.
Our company is committed to support Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration's (FMCSA's) goal to improve commercial vehicle motor
safety and the intention to introduce a practical rule on Electronic
On-Board Recorders (EOBRs) for Hours-of-Service (HOS) compliance. Over
the past 35 years Siemens has learned from other world regions that
EOBRs, universally used in all heavy commercial vehicles, have
significant potential to contribute to improved compliance with HOS
regulation, and therefore, reduce crashes related to driver fatigue.
Major Concerns With the Proposed FMCSA Rule on EOBRs
Siemens VDO believes that the Notice of Proposed Rule Making
(NPRM) on EOBR in its current form will not lead to increased
installation and proper utilization of EOBR. We therefore
predict no measurable impact on improved road safety and no
contribution toward treating all carriers and drivers equitably
and less driver exploitation.
The Regulatory Impact Analyses (RIA) has used excessive EOBR
cost estimates leading to inappropriate analyses.
The rule does not mandate the universal installation of
EOBRs, and the proposed incentives will not encourage carriers
to install EOBR in significant quantities.
The rule uses an inappropriate definition of ``problem
drivers'' in regard to the reality of HOS compliance. Thus, the
chances of detecting non-compliance given today's minimal
number of roadside checks makes meaningful road safety
improvements highly unlikely.
The rule does not require a tamperproof system design.
The rule lacks standard specifications for driver
identification and how drivers can move their HOS data from one
vehicle to another.
Data privacy concerns are not adequately considered.
FMCSA has tried to balance different arguments in the
Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM) but has failed
to put safety first. The rule therefore fails to meet the
minimum standards established by the Motor Carrier Safety
Improvement Act of 1999 or the D.C. Court of Appeals dictate in
the Public Citizen decision.
FMCSA has based its decision not to propose a universal mandate for
an EOBR and to promote mobile devices mainly on the cost/benefit
analyses of the Regulatory Impact Analyses of Electronic On-Board
Recorders. Unfortunately, the Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA), and
therefore FMCSA, ignored submitted evidence about EOBR products now on
the market that are inexpensive, tamper-resistant and standardized.
There is a significant difference between the cost estimation for EOBR
as stated in the RIA and the cost estimation of Siemens VDO and other
\1\ I.e., Report On Board.
Detailed Criticism of the Underlying Regulatory Impact Analysis
The full cost for today's fleet management systems has been
used by FMCSA for the RIA, ignoring the fact that HOS function
is only an add on component to the system. The primarily reason
to use the fleet management system (and therefore its main cost
driver) is to enforce other company policies such as to monitor
drivers' behavior, vehicle movement, and freight. The proposed
performance specification for EOBR HOS recording adds only
minimal costs to standard fleet management solutions (FMS).
Those transport companies that buy and use FMS mainly for
operational reasons, are likely to benefit from limited
additional cost for electronic HOS recording and would recoup
their investment costs in a very short period. However, this
would place smaller fleets and owner-operators at a competitive
Costs for wireless data extraction are included in the
annual operating cost. This is necessary for mobile phone
solutions and is also normally part of fleet management
concepts designed for big fleets in long haul operations. But
this is not implicitly required for minimally compliant,
tethered EOBR solutions, as they may use other means to
transfer data to a secondary data back up system. In
particular, owner-operators, small carriers, and those
operating short range distributions do not benefit from
wireless data extraction of HOS data. As only a limited number
of power units do not return to the transport companies home
location within the required time for downloading of HOS data
to a secondary back up system, the EOBR rule must allow for
data downloading without General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) or
FMCSA is focusing on technical solutions available off-the-
shelf today, but does not consider the technological
possibilities for a minimally compliant and standardized EOBRs
at current low cost.
Cost savings from economies of scale (when universally
mandating EOBR) and increased competition have not been
considered by FMCSA.
FMCSA assumes a useful lifetime of the EOBR of 3-5 years
which might be correct when using mobile phones or fleet
management systems but will certainly not be the case with
minimally compliant and standardized EOBR. The Siemens
solution, for example, has a market life of 10 years.
With a universal mandate of EOBR, vehicle manufacturers are
likely to offer the HOS functionality as an integral part of
their vehicles. This will further reduce the cost for the
device itself and its installation cost.
Standardization will significantly reduce training cost for
drivers, dispatchers and enforcers.
The Need to Introduce a Practical EOBR Rule
Thousands of people are killed every year on our roads in accidents
in which trucks are involved. In addition, tens of thousands are
severely injured. Anyone who has witnessed a large truck accident
understands the extreme damage to life and property that can result.
Road traffic is increasing worldwide. The fact that safety on the
roads has increased in most of the world's highly developed countries
despite increasing traffic density is due to a wide range of measures
ranging from improved infrastructure to safer vehicles and better
training. Measures which encourage people to comply with speed and
hours-of-service regulations are a key part of many of these regulatory
Truck Crash Studies
Various truck crash studies have reached varying conclusions on the
role of the driver but all conclude that driver fatigue is a
We understand that some truck crash studies have assigned only 13
percent of the accidents to the fatigue of drivers (Large Truck Crash
Causation Study) while others conclude that fatigue was the probable or
primary cause of more than 40 percent of the crashes.\2\ Other studies
show significantly increased crash risk among drivers who have driven a
long time rising by 50 percent after 4 hours driving and increasing by
even 130 percent after more than 8 hours of driving time.\3\
\2\ Transportation Research and Marketing--A Report on the
Determination and Evaluation of Fatigue in Heavy Truck Accidents, 1985.
\3\ tzuoo-Ding Lin, Paul P. Jovanis, and Chun-Zin Yang, Time of Day
Models of Motor Carrier Accident Risk.
To determine if drivers are violating the HOS rules, various
studies have been conducted. Observations of long distance trucking
indicate that 30 percent to 50 percent are in violation of the HOS
regulations \4\ whereas interviews of drivers indicate that more the 75
percent are at least partly violating the HOS rules.
\4\ Beilock, R. and Capelle, R.B. ``Economic Pressure, Long
Distance Trucking and Safety'', Journal of the Transportation Research
Forum 28 (1987) 177-85. Hertz, R.P. ``HOS Violations Among Tractor-
Trailer Drivers'' Accident Analyses and Prevention 23 (1991). Elisa R.
Braver et al., ``Long Hours and Fatigue: A Survey of Tractor-Trailer
Drivers'' Journal of Public Health Policy 353 (1992).
It should also be noted that two-thirds of interviewed drivers
stated that they had driven more miles than was recorded in their
logbook during the past year.\5\ In other words, Records of Duty Status
(RODS) or electronic data records often do not reflect the reality
about driving time. It is not only the paper log books which are easily
tampered with but is also the case with many of the recording devices
currently available in the U.S.
\5\ Id. Elisa R. Braver et al., at 4.
Data Security, Data Privacy and Standardization Requirements
A key purpose of EORB is to achieve less tampering of HOS records
than is presently the case and to allow for better enforcement.
Ultimately, the HOS data recorded in the EOBR must be reliable enough
that they could be accepted in court, if required.
1. A technical and organizational concept which ensures that
HOS data input reflects drivers' consecutive activities
2. A technical solution which records, stores, and transmits
data in a tamperproof way;
3. A means to allow enforcers to detect any manipulation
4. Standardized data access/download interfaces for enforcers
and carriers; and
5. Data access routines ensuring that only HOS relevant data
could be accessed by law enforcers.
The NPRM fails to address these requirements in the following ways:
Although the NPRM makes some suggestions for common
protocols and file formats, EOBR systems from different vendors
are unlikely to be interoperable with each other.
The driver identification system and drivers' data transfer
from one vehicle to another have not been specified and
restricted to one technical solution. A consecutive HOS record
for drivers using different vehicles is therefore highly
The proposed possibility to use mobile EOBR solutions not
tethered to the vehicle leaves the door wide open for
\6\ Mobile EOBR can record proper HOS data, but only if the driver
wants data to be recorded properly.
The EOBR security level has not been defined. Test and
certification against common IT standards by independent
laboratories are not required as they should be.
Unfortunately, devices currently available in the U.S. are not able
to provide meaningful compliance, because those who want to cheat can
easily do it using these devices. The proposed FMCSA EOBR rule is
unlikely to change this. It can be expected that law enforcement will
return to requiring supporting documents, as the proposed EOBR rule
does not provide the confidence that the HOS data is accurate and
Thus, we believe the proposed EOBR FMCSA rule will make little or
no difference in improving the road safety and driving habits of
drivers who frequently violate the HOS regulation.
Findings and Conclusions
There is a widespread agreement that driver fatigue is a
significant contributor to accidents and excessive driving times are a
major contributor to driver fatigue. Professional drivers are likely to
drive routinely for many hours and this behavior is often due to self-
imposed economic pressure or other competitive pressures. These and
other factors often encourage drivers to ignore HOS requirements.
Responsible managers of transport companies are aware and well
informed about the link between driving time and accident risk. Several
leading transport companies have given a favorable opinion on a
mandated EOBR system, because they understand that both they and
society benefit from EOBR deployment.
Based on our 35 years of experience around the world with legally
required systems for recording of drivers' hours-of-service, we are
fully convinced that these systems do have the strong potential to
significantly reduce accidents that would otherwise be caused by
fatigued drivers violating the rules and will contribute to harmonized
competitive conditions and perhaps foster an environment that minimizes
However, we have also learned that EOBR systems only achieve their
full potential for improved road safety at a low cost if the technical
concept of the EOBR system, its infrastructure and enforcement, are
tailored for the specific needs and goals of the region in which they
are being considered.
We believe that the proposed FMCSA rulemaking on EOBR for HOS
compliance in its current form fails to meet these requirements and
does not serve the public interest to reduce accidents caused by
fatigued drivers, nor will it significantly contribute to any
significant cost savings to the trucking industry.
The Regulatory Impact Analysis of Electronic On-Board Recorders \7\
has failed to adequately collect and analyze information about cost
reduction potential for EOBR systems for HOS recording in a universally
mandated market and ignored submitted evidence about the existence of
inexpensive tamperproof electronic on-board recorders. The conclusions
of FMCSA in the NPRM regarding the cost/benefit analysis are therefore
\7\ RIA prepared by ICF Consulting, Inc. for the FMCSA Analyses
Division, November 2006.
Low cost EOBRs are possible, especially for owner-operators or
other companies that do not need the sophisticated functionality of
fleet management systems. Dedicated EOBR for HOS recording could be
available at low annual total cost if EOBRs are universally mandated by
Due to the lack of a universal mandate, existing and potential new
vendors of EOBR systems can not expect any reasonable market for a low
cost EOBR. Therefore, costs for an EOBR unit including ongoing
operating cost will remain high.
Carriers are not homogenous and have different needs. Whereas some
fleets benefit from using sophisticated fleet management systems others
do not. It is likely that the majority of carriers will accept EOBRs,
but only if their concerns about cost, data privacy, and competitive
disadvantages are considered in the manner in which is mandated.
Under the proposed rule, the U.S. is unlikely to see significant
numbers of EOBR systems installed and properly used by those drivers
referred to as heavy violators, as they are simply not going to be
apprehended by law enforcement.
Public safety will not be enhanced without a universal EOBR
The use of mobile solutions, not permanently installed in the
vehicle, allows for ease of use but also allows easy manipulation of
driving status. Those systems are perfect for drivers who will comply
and demonstrate HOS compliance, but useless for enforcement if used by
drivers willing to cheat.
The proposed EOBR performance standard proposed in the rule with
its inherent possibility to falsify EOBR data records at all levels,
will not improve the integrity of the recorded data over manual RODS.
Additionally, law enforcement will not have an enhanced tool to detect
It is highly likely under the proposed rule that any EOBR data will
largely be ignored by state and local law enforcement official, as they
will soon discover the shortcomings. Therefore, it is also unlikely to
result in any reduction in the need for supporting documents.
Summary of Siemens VDO Recommendations
The NPRM should be canceled and replaced by a new NPRM.
The RIA must be reworked in order to take into consideration
the existence of low cost EOBR devices.
The NPRM must standardize the level of measures to prevent
tampering with the overall system; it should standardize user
interfaces with respect to driver identification and how
drivers' data are transferred from one vehicle to another; and
it should define file formats and download protocols.
The final EOBR rule should require systems to be fixed to
the vehicle and not allow mobile solutions.
As surveys show clearly that HOS violations are much more
widespread than what FMCSA is assuming, a widespread mandate
should be proposed.
A phase-in scenario for tamperproof EOBR and phaseout for
old systems should be developed.
FMCSA should facilitate the introduction of EOBRs by sharing
the most current and correct information on them with carriers
The decision to universally mandate EOBRs should be made
with realistic figures and also in the light of the primary
goal which is to improve road safety.
I appreciate this opportunity to offer these observations,
experiences, and recommendations to improve highway safety in the
Senator Lautenberg. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF ANNE T. McCARTT, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, RESEARCH,
INSURANCE INSTITUTE FOR HIGHWAY SAFETY
Dr. McCartt. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a nonprofit
research and communications organization that identifies ways
to reduce the deaths, injuries, and property damage on our
Nation's highways. We're sponsored by U.S. auto insurers.
Thank you for allowing me to testify on this critical
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and its
predecessor agencies have refused to protect the American
public by addressing, in a meaningful way, the serious problem
of truck driver fatigue. The agency's decision to increase
trucker's permissible daily and weekly driving hours, plus its
failure to enforce the work rules, demonstrate indifference to
public safety. Because it does not require recorders on all
large trucks, and will affect only a tiny proportion of motor
carriers, the proposed rule, if finalized, will be a travesty.
Efforts to improve enforcement of truckers' work rules span
more than three decades. In 1971, Federal legislation was
introduced to require all commercial buses and trucks
manufactured after January 1974 to be equipped with tachographs
to record driving time. The legislation was not enacted, and
the system for enforcement still is inadequate.
In 1986, our Institute petitioned the Bureau of Motor
Carrier Safety to require automatic on-board recording devices
on all heavy trucks. The petition was denied, and, during the
intervening 20 years, an estimated 16,030 people died in
crashes involving fatigued truckers. This included 11,750
passenger vehicle occupants, 2,257 occupants of large trucks,
and 2,023 motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and others.
By failing to take meaningful, readily available steps to
address trucker fatigue, FMCSA and its predecessor agencies
share responsibility for these deaths.
By all accounts, the system of manually recorded logbooks
is a joke. In the electronic age, there's no excuse for
refusing to require devices to enforce what are lax
restrictions on truckers' driving times. It is doubtful that
anyone can argue with a straight face that a tractor trailer
driver spending 11 hours behind the wheel is good for safety.
Since 1986, our Institute has submitted four additional
petitions and 19 comments calling for an on-board recorder
requirement for all large trucks. We've provided more than 200
pages documenting the failed paper-based system of enforcement
and the affordability of electronic on-board recorders. Instead
of considering these and other objective research findings,
FMCSA has given weight to evidence that's biased and lacking in
scientific merit. For one brief period in 2000, FMCSA appeared
to take its safety title seriously and proposed to require
recorders in all large trucks. However, this requirement was
removed from the final rule effective in January 2004. When it
vacated the rule, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia questioned the rationality of the decision, chastising
the agency for its, ``one-sided and passive,'' regulatory
approach to the issue of recorders, and noting that the agency
had not taken the ``seemingly obviously step of testing
existing recorders on the road.''
FMCSA still has not tested existing recorders, and, with
little justification, has drafted a rule affecting only a tiny
percentage of carriers. The proposal represents the most
minimal action the agency could have taken in response to the
In requiring recorders for a tiny proportion of carriers,
the agency assumes there are only a few problem carriers and
drivers. This is contradicted by our Institute's research
indicating that 20 to 25 percent of long-distance truck drivers
violate work rules. In 2005, one in five drivers reported
falling asleep at the wheel during the previous month, an
increase from 13 percent in 2003, before the work rule change.
Unless recorders are required, compliance officers must rely on
paper logbooks and related documentation that can be easily
falsified. So, identifying even this tiny proportion of
egregious violators is problematic.
The proposal also fails to account for the large increase
in trucks equipped with recorders. About 45 percent of truck
drivers we interviewed in 2005 said their trucks had recorders,
up from 18 percent in 2003; however, only 10 percent, or fewer,
of truckers with recorders said they were using them in lieu of
paper logbooks to show compliance with the rules. The excuse
that technology is not there yet does not stand up to scrutiny.
We can download 20,000 songs to our iPods. Worldwide, we sent
161 billion gigabits of digital information last year. Our
Government sends astronauts to space for months at a time. In-
vehicle technologies can parallel park without driver input.
Many large truck rigs have expensive multifunction
entertainment systems. Is it really possible that the
Government cannot figure out how to get devices in trucks to
record when they are being driven? It is past time for
research, pilot studies, or government/industry cooperative
ventures. It is time for action.
In the meantime, fatigue-related deaths continue. In Lake
Butler, Florida, on January 26, 2006, a trucker, who had been
awake for 34 hours, except for a short nap, rammed his tractor
trailer into the back of a van stopped behind a school bus. In
the ensuing inferno, all seven children in the van, ages 20
months to 15 years, were killed. Upon hearing of the tragedy,
their grandfather suffered a fatal heart attack. The driver of
the school bus and three children were seriously injured.
Highway patrol officers said there was no evidence the trucker
braked and no apparent reason why the driver could not have
seen the van and bus stopping. Many such tragedies occur each
year because truck drivers, like this one, violate the work
The proposed rule does nothing that will prevent future
tragedies like this. FMCSA, with the word ``Safety'' in its
name, must require electronic recorders in all trucks if it is
to put real teeth in the hours-of-service rules and finally
begin to curb the deadly problem of fatigued truck drivers.
[The prepared statement of Dr. McCartt follows:]
Prepared Statement of Anne T. McCartt, Senior Vice President, Research,
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a nonprofit research
and communications organization that identifies ways to reduce the
deaths, injuries, and property damage on our Nation's highways. We are
sponsored by U.S. automobile insurers. Thank you for allowing me an
opportunity to testify on this critical safety issue.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and its predecessor
agencies have refused to protect the American public by addressing in a
meaningful way the serious problem of truck driver fatigue. The
agency's recent decision to increase truck drivers' permissible daily
and weekly driving hours plus its failure to enforce work rules
demonstrate indifference to public safety. Because it does not require
electronic recorders in all large trucks and will affect only a tiny
proportion of carriers, the proposed rule, if finalized, will be a
Efforts to improve enforcement of hours-of-service rules for truck
drivers span more than 3 decades. In 1971 Federal legislation was
introduced to require all commercial trucks and buses manufactured
after January 1974 to be equipped with tachographs to record driving
time. The legislation was not enacted, and to this day the system for
enforcing hours-of-service rules is inadequate. I refer the Committee
to the detailed chronology on rulemaking that is attached to my
On October 1, 1986, the Institute petitioned the Bureau of Motor
Carrier Safety to require automatic on-board recording devices to be
installed and used in all heavy trucks. This petition was denied, and
during the intervening 20 years an estimated 16,030 people died in
crashes involving fatigued truckers. This toll includes 11,750
passenger vehicle occupants; 2,257 occupants of large trucks; and 2,023
motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and others on the road. By
failing to take meaningful and readily available steps to address truck
driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and its
predecessor agencies share responsibility for these deaths.
By all accounts the current system of manually recorded logbooks is
a joke. In the electronic age there is no excuse for refusing to
require devices in trucks to improve the enforcement of what are lax
restrictions on the amount of time truck drivers can spend behind the
wheel. It is doubtful that anyone can argue with a straight face that a
tractor trailer driver spending 11 hours behind the wheel is good for
Since 1986 our Institute has submitted 4 additional petitions and
19 comments calling for an on-board recorder requirement for all large
trucks. We have provided more than 200 pages documenting the failed
paper-based system of enforcement of the hours-of-service rules and the
affordability of electronic on-board recorders. Instead of considering
these and other objective research findings, the agency has given
weight to evidence that is biased and lacking in scientific merit.
For one brief period in 2000 the agency did appear to take its
safety title seriously, proposing to require recorders in all large
trucks. However, this requirement was removed from the final rule that
was effective January 4, 2004. When it vacated the rule in July 2004,
the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia questioned the
rationality of the decision, chastising the agency for its ``one-sided
and passive'' regulatory approach to the issue of recorders and noting
that the agency had not taken the ``seemingly obvious step of testing
existing [recorders] on the road'' (Public Citizen v. FMCSA, 374 F.3d
1209, 1222 (D.C. Cir. 2004)). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration still has not tested existing on-board recorders and,
with little justification, has drafted a rule that would affect only a
tiny percentage of motor carriers. The proposal represents the most
minimal action the agency could have taken in response to the court.
In requiring on-board recorders for only a miniscule proportion of
carriers, the agency assumes there are only a few problem carriers and
drivers. This is contradicted by Institute research indicating that 20-
25 percent of long-distance truck drivers violate work rules. In 2005,
1 in 5 drivers reported falling asleep at the wheel during the previous
month, an increase from 13 percent in 2003 before the work rule change.
The research further indicates an association between work rule
violations and dozing at the wheel. Unless on-board recorders are
required, compliance officers must rely on paper logbooks and related
documentation that can be falsified easily. So identifying even this
tiny proportion of egregious violators will be problematic.
The proposed rule fails to account for the large increase in trucks
equipped with recorders. About 45 percent of long-distance truck
drivers said in 2005 that their trucks had recorders, up from about 18
percent in 2003 and about 38 percent in 2004. However, only 10 percent
or fewer of the truckers who reported having on-board recorders said
they were using them in lieu of paper logbooks to show compliance with
work rules. This indicates the need for on-board recorders to overcome
The excuse that the technology is not there yet simply does not
stand up to scrutiny. We can download 20,000 songs to our iPods.
Worldwide we sent 161 billion gigabytes of digital information last
year. Our government sends astronauts to space for months at a time.
In-vehicle technologies can parallel park without driver input. Many
large truck rigs have expensive, multifunction entertainment systems.
Is it really possible that the government cannot figure out how to get
devices in trucks to record when they are being driven? It is no longer
credible to argue that the devices are too expensive or burdensome for
widespread use. It is past time for research, pilot studies, or
government/industry cooperative ventures. It is time for action.
In the meantime, fatigue-related deaths continue. In Lake Butler,
Florida, on January 26, 2006, a trucker who had been awake for 34 hours
except for a short nap rammed his tractor trailer into the back of a
van stopped behind a school bus. In the ensuing inferno all 7 children
in the van, ages 20 months to 15 years, were killed. Upon hearing of
the tragedy, their grandfather suffered a fatal heart attack. The
driver of the school bus and 3 children were seriously injured. Highway
Patrol officers said there was no evidence that the trucker braked, and
there did not appear to be any reason why the truck driver could not
have seen the van and bus stopping. Many such tragedies occur each year
because truck drivers, like this one, exceed the hours-of-service
The proposed rule does nothing that will prevent future tragedies
like this. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, with the
word ``safety'' in its name, must require electronic recorders in all
trucks if it is to put real teeth in hours-of-service rules and finally
begin to curb the deadly problem of fatigued truck drivers.
Regulating Truck Driver Fatigue: A Chronology of Delay
Hours-of-service and logbook regulations are inextricably related.
The following chronology documents many initiatives that have been made
over the past three decades to address the driver fatigue problem by
improving the hours-of-service regulations and introducing on-board
recorder technology that is objective and that does not rely on self
reporting by the regulated industry.
1971--To address the issue of truck speeds and fatigued truck
drivers, the Bus and Truck Safety Act of 1971 (H.R. 10267) is
introduced to require all commercial trucks and buses to be equipped
with tachographs to record driving speed and miles traveled.
1976--The Bureau of Motor Carrier Safety requests public comment on
hours-of-service regulations to address the problem of fatigue-related
1986--The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety petitions the
Bureau of Motor Carrier Safety to require heavy-duty truckers to
install and use automatic on-board devices to record driving times and
speeds. This petition is denied.
1987--After denying the 1986 petition to require on-board
recorders, the Federal Highway Administration reverses its decision and
publishes a notice seeking more information.
1987--The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety research shows
that driving more than 8 hours increases the risk of large truck
1988--Citing the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's petition
for reconsideration on on-board recorders, the Federal Highway
Administration proposes to allow on-board recorders in lieu of the
1988--Congress passes the Truck and Bus Safety and Regulatory
Reform Act requiring the Bureau of Motor Carrier Safety to begin
rulemaking on improved compliance with hours-of-service regulations,
including consideration of on-board recorders.
1989--The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment issues a
report citing a wide array of immediate and long-term governmental and
industry actions that could reduce the truck crash problem. Requiring
on-board recorders is among the recommendations.
1989--The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety petitions the
Federal Highway Administration to require on-board recorders in motor
carriers transporting hazardous materials.
1990--The National Transportation Safety Board recommends issuance
of a Federal rule to require on-board recorders to monitor the hours-
of-service of truck drivers.
1992--A survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
indicates that the majority of long-distance truckers violate work-hour
1992--The Federal Highway Administration proposes to increase the
hours commercial vehicle drivers are permitted to drive.
1995--The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and five other
safety groups petition the Federal Highway Administration to require
1996--Directed by Congress in 1995 to reassess hours-of-service
rules, the Federal Highway Administration again considers relaxing the
rule, relying on a driver fatigue study by the agency and American
Trucking Associations. Both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
and a panel assembled by the agency identified numerous weaknesses in
2000--The newly created Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
announces a proposal intended to reduce the problem of fatigue by
requiring longer off-duty time for truckers and mandatory electronic
2003--The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announces a
rule that increases the mandatory daily rest period by 2 hours, allows
drivers to stay on the road for an extra hour, and introduces a restart
provision to increase allowable driving hours within a 7- or 8-day
period. The rule does not require on-board recorders, despite proposing
to require them.
2004--The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
dismisses the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's action as
being ``arbitrary and capricious.'' The court specifically cited the
agency's attempted justification for backing off from its proposal to
require on-board recorders. The agency's attempt reflects
``questionable rationality,'' the court said, adding that it ``cannot
fathom . . . why the agency has not even taken the seemingly obvious
step of testing existing [recorders] on the road'' to see if they
should be required in all truck rigs. Public Citizen v. FMCSA, 374 F.3d
1209 (D.C. Cir. 2004).
2004--Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has
permitted some carriers to use recorders instead of paper logs since
1985, the agency issues an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking
seeking public comment on dozens of questions. This further delays
mandating the use of recorders by all carriers.
2005--The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety surveys find that
the Federal rule addressing truck drivers' work hours is not stopping
truckers from driving with too little rest. The American Trucking
Associations announces its conditional support for on-board recorders.
2005--The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issues a
revised hours-of-service rule very similar to the one the court
rejected in 2004. Public Citizen and others immediately sue to overturn
2007--The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issues a
proposed rule to require on-board recorders for a miniscule proportion
Senator Lautenberg. Thank you very much, Dr. McCartt.
STATEMENT OF RICHARD S. REISER, ON BEHALF OF THE
AMERICAN TRUCKING ASSOCIATIONS, INC. (ATA);
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL COUNSEL,
WERNER ENTERPRISES, INC.; CHAIRMAN, ATA'S HOURS-OF-SERVICE
Mr. Reiser. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and other members
of the Subcommittee. Thank you for the opportunity to express
the American Trucking Associations' views on these important
Senator Lautenberg. Bring the mike a little closer to you,
Mr. Reiser. I have to turn it on, too. I'm sorry.
Senator Lautenberg. All right. Start anew.
Mr. Reiser. My name is Richard Reiser. I'm the Executive
Vice President and General Counsel of Werner Enterprises, from
Werner Enterprises is a truckload motor carrier with a host
of trucking- and transportation-related services. We have a
fleet of more than 8,800 tractors, over 25,000 trailers, and
have more than 14,000 employees and independent contractors.
Our mission is to provide premier transportation and logistics
services while maintaining a high standard of safety,
profitability, and integrity.
Werner has operated a paperless electronic logging system
since 1998 under a unique program and an exemption granted by
the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. For years now,
we have had the functional equivalent of an EOBR in every one
of our 8,000-plus trucks. As a result, we have a significant
amount of experience in designing, installing, maintaining, and
managing an EOBR system, as well as designing and implementing
a training program for drivers.
The costs, complexities, and outcomes associated with using
an EOBR system are well known to us. Although it is
disappointing to say, we have not been able to quantify an
improved safety outcome from using EOBRs and achieving a higher
degree of hours-of-service compliance. Werner's experience with
EOBRs, along with other members of ATA, is what drives ATA's
position and recommendations on this issue.
ATA has tried hard to avoid the rhetoric surrounding this
issue, and has tried to be dispassionate and productive in its
policy recommendations. ATA can see a future state where
certain trucking operations are mandated to use EOBRs for
In our written testimony, we have included our full set of
policy recommendations aimed toward moving the regulators and
the industry there. I will highlight three of those:
First, there should be sound evidence that EOBR use leads
to enhanced safety performance by means such as an accident-
rate reduction or other safety performance measures in addition
to improved compliance. This data will increase the credibility
of EOBR systems as a cost-effective technology for motor
carriers. A presumption has been made that EOBR use leads to
better safety performance by carriers and drivers; however,
there is little, if any, empirical evidence to support that
position. Werner's 9-year experience with EOBRs bears that out.
To try to get beyond this presumption, the regulators should
partner with trucking to conduct a pilot program of sufficient
duration with adequate controls in place to determine whether
driver fatigue is reduced and if there are real safety benefits
to EOBR use.
I note that CVSA has also recommended to the FMCSA that it
conduct field operational tests to more fully evaluate the
safety benefits of EOBR use. Whether we call it a pilot program
or an operational test, it should be done, and it should
involve the regulators, the industry, and the enforcement
community. And it should involve EOBRs which FMCSA certifies as
meeting its requirements.
This leads me to our second recommendation. FMCSA should
complete and issue updated and improved performance
specifications for EOBRs, guidelines for how the technology
works, what it should record, how often it records the data, et
cetera. Having final, or draft final, technology specifications
for the device will facilitate the short-term pilot program I
mentioned. It will also facilitate voluntary adoption of this
technology by those carriers choosing to move from paperwork to
Our first two recommendations are made to the regulatory
agency, but our third is legislative in nature. We believe that
statutory language defining motor carriers as the owners and
primary controllers of the EOBR-generated data, along with
language protecting the privacy rights of drivers, should be in
place. Those granted access to this data should make up a
limited list, and the access should be for hours-of-service
compliance verification and enforcement, if necessary. Federal
policy should be clear on this issue.
ATA can clearly see the future where certain trucking
companies are mandated by regulation to use EOBRs for
documenting hours-of-service compliance. Given the current lack
of empirical evidence showing a safety benefit EOBR use, ATA
understands FMCSA's proposed regulatory approach, and generally
supports it. More meaningful regulatory incentives will help
In order to get to the desired future state, though, ATA
recommends a pilot program for a goal--with the goal of
producing empirical evidence that EOBR use has safety benefits
and is cost-effective; that the basic performance
specifications for EOBRs be clearly defined and finalized; and
that Federal policy captured in statute clearly define data-
ownership control and access limits.
In closing, a comment on hours-of-service limits. Most
would agree that hours-of-service rules are a fairly
rudimentary approach to addressing the complex issue of human
alertness. The transportation industry and regulators need to
move toward a comprehensive alertness and fatigue management
program that better addresses this important issue.
Thank you for the opportunity for ATA to offer its views
and policies. We look forward to working with this
Subcommittee, the Congress, FMCSA, and other reasoned
stakeholders to improve the safety and productivity of our
Nation's highway transportation system.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Reiser follows:]
Prepared Statement of Richard S. Reiser, on Behalf of the American
Trucking Associations, Inc. (ATA); Executive Vice President and General
Counsel, Werner Enterprises, Inc.; Chairman, ATA's Hours-of-Service
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice Chairman and other Members of the
Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to express the American
Trucking Associations' views on the issues of electronic on-board
recorders (EOBRs) and truck driver fatigue. I am Richard S. Reiser,
Executive Vice President & General Counsel of Werner Enterprises, Inc.
in Omaha, Nebraska. Werner Enterprises is among the five largest
truckload motor carriers in the U.S. with a portfolio of transportation
services that includes: medium to long haul, regional and local van
capacity, temperature-controlled, flatbed, dedicated and expedited
service. Werner is in its 51st year of business and has a fleet of more
than 8,800 tractors, over 25,000 trailers and has more than 14,000
employees and independent contractors. The principal types of freight
transported by Werner include retail store merchandise, consumer
products, manufactured products and grocery items. Werner's mission is
to provide premium transportation service while maintaining a high
standard of safety, profitability and integrity.
Werner has operated a paperless electronic logging system since
1998 under a pilot program and exemption granted by the Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). As a result, Werner has a
significant amount of experience in designing, installing, maintaining
and managing an electronic on-board recorder (EOBR) system, as well as
designing and implementing a training program for drivers. The costs,
complexities and outcomes associated with using an EOBR system are well
known to us.
It is my pleasure to appear before the Subcommittee today on behalf
of the American Trucking Associations, Inc. (ATA). Werner is a
longstanding and active member of ATA and I am currently the Chairman
of ATA's Hours-of-Service Committee.
ATA is a united federation of motor carriers, state trucking
associations, and national trucking conferences created to promote and
protect the interests of the trucking industry. Its membership includes
more than 2,000 trucking companies and industry suppliers of equipment
and services. Directly and indirectly through its affiliated
organizations, ATA encompasses over 35,000 companies and every type and
class of motor carrier operation.
ATA is encouraged that FMCSA has initiated the process to update
regulations involving EOBRs used to record a drivers' hours-of-service.
ATA is also aware that the agency is contemplating the promotion of
several new ``safety technologies'' to be potentially used in the
future. As such, the agency and industry have undertaken studies to
determine what is needed to motivate the industry to adopt and deploy
on-board safety devices and technologies. The shared objective is to
reduce truck-involved crashes by deploying proven, effective equipment
that has the best return-on-investment (ROI). Integration of these
concepts in the development of an EOBR rule would help to produce a
useful regulation and provide incentives for implementation. (See
Attachment A for recent research findings).
In our testimony today, we will:
Explain our policies and views on FMCSA's proposed rule on
Offer ATA's recommendations to make use of EOBRs more viable
Offer an insight into the size of the truck driver fatigue
issue and public policy development associated with it.
ATA's Policy Conditionally Supports a Mandate
ATA foresees a future state where certain trucking operations are
required to use EOBRs for hours-of-service recordkeeping. ATA's
membership established in October 2005 a nine-point policy regarding
EOBRs aimed at achieving prudent utilization of this technology. We
have attached this policy for the Subcommittee's review. (See
A primary point within our policy concerns the safety benefits of
EOBR usage. This is stated as:
``There should be sound, consensus-based evidence that EOBR use
leads to enhanced fleet safety performance by such means as
accident rate reduction and improved compliance, therefore,
increasing the credibility of EOBR systems as a cost-effective
technology for motor carriers.''
There is little, if any, empirical evidence showing that EOBR use
reduces driver fatigue, prevents accidents, improves safety and lowers
costs.\1\ This empirical evidence is necessary not only to support a
regulation and its associated benefits, but also to provide motor
carriers meaningful information in deciding whether to deploy such
systems in their fleets.
\1\ ``Electronic On-Board Recorder Adoption In the Trucking
Industry: Issues and Opportunities,'' September 2006, The American
Transportation Research Institute.
While the safety benefits are the primary issue, as they should be,
investment and ongoing costs are also a concern to ATA's members. When
assessing the economic impact on a motor carrier of any future proposed
requirement for EOBRs, it is necessary not only to consider the cost of
purchasing and installing the system in each truck to record a driver's
hours-of-service, but also other associated and potentially significant
ongoing costs (See Attachment C). On this point, it is unfortunate that
FMCSA's Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) did little to help clarify the
costs and benefits of the proposed rule, other than finding that costs
of EOBRs almost always outweigh the benefits. The RIA makes it clear
that there is a dearth of research identifying safety benefits of EOBR
use, while the costs of the EOBR systems used in the RIA indicate that
the technology remains a significant investment for motor carriers.
Given that FMCSA does not have safety benefit data sufficient to
support an overall mandate, ATA generally supports the agency's policy
approach to provide incentives to drive voluntary industry adoption of
EOBRs, with mandates limited to targeted enforcement against carriers
and drivers shown to be historically non-compliant with hours-of-
However, ATA believes the agency must make important changes to the
proposed rule to make it effective in practice and to better promote
the voluntary use of EOBRs.
This brings us to our next point within ATA's policy. That is:
``EOBR systems should be based on the minimal, functional and
performance specifications necessary to accurately record and
report hours-of-service compliance and assure reliability and
utility of operation.''
The industry has asked for uniform, minimum performance criteria
for EOBR devices and systems, which provides for flexibility in the
design and delivery to the market. There needs to be design and
operational requirements that will dependably, reliably and
comprehensively replace manual logbooks. Without consistent and
recognizable specifications for EOBR devices and systems, there will
continue to be questions related to utility, reliability, tamper-
resistance, accuracy, durability and effectiveness.
ATA members have expressed that they are much less likely to invest
in EOBRs for hours-of-service compliance until there are accepted,
feasible and finalized performance specifications. These performance
specifications are needed to firmly establish uniform and reliable EOBR
systems that will accurately record and report drivers' hours-of-
Motor carriers must make decisions in the course of product
selection and need assurance that:
The EOBR design requirements are fully and adequately
Performance specifications are recognized as the standard to
be met by EOBR equipment and service providers.
The EOBR system will function as expected in a secure
ATA recognizes that recent court challenges to the existing hours-
of-service rules have also hindered progress in defining specific
information and parameters that would be entered into EOBRs. The hours-
of-service rules need to be stable and firmly in place so that this
integral information can be included in the software of deployable
(``ready-to-use'') EOBR systems, and thus eliminate the need for
redeployment of operational systems in the future.
Even more immediately significant is that without final, definitive
and acceptable performance specifications for EOBRs:
1. It is highly unlikely that motor carriers will invest in
such systems (preferring to wait and buy the compliant
2. The EOBR vendor community will likely promote current
designs and systems rather than make technological improvements
(preferring to wait and produce a compliant version).
3. Research that could illustrate the benefits and costs of
EOBRs will be placed on hold (preferring to model methodology
with the new compliant version).
While we addressed two of our nine policy points above, we
encourage a review of the additional points in the attached ATA policy.
(See Attachment B).
Complete the Performance Specifications for EOBRs
The importance of satisfactorily completing and issuing final
performance specifications should not be underestimated. This is
essential to deployment of EOBRs and ATA recommends that FMCSA issue in
the very near future a supplemental rulemaking notice with better and
more technically sound performance specifications for EOBRs. ATA's
comprehensive written comments to FMCSA included a number of specific
recommendations in this area.
Conduct a Pilot Program
FMCSA should conduct a pilot program of sufficient duration with
adequate controls in place to determine whether or not driver fatigue
is reduced and there are real safety benefits to EOBR use.
Congressional oversight Committees should support this type of pilot
program. A presumption has been made that there are safety benefits;
however, there is little, if any, empirical evidence to support that
position. The pilot program should use a form of EOBRs which FMCSA
certifies as meeting its requirements. This is critical since driver
acceptance of the technology and the ability of drivers to understand
and use it will be critical to the ultimate success of any such device.
Additionally, it should ensure that a complying device is available at
a cost which will obtain voluntary participation by carriers and which
can be used for a benefit-cost analysis.
Given the size of the trucking industry, and the scope and
complexity of this issue, mandating EOBRs without adequate testing
through a pilot program may impose a huge financial and operational
burden upon the trucking industry, for which no real benefit is derived
by either the public or the industry.
ATA and several of its members are very much interested in
participating with FMCSA in conduct of a pilot program and plans to
submit a petition for such a program.
Provide Meaningful Incentives
If FMCSA moves forward with its current regulatory approach, it
should offer motor carriers more substantial incentives to promote
voluntary adoption of EOBRs. It can directly encourage motor carrier
adoption of EOBRs by providing reasonable and defensible flexibility in
certain areas of the hours-of-service requirements, and offering
administrative incentives. For example, allowing the 14 hour ``running
clock'' on-duty limit to be stopped for up to 2 hours for rest and meal
breaks, providing flexibility in how drivers may take their rest
periods when using a sleeper berth, and providing positive credit or
points for carriers in the criteria used to select carriers for audits.
Congress can also assist in stimulating voluntary adoption of EOBRs
for improved compliance. Two legislative approaches that might be
considered are statutory data protections and tax incentives.
Statutory protections should be afforded to motor carriers
pertaining to the control, ownership and admissibility/discoverability
of data generated and derived from EOBRs, and to assure the privacy
rights of drivers. The enactment of statutory protections for data
beyond that currently required under 49 CFR Part 395 could alleviate a
major impediment to industry acceptance of EOBRs. Government policy
also needs to support data privacy. Without certain protections
afforded to motor carriers and drivers, the shadow of external access
to EOBR collected data that is outside the scope of the hours-of-
service rules could serve as a disincentive to motor carrier
Congress should also consider tax incentives (e.g., credits) to
encourage motor carrier investment in EOBRs and to offset the cost of
purchasing EOBR devices and associated support systems. As noted in
Attachment A, tax incentives for expense of equipment are prime ``non-
safety'' motivators for investment.
Truck Driver Fatigue and Related Issues
It is important for policymakers to understand the size of the
driver fatigue issue in relationship to truck-involved crashes. The
most recent and, by far, most comprehensive truck crash causation study
was completed last year, and a report was issued to Congress in March
2006.\2\ That study found that fatigue was 11th on the list of the
``Top 20'' associated factors list. This report did not list fatigue as
a ``critical reason'' or causation factor for the crashes investigated,
rather it listed it along with other issues as an ``associated
factor.'' Associated factors in the study were defined as conditions or
circumstances present at the time of the crash, and no judgment was
made as to whether it was related to the crash--just that it was
present. This study also found that the majority of truck crashes are
multi-vehicles crashes involving at least one truck and one passenger
vehicle, and that fatigue was coded as an associated factor twice as
often for passenger vehicle driver and speeding more often for truck
drivers.\3\ We have included two tables from this report showing
fatigue listed as an associated factor. (See Attachment D). This study
was authorized and funded by the Congress, performed by the U.S.
Department of Transportation, and is widely recognized as the most
comprehensive study of truck-involved crashes ever performed.
\2\ Report to Congress on the Large Truck Crash Causation Study,
MC-R/RRA, March 2006, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration.
\3\ Ibid, p. 3.
Of course, EOBRs are intended to assist companies and drivers
record on-duty shifts and off-duty rest periods consistent with the
applicable hours-of-service rules in order to minimize the risk of
operating while fatigued. These rules have changed twice over the last
4 years, after remaining constant for more than 6 decades.
Unfortunately, the current rules are unsettled again because they are
the subject of ongoing litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
D.C. Circuit by advocacy groups and organizations representing
different parts of the industry. Depending upon the outcome, the rules
could change yet again. FMCSA's EOBR rulemaking process could well be
impacted by the Court's decision.
In addition, as a result of the rapid change in the hours-of-
service rules in the last 4 years, the jury is still out on whether the
revised rules are achieving their intended safety benefit. But the
majority of stakeholders in this debate would likely agree that
effective hours-of-service rules are only part of a solution aimed at
keeping commercial operators alert and safe when working and driving.
Managing operator alertness and fatigue in a trucking setting is a
complex issue that calls for a more comprehensive approach. ATA is
hopeful that the national dialogue on this issue moves beyond simple
on-duty and driving limits toward a more comprehensive programmatic
approach to managing alertness. This will take years, but movement
toward this goal needs to begin.
Summary and Conclusion
ATA foresees and supports a future state where certain trucking
companies are required to use EOBRs for documenting hours-of-service
compliance. But given the lack of empirical evidence showing a safety
benefit of EOBR use, ATA understands and generally supports FMCSA's
proposed regulatory approach. In order to get to the desired future
state, ATA recommends:
A pilot program aimed at producing empirical evidence that
EOBR use has safety benefits and is cost effective,
That the basic performance specifications for EOBRs be
clearly defined and finalized.
If FMCSA moves forward with its current regulatory approach, it
should provide meaningful incentives for motor carriers to voluntarily
adopt EOBRs for compliance purposes.
In addition, both government and industry need to recognize that
hours-of-service rules are a fairly rudimentary approach to addressing
the complex issue of human fatigue and alertness. The transportation
industry and regulators need to move toward alertness and fatigue
management programs that more comprehensively address this important
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the
opportunity for ATA to offer its views and policies on EOBRs and driver
fatigue. We look forward to working with this Subcommittee, the
Congress, FMCSA, and other reasoned stakeholders to improve the safety
and productivity of our Nation's highway transportation system.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in its 2005
report ``Factors in Decisions to Make, Purchase, and Use On-board
Safety Technologies'' identified several recommendations and
conclusions in regards to advancing adoption of safety technologies for
commercial motor vehicles.\1\ This guidance was offered by motor
carriers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), product vendors,
drivers, and insurance companies. Some of the key decision points for
promoting the use of such equipment were determined to be:
\1\ ``Factors in Decisions to Make, Purchase, and Use On-board
Safety Technologies'', Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration,
December 2005. webpage at: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov
``Return on Investment (ROI) for Purchaser (the carrier) is
considered an important factor for sustained commercial success
for on-board safety technologies. A positive ROI is a
significant factor when carriers decide to purchase on-board
safety technologies according to most of the carriers
``Demonstrated Effectiveness to Improve Safety through the
use of on-board safety systems essentially represents the
benefits that offset the purchase and other costs to yield a
positive ROI. This factor is important to all stakeholders
``Reliability and Maintainability is also a significant
factor (mentioned in a number of interviews) and is considered
important to buyers (carriers) and manufacturers (OEMs and
vendors). On-board safety technologies must be easy to use,
provide accurate results, be consistently reliable, and be easy
to maintain. Any inconsistencies or high maintenance
requirements will discourage purchase by carriers.''
``Liability is a potential concern to a number of
stakeholders interviewed, especially when combined with the
discoverable nature of the data stored by some on-board safety
technologies. While the absence of liability concerns is not
sufficient to drive deployment, the presence of other concerns
in this area could impede deployment, therefore making it a
significant factor as well. Liability concerns are an important
factor to carriers, drivers, and manufacturers interviewed.''
``Initial Cost is an important adjunct to ROI. Too high a
purchase cost not only makes it difficult for the purchaser to
believe there is a positive ROI but also may strain the ability
of the purchaser to raise the needed capital for the purchase.
The carriers interviewed indicated that affordability and
payback influence the decision to purchase the new
``Investment Required for Research and Development of New
Technology, such as on-board safety technologies for OEMs and
vendors, is fundamental to their business plan. The combination
of investment needed, expected sales volume, purchase cost, and
cost of production make up the potential profitability for the
``Market Image is a factor, at least in initial deployment
of on-board safety technologies. As the market matures,
leveling the competitive playing field, this may become less
significant as a decision factor. Carriers compete for
customers. Their image or reputation in the business is
important to them. Running a state-of-the-art fleet that
operates safely and efficiently is important to carriers'
marketing programs. Crashes cause delays, additional costs, and
``Driver Acceptance is considered important by a number of
carriers. Drivers were receptive to on-board safety
technologies, as long as the devices are proven effective in
improving safety, are user friendly, and that the recorded data
will not be used to violate their privacy.''
``In-Cab Technology Interface Integration is an important
factor to a number of the stakeholders interviewed. This factor
plays a key role in enabling the various stakeholders to
realize the value of on-board safety technologies with minimum
cost, distraction, and potential for errors.''
The 2006 release ``Synthesis of Commercial Motor Vehicle Technology
Surveys: What Has Been Learned,'' \2\ reported that:
\2\ Virginia Dick, Daniel Murray and Amy Houser, ``Synthesis of
Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Technology Surveys'', Transportation
Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board No. 1969,
Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, DC
2006, pp 107-144.
``Safety technology systems such as lane departure warning,
forward radar, collision warning, adaptive cruise control,
rollover and stability control, and many others are being
investigated and promoted by FMCSA. In an effort to address
three primary crash types (rear-end collisions, road
departures, and lane change and merge collisions), FMCSA and
other agencies within the U.S. Department of Transportation are
working toward integration of collision avoidance systems for
This study documented and synthesized the major qualitative survey
efforts within the U.S. relating to stakeholder design, use and
perspectives of on-board safety technologies. An underlying finding of
this study was:
``Determination of ROI and a need for increased safety were the
two biggest factors associated with decisions to purchase
safety technologies according to two protocols. When assessing
the technology to determine its value and effectiveness once
installed, tangible safety benefits and ROI were again the two
most cited factors.''
This report further found that the prime motivations for
installations of safety technology among the motor carriers were--
reduce accidents (68 percent), lower insurance rates (52 percent),
assist drivers (40 percent), and lower maintenance costs (40 percent).
When motor carriers were asked ``what FMCSA could do to encourage
the development and deployment of these technologies,'' participants
``Offer tax incentives for the expense of the equipment.''
``Make technology more affordable.''
``Encourage public-private partnerships.''
A 2006 study by the American Transportation Research Institute
(ATRI) entitled ``Electronic On-Board Recorder Adoption in the Trucking
Industry: Issues and Opportunities'' \3\ found crucial indicators about
EOBR deployment including:
\3\ ``Electronic On-Board Recorder Adoption in the Trucking
Industry: Issues and Opportunities'', American Transportation Research
Institute, September 2006.
``. . . there is still a considerable dearth of research and
data scientifically linking the various components of the EOBR-
to-safety continuum. Ultimately, these research gaps form the
underlying basis for most industry concerns.''
``. . . numerous participants and respondents cited the need
for further documentation and justification of the relationship
between EOBRs and safety. As such, there is a significant need
for, and interest in, research that scientifically documents
the linear relationship between EOBRs, compliance, fatigue, and
``The study authors determined that EOBR benefits were
equally difficult to assess . . .'' This is likely due to the
lack of empirical data correlating the use of EOBRs with
reduced driver fatigue, which is a primary basis for IIHS and
other advocacy groups to advocate for the technology mandate.
(Editor's Note: IIHS is the Insurance Institute for Highway
``EOBR usage is typically rationalized as a compliance tool
by both users and nonusers, rather than a safety management
``Ultimately, what is needed is a large-scale study that
causally (correlationally at minimum) links the relationship of
fatigue to safety, and the successful management thereof by HOS
``Cost, privacy, and the lack of safety nexus are the
primary barriers to industry support of EOBR usage and
ATA Policy on Electronic on Board Recorders (EOBRS) Adopted October
1. There should be sound, consensus-based evidence that EOBR use
leads to enhanced fleet safety performance by such means as accident
rate reduction and improved compliance, therefore, increasing the
credibility of EOBR systems as a cost-effective technology for motor
Explanation: An EOBR mandate should be based on widely accepted
substantiation that the devices and their support systems result in
safety, cost and management advantages for carrier rather than be a
consequence of political decisionmaking.
FMCSA should produce persuasive evidence that EOBR use will reduce
fatigue-related accidents and thereby improve truck safety. It should
not be presumed that there is a correlation between electronic
recording and accident reduction. It must be documented. A belief that
use of these recorders will improve compliance does not substantiate a
conclusion of accident mitigation. The agency will need to provide
research and data that shows that improved driver compliance, leads to
safer performance and a decrease in accident occurrence.
2. EOBR systems should be based on the minimal, functional and
performance specifications necessary to accurately record and report
HOS compliance and assure reliability and utility of operation.
Explanation: Design and operational requirements and their
recording, reporting and communication systems should be the basic
elements that are needed to dependably replace manual logbooks.
What the industry needs are uniform, minimum performance criteria
for EOBR devices and systems, which provides for flexibility in the
design and delivery to the market. If EOBRs are to be further utilized,
the emphasis should be on performance criteria rather than design
specifications. Additionally, there needs to be specific criteria for
what data should be collected and stored in an EOBR. It would be in the
best interest of motor carriers, FMCSA, and enforcement personnel to
define the minimum records of duty status (RODS) format and support
system. This would help to remove all ambiguity between the different
manufacturers and service providers, increase the basic utility of
EOBRs for trucking companies, and improve the efficiency of the
auditing process. Without consistent and recognizable guidelines for
EOBR devices and systems, questions related to utility, reliability,
tamper-resistance, accuracy, durability, and effectiveness will be
3. Statutory protections should be afforded to motor carriers
pertaining to the control and ownership of generated data and to assure
the privacy rights of drivers.
Explanation: Federal policy should support and clarify that motor
carriers are the owners of, and have exclusive control over the data.
Government policy needs to support data privacy. Without certain
protections afforded to motor carriers, the shadow of external access
could serve as a disincentive to motor carrier investment. In the case
of EOBRs, there needs to be statutory protections for the control,
ownership, admissibility, and discovery of generated data. To help
minimize concerns and central to greater acceptance, the motor carrier
must be recognized as the entity that has sole ownership of the EOBR
data. To comply with and enforce the HOS rules, those granted access to
this data should be a very limited list composed only of the motor
carrier and the agents it designates, FMCSA officials, authorized state
enforcement personnel, and, possibly, representatives of the National
Transportation Safety Board for the purposes of post-incident
4. Drivers shall be responsible for operating the EOBR in full
compliance with all applicable regulations.
Explanation: Recordings are for verification of drivers' HOS
compliance. Drivers make these entries and should, therefore, be held
responsible for the accuracy of the entries they make. Drivers are in
the driver seat and must comply with the HOS requirements.
Drivers currently complete the manual record of duty status or logs
for HOS compliance. Therefore, drivers must therefore be held
responsible for correctly making entries into electronic on-board
5. Any EOBR regulation must address the operational diversity of
the trucking industry, continue existing exceptions to the record of
duty status, and consider additional exemptions that balance compliance
and the evolving industry diversity.
Explanation: If there is sufficient justification to exempt
operational portions of the industry and HOS compliance can be pre-
determined (e.g., Less-than-Truckload (LTL), terminal to terminal
routes), such operations should not be mandated to use EOBRs. Other
exceptions currently granted by FMCSA from logbooks should be
There are industry segments and types of operations that have
expressed more concern than others regarding a potential, future
requirement for EOBR use. Some ATA members that operate in the LTL
segment fall into this category. LTL carriers typically operate with a
hub and spoke system using pickup and delivery drivers in a local area
(i.e., they are typically 100 air-mile radius drivers), and in line-
haul operations with drivers moving freight over a longer distance
between company terminals. LTL line-haul drivers operate in a tightly
controlled, closely supervised manner between terminals. In most cases
the terminals of LTL carriers are strategically located to not only
service customers, but to ensure that the regularly scheduled movements
of freight are made in compliance with the HOS rules. Some of these LTL
carriers see little or no compliance and safety performance benefit, of
imposing a more complex HOS recording system. Also, it is believed that
drivers and operations that are not currently subject to the logbook
requirements should be treated similarly in regards to EOBR usage.
These include 100 air-mile radius drivers, drivers in the state of
Hawaii, and certain drivers in agricultural operations.
6. Motor carriers using compliant EOBRs should be relieved of the
burden of retaining supporting documents for HOS compliance and
Explanation: If a compliant EOBR system is used, HOS supporting
documents should no longer be required. This should reduce compliance
costs and serve as a strong incentive for carriers to adopt such
There has been a series of rulemaking by FMCSA on what records are
needed to verify the recordings made by drivers on HOS logs. The most
recent being a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in November
3, 2004. There is significant driver and motor carrier commitment in
keeping the verifications. ATA estimates that the total annual
requirement for industry to implement the proposed November 2004 rule
would be about 258 million driver and motor carrier paperwork manhours.
The potential overall costs could be over $5 billion annually. If FMCSA
provides allowances in the electronic generation and storage of data
through the use of EOBRS, there could be substantial savings in
operational time and expenses.
7. Any EOBR mandate, if instituted, should be made simultaneously
applicable to all vehicles of the affected population of motor
carriers, it should avoid any implementation inequities identified, and
take measures to eliminate them.
Explanation: If EOBR adoption is required, it should be on all
carriers large and small within the regulated industry segment at the
same time. (The regulated segment may include exemptions for a part of
the industry such as proposed in ATA provision #5.)
Many ATA members have communicated that any proposed future EOBR
requirement should not treat large and small motor carriers
differently. To propose a requirement where only trucking companies of
a certain size must implement EOBR systems will permit these exempted
carriers to operate at an economic advantage and therefore permit them
to provide service at a lower cost. The same is true if a future
proposal suggests that large motor carriers would have to implement
EOBRs on a more accelerated timeline than small motor carriers. Small
and large motor carriers should receive the same consideration in any
future rulemaking proposal.
8. Any EOBR regulation that takes an incentive-based approach
should allow for reasonable and defensible flexibility in the HOS rules
for drivers and motor carriers.
Explanation: A rule encouraging the use of EOBRs should be based on
adaptable HOS regulations.
An example of one aspect where of flexibility in the HOS rules
could serve to be an incentive is in regards to the sleeper berth
exemption. ATA members have stated difficulty in complying with the
2005 changes in regards to this provision, particularly, associated
with team drivers. ``Sleeper-berth'' flexibility, if EOBRs were used,
could serve as an added incentive, particularly, for truckload
9. Tax incentives should be pursued as a means to facilitate
adoption of EOBR systems.
Explanation: There should be tax incentives (e.g., credits) in
Federal legislation to encourage carrier investment in EOBRs and to
off-set the cost of purchasing EOBR devices and associated support
Tax credits would serve to encourage motor carriers to invest in
Costs Associated with Implementation of EOBRs \4\
\4\ Costs were identified by ATA's membership and included in
written submissions to FMCSA in response to the Advanced Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking on Electronic On-Board Recorders for Hours-of-
Service Compliance, Docket No. FMCSA-2004-18940, American Trucking
Associations, Inc., November 30, 2004 and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
on Electronic On-Board Recorders for Hours-of-Service Compliance,
Docket No. FMCSA2004-18940, American Trucking Associations, Inc., April
Airtime for transmission of data and retrieval of records
(or data cartridge extraction and transfer).
Technical demands that EOBR usage places on drivers.
Training program development.
Driver training in EOBR usage.
Training for manual HOS log entry in the event of EOBR
Back office manpower and training in EOBR system usage.
Training of field enforcement officers in relative aspects
of EOBR device(s) and system(s).
Computer capabilities and redundancy.
External report generation.
Inspection, maintenance and repairs and required
Calibration of devices.
Potential truck downtime.
Future hardware and software upgrades and future
Costs for some fleets of moving from existing systems to new
systems meeting the requirement (i.e., stranded investments).
Senator Lautenberg. Thank you very much.
Mr. Olson, we'd be pleased to hear from you.
STATEMENT OF RICHARD G. OLSON, CEO,
FIL-MOR EXPRESS, INC.
Mr. Olson. Thank you. My name is Richard Olson. I own FIL-
MOR Express, in Cannon Falls, Minnesota.
We've got--our good Senator from Minnesota here--we have
174 tractors and 234 drivers. We voluntarily installed a
logging system in our trucks. We studied the system, starting
back in July of 2005. We bought--the first company that we
investigated, we bought their system, and ran it for about 5
months, and my colleague Michelle, who is very astute at the IT
side of this business, researched all of the vendors that we
could find, and we saw many of them going wanting.
We discovered a small company in Salt Lake City. The name
is DriverTech, which is not a household word for anybody in
this room, I don't think. We'll show you some things that, I
think, could halfway amaze you. We voluntarily put these in our
trucks. We started them about a year and a half ago. We ran
them with dual logs, with paper logs and with the device that
we're currently operating. January 1 of this year, we went
full-blown with all of our trucks, and we're 100 percent active
with the--I call them paperless logs, electronic logs. And our
results have been outstanding.
And what we've seen, in all of the carriers that we've
talked to, big and small, that calls her on a regular basis and
say, ``How do you do that?'' And she tells them. Or they want
to know how we can get the kind of success that we've had.
In the last 2 weeks, we've had zero violations with all of
our trucks. We've had 26 violations, total, since the first of
the year; many of those, for a minute and 22 seconds, 4
minutes, 2 minutes and 16 seconds. You can't draw a line on a
paper log today to reflect that kind of a difference.
Having said that, we'll show you how we do it.
By the way, we have a electronic presentation that we've
been doing with the state patrols around the country and with
the local DOT representatives, and Michelle will do a second
presentation with the Minnesota State Patrol on May 9th to do
an in-service with all the State Troopers.
They're enthused with what they see. They are impressed
with the accuracy. And the accuracy is there, and it comes from
what you see in front of you. We've got a computer--the same
kind of a computer that you may have on your office desk today
to start with, it's Windows XP, 400 gigabytes on the hard
drive, 256 of RAM, 1 gigahertz processor, and there are 15
ports. And we'll show you exactly what the device looks like.
But in our presentation with the state patrols and the
DOT--our regulators, that we're dealing with, when we show them
what this will do, they see this kind of a device--the three
ports that you see on that picture, run three cameras. And we
do. We can shine a camera down the right side of the truck in
the so-called blind spot that everybody deals with. I have a
major beer customer that told us that we were having trouble
with shifting loads, and we loaded our little camera in the
front end, closed the doors. It was infrared technology.
There's a little thing called a ``graph,'' that measured the
shake of the trailer forward, back, up and down, and then we
coordinated it with this, and pinged the truck every 3 minutes,
so we knew exactly when that load shifted, or didn't. We knew
the exact location. And this technology, as Dr. McCartt said
earlier, this is a day in the United States that we've got this
kind of technology, whether it's iPods or whatever, and we're
carrying this around in our truck. I'll show you, in a few
minutes, it's not expensive.
Senator Lautenberg. How much?
Mr. Olson. I'll show you, in just a moment. I'm sorry,
Senator. I've got a chart that shows how we arrive at that.
In addition to the cameras, we can run ports that measure
the pressure and temperature of the tires going down the road
at each wheel position. This is better than iPods, by the way.
The rubber that you see on the road, you have lower inflation
in the tires, you have poorer fuel economy, you possibly can
prevent an accident, you can clearly stop the tire from going
flat on the road. That data, when it reads on the screen with
the driver, gets transmitted into our dispatch office and to
our shop, and technically we could see the truck pull into a
filling station or a truckstop and we could see the inflation
on that tire going up. This is what we can do today.
Everybody knows what Wal-Mart is doing with devices that
measure inventory, RFID. We've got this tag, that's now being
installed--we've got 20 of them that are on the truck. We've
done the programming, and we've got the antenna coming out of
our box that you saw earlier. And this will have the trailer
number loaded on this RFID in the front of the trailer It will
download the data, the trailer number, to the driver's log,
which is required; it'll download into dispatch and show which
trailer the driver has. If he was told to pick up trailer
number 4000, and he backs into trailer number 5000, it says,
``You've got the wrong trailer.'' Now, I've told this story to
many of our friends in the trucking industry that are trying to
see how this thing works, and I say, ``There isn't anybody in
the industry who hasn't shipped a trailer to New York when it's
supposed to be in Los Angeles.'' And everybody laughs. And
the--one large company said, ``Yes, and the one in New York is
empty.'' I mean, the reason it's funny is, it happens. And here
is the technology, right here, that can help prevent those kind
Senator Lautenberg. Thank you. Can you wrap up with that
Mr. Olson. Wow. Yes. We can also do seatbelt monitoring.
Did I go over the 5 minutes already? I'm sorry, I wasn't--
Senator Lautenberg. Well, time flies when you're having
Mr. Olson. Yes. Yes, it does.
Mr. Olson. We've got a potential of doing seatbelt
monitoring. The Federal law says that a truck driver has to be
wearing a seatbelt. The officers that we talk with on a regular
basis say the seatbelt monitor--or the seatbelt use is a big
factor in safety. If we can't convince the driver that he--
after he gets the sensor, we could put a camera on him. Now, we
don't want to do that. But we've got the ability to do and see
those kinds of things.
First of all, we're very happy with what's going on with
this. We think this is important, because we don't think
anybody in this room has seen this kind of technology out
there. We took the position, when we put this together with
DriverTech--and I heard people talk about that, earlier, in
this room today--that the issue was, how do you stop a
violation from happening? And that's exactly what we built into
our system. Everybody that came to us says, ``We'll give you a
list of your violations the next day.'' I don't want a list of
violations, I want the help built into this system that tells
the driver that he's got to stop in an hour, he's got to stop
in 30 minutes. If he logs in too early on his 10 hour rest, it
tells him, ``Don't log in. Don't start the truck,'' et cetera,
et cetera. So, we've started with that kind of a premise.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Olson follows:]
Prepared Statement of Richard G. Olson, CEO, FIL-MOR Express, Inc.
This is FIL-MOR Express Inc.'s follow up statement from the May 1,
2007 Hearing on Electronic On-Board Recorders and Truck Driver Fatigue.
Because of the relatively short presentation, the Committee suggested I
finish my testimony with written comments.
FIL-MOR Express is a voluntary user of EOBR's for our entire fleet
since January 2007. Our experience developing our current system since
July 2005 has shown us that there is a great deal of misunderstanding
by many parties including regulators, motor carriers both big and
small, enforcement and perhaps legislators.
Our experience developing our plan for the recorders has brought us
in contact with the various groups listed above, and our testimony
hopefully will shed some light on this very important safety subject.
There are four general areas I will speak to:
a. mandatory policy
c. substantial and reliable devices
d. statutory protection of data
The current proposal relies on a voluntary implementation coupled
with vigorous enforcement for a limited population with enforcement
issues. This direction is penalty driven for a small group of carriers
with no incentives for large scale participation. Presented as a
mandate more electronic manufacturers would participate, leading to
greater quality and technical equipment at a lower cost.
Clearly one of the major misunderstandings by all is the cost or
return of these devices for the carrier. Our experience has shown costs
reductions in transmission costs alone of $11,000.00 per month. In
addition we've eliminated one position for a total of $182,000 per year
or an 18 month payback for those two cost areas. The precise data we
now have has allowed us to reconfigure our routes and relay locations
to more than pay for our recorders in the first year.
With an incentive program for tax relief in the form of tax credits
or accelerated depreciation coupled with true incentives such
electronic matching of documents would help carriers bridge the
original investment gap. We did this on our own voluntarily. It was one
of the best decisions we've made! Clearly others would move more
quickly if mandated and incentives drove the proposal.
An additional misunderstanding and incentive is the accuracy and
control of the EBOR--that's good news! However, any voluntary user is
at a distinct disadvantage to the paper log user. The first 4\1/2\
months of 2007 FIL-MOR had 32 violations for all drivers. Sixty percent
were under 5 minutes. None of these violations would have shown up with
a paper log.
Interruptions during the 10 hour reset to move a trailer at a
customer, truckstop, or rest area is recorded electronically, but not
on paper. Fuel stops with paper are averaged at 15 minutes. Spotting a
trailer at a customer, or multiple deliveries in one city get logged
differently today. Carriers need a variance of some type to provide for
these experiences. We end up majoring in minors and lose site of the
overall benefits of the EOBR.
Further discussion and comments between carriers and regulators
need development as we learn from the accuracy of these devices as
compared to paper logs.
Another major misunderstanding is the adequacy of existing
technology. We researched the available equipment in the market and
found the specifications of 395.16 could not be met. However, through
our due diligence we found DriverTech in Salt Lake City with the basic
technology and skills to program 395.15 and 395.16. This equipment is
substantial and I'm confident it will meet the requirements of the
current proposal. On the other hand there are a number of devices on
the market that do not perform in an adequate way.
The final rules must spell out specific performance specifications
for the EOBR.
Finally a mandated proposal must provide statutory protection of
the data. A mandated proposal coupled with incentives and data
protection will alleviate the majority of carrier concerns and take
advantage of this huge safety opportunity!
FIL-MOR Express has been working with a small coalition of carriers
that share our views on highway safety. In each instance these carriers
are far more advanced than our company on this subject. They have
agreed to share their views with you through this statement. This small
group represents a substantial number of tractors and drivers, and
shows the deep interest shared by motor carrier fleets for the broad
support of the EOBR.
FIL-MOR Express, Inc.
Cannon Falls, MN.
Hon. John Hill,
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration,
Docket No. FMCSA-2004-18940; Electronic On-Board Recorders for
Hours-of-Service Compliance; Proposed Rule--RIN-2126-AA89
Dear Mr. Hill:
My name is Richard Olson, I am CEO of Fil-Mor Express, Cannon
Falls, Minnesota. We operate 174 tractors, 550 trailers, with 234
drivers. We've been in business about 25 years. July 2005, we
researched the market and looked at the major players offering EOBRs
and did not find anyone immediately that met Federal requirements.
In January 2006, we learned of a company that was in the
development stage with adequate controls and the precision to meet our
requirements. We learned we had to work closely with them since they
were an electronic company and did not understand fully all of the
hours-of-service requirements. We purchased their system in April of
2006 and worked closely with their programming and mechanical people
through October of 2006 when we installed 174 units in all of our
trucks. A substantial portion of the programming was completed. In
January 2007, after running a dual operation of paper logs and
electronic logs, we went ``paperless'' with the system on January 1,
2007. This was one of the best decisions our company has made.
The cost to own and operate this EOBR is outstanding with a payback
of about 12 months as currently configured. Added operational and
monitoring systems such as tire pressure and temperature monitoring by
each wheel position is now in test. The cost of safety benefits has not
yet been determined but we're expecting fuel and tire cost improvements
as well as safety improvements. The technology to monitor seat belt
compliance is a sensor and program away. One person buckled in and
saved is worth it, just ask any law enforcement officer.
Here are our comments regarding the NPRM Mandatory Compliance:
1. All EOBRs should be mandatory for all carriers regardless of
size. The present positioning of the rule targets a limited number of
vehicles which will have a minimum impact on safety and no real
incentives for voluntary participation. We voluntary participated with
no second thoughts. Positioned properly, this is a very large idea to
bring together a safety coalition of motor carrier industry
participants and Washington safety proponents. This would be a strong
and unusual coalition with congressional backing.
2. Equipment Specifications--FMCSA approved EOBRs should be
substantial with total accuracy, tamper proof, and tethered.
Specifications should also be mandated by FMCSA.
3. Mileage Exemptions--Docket No. FMCSA-2003-15818 provides an
exemption renewal for a 2 mile exemption. ``The FMCSA believes that
with the terms and conditions in place, ____ will maintain a level of
safety that is equivalent to or greater than, the level of safety that
would be obtained by complying with the requirements for written
4. We concur with the mileage exemption! Our operating experience
with the EOBR has given us insight into the total accuracy of a solidly
designed and built recorder. Here's what we've experienced:
A. The miles are recorded from the ABS system which flows
through the engine ECM. When the wheels turn, driving is
recorded. It's tamper proof with no way for a driver to change
it. It works!
B. A fuel stop moves to On Duty, Not Driving and actual fuel
time is recorded--not the 15 minutes paper log entries show. It
may be 6 minutes, 8 minutes, or 12 minutes.
C. If a driver is parked at a shipper or receiver on a 10 hour
break, and the customer asks the driver at anytime to back the
vehicle into the dock, the movement is detected, miles are
recorded, and the driver with an accurate EOBR is in violation
while a driver with a paper log at the next dock door backs in
and logs nothing. This is a competitive disadvantage for a
voluntary EOBR user. It happens!
D. The same situation develops at truck stops or rest areas if
the driver is asked or told to move. Is our driver less safe?
E. When a driver enters a receiver's yard and must move 3 or 4
limited times to position a trailer in a lot or at a door, the
grid becomes a 1/8" thick line on the recorder and the miles
are recorded on the EOBR. Who knows what the paper logs show?
0The point is the EOBR is so accurate as compared to the paper log
that the EOBR user is at a competitive disadvantage to a paper log
where in fact an exemption should be provided so as an incentive for
voluntary use. We feel strongly that a 1 percent total driving mileage
exemption should apply. As an example, a 550 mile driving day with the
exemption would be 5.5 miles which would equalize paper log
differentials and serve as an incentive.
Other incentives should include accelerated deprecation or tax
credits for further encouragement of use. I recognize the IRS would
have to be involved with those types of incentives but the dialogue
I read over 500 comments to the NPRM and the various studies in
your preamble. After operating our outstanding EOBR with the results
I've seen, I'm convinced there is a lack of factual understanding of
cost, opportunities, and accuracy of a well developed EOBR. It's the
best decision we've made and I encourage you to move this enormous
opportunity ahead for better safety.
Richard G. Olson,
Senator Lautenberg. Well, your testimony is compelling, and
I wish we had more time. Unfortunately, it would be unfair to
the others and to my colleague Senator Klobuchar, who we're
very proud of. She's a new member of the U.S. Senate. Also,
like you, Mr. Olson, she has lifted the spirits of the
environment that she's in, and we're pleased to see her here,
and would turn the program over to you.
STATEMENT OF HON. AMY KLOBUCHAR,
U.S. SENATOR FROM MINNESOTA
Senator Klobuchar. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman
and all of you. Welcome to the Committee.
I'm going to preside over the Senate, which is always an
honor, and so, I'm not going to be able to ask questions here.
But I just wanted to thank all of you for coming.
And I wanted to thank you, Mr. Olson. You would be glad to
know that another Minnesotan, Garrison Keillor, was here today,
and, as you talked, I thought of his words, ``Minnesota, where
the women are strong, the men are good looking, and all the
children are above average.'' You are clearly above average,
Mr. Olson, and I want to thank you for the good work that
Sadly, I was reading about the case, this morning, on the
computer, out in Minnesota, where the truck driver's truck had
overturned and hit a bus containing members of the Chippewa
band in Wisconsin, five of them were killed. The case went to
trial. He was acquitted. I don't know the details of the case
or what was right or wrong, but I know one of the allegations
was that he may have been tired. And I wanted to thank you for
being so proactive. And certainly, there must be a way to take
the work that you've done here and to look at how we can bring
these kind of safety measures throughout the industry.
And I will tell you, also, there have been some small-
business truckers that have called our office, concerned. And I
guess my opening question I'd ask of the panel before I have to
leave here is how you think that we could fashion this in a way
that would take account for the concerns of some of the small
business truckers. Any thoughts on that?
Mr. Gabbard. I would suggest that a minimally compliant
device that's been suggested in our notice of proposed
rulemaking comments and--is a way to address this. For a
trucker, a dollar spent has to be a dollar of income in the
truck, so they're very cost-conscious about investing in their
livelihood. And if you could put a cost-effective, minimally
compliant hours-of-service recording device in their truck, it
reduces the time that it takes to fill out the paper log
document. His time can be better spent driving the vehicle
rather than filling out a paper log. So, it's a cost-effective
And if the rule is properly deployed, it also will
potentially eliminate the supporting documents, which is a big
cost of doing business for a trucker.
Senator Klobuchar. And then, Mr. Olson, how much did you
say this costs per truck?
Mr. Olson. It was around a quarter of a million dollars,
the original purchase. It's--we started it in the first of
January of this year--it's completely paid for itself.
Senator Klobuchar. And how has it paid for itself?
Mr. Olson. Pardon me?
Senator Klobuchar. How has it paid for itself?
Mr. Olson. Yes.
Senator Klobuchar. How has it paid----
Mr. Olson. The--first of all, the transmission time in the
system that we had before was a satellite transmission, and the
DriverTech--my cost per month went from $14,500 a month to
$3,500. Big amount of money. It saved one labor position,
because somebody wasn't sorting through paper logs all day
long. And the analysis that we can now do as to what our routes
look like, I--it was a large amount of money, I'll put it that
way. It was greater than we spent--and this just happened in
the last 10 days.
Senator Klobuchar. Thank you very much.
Mr. Reiser. Senator, if I could address your first
question, there, that you asked of the panel, just briefly, I
think one thing that would help in getting the small truckers
interested in the technology and using it is if they were--if
they could see, and were convinced, that there is a true safety
benefit, in terms of accident reduction from using the
technology. I think there's a great deal of apprehension and
skepticism that rigid adherence to the hours-of-service will
result in reduced accidents on the highway. And I think if they
were convinced of that, they would be much more willing to move
towards that technology.
Senator Klobuchar. Thank you very much.
Senator Lautenberg. Thanks, Senator Klobuchar, for being
with us. Mr. Olson, we appreciate your views considering you
have a relatively small company but, in terms of equipment, et
cetera, it's a pretty good-sized operation. And we admire the
fact that you got into this thing with so much gusto, if I can
call it that. And the results that you talk about are very
Now, compared to Mr. Reiser's company experience, in which
I'd say, Mr. Reiser, if I understood your testimony correctly,
you were not very excited about the results obtained. Am I
correct in that assessment?
Mr. Reiser. No----
Senator Lautenberg. Because I didn't hear you say--I
thought you said very little by way of safety evidence, very
little by--very little advantage here, there, and everywhere.
And I wonder what the difference is.
Mr. Reiser. Senator, that--actually, my comment was limited
to seeing a direct result in accident reduction as a result of
using the technology. We have achieved a--an excellent driver
out-of-service number. Our number, on a percentage basis, runs
about 1.5 percent. The national average is 6.8 percent. So, in
terms of compliance, which is, you know, a significant factor
to our business, we are very compliant with the hours-of-
service rule. So, that's certainly a benefit to us. If we get a
compliance review, our drivers are doing a good job. It's also,
I think, a benefit to us that we are controlling the hours-of-
service from the standpoint of accident litigation. That's a
positive for us, that we don't have the situation where some
companies find themselves with a driver who is seriously over
on the hours-driving time, at the time of the accident, because
we're doing a better job--we're able to control that on the
front end. So, we do see some benefits.
But my--the distinction I guess I'm trying to make is we
have not been able to say, ``Because we put this in, we are
seeing a better accident rate than we were before.''
Senator Lautenberg. So, essentially, you're saying that
fatigue, et cetera, hours-of-service, as far as you can see, it
doesn't improve safety records. So, should we discard all this
and say, ``Look, it doesn't matter''? I mean, if compliance is
your mission, that's a different goal than I would have
imagined, because obeying the rules is usually good for your
health and well-being.
Mr. Olson, we learned a very sad lesson in the State of New
Jersey a couple of weeks ago, when my dear friend, and our
Governor, was in a very serious accident, and he wasn't wearing
his seatbelt and was seriously injured as a result. So, we put
the two together, anyway and----
So, Dr. McCartt, what do you think of the little dialogue
that we just had here?
Dr. McCartt. Well, I think one--first of all, I would say
Senator Lautenberg. Push your button, please.
Dr. McCartt. First of all, I would agree with comments
several people have made. It's very difficult to determine
whether or not a particular crash involved fatigue. And I think
a problem with looking at on-board recorders and seeing a
difference in crashes is that, as you've heard today, the
carriers who are using these devices tend to have good safety
records already. And so, you know, it's--if they're already
obeying the rules, and already have low crash rates, then it
may be the case that on-board recorders won't make a
But I guess the other thing I would say is that the purpose
of on-board recorders is to have people follow the work rules.
And it's the Institute's belief, and many others' belief that
the work rules already allow very arduous schedules. And we can
argue about the percentage of crashes due to fatigue, but I
don't think there's any debate about the fact that fatigue in
truck crashes is a significant factor. And so, we've developed
these work rules to try to address fatigue. And the purpose of
recorders, again, is to achieve compliance with that. So, I
don't think the burden of proof really should be that the
recorders reduce crashes, per se, because we know there's
fatigue, we know that the work rules already, even if they're
followed legally, are very arduous.
Senator Lautenberg. Mr. Gabbard, what do you think?
Mr. Gabbard. I would like to add a comment that the system
that Mr. Olson is talking about--and, I believe, the systems
that Mr. Reiser is running in his fleet--are a somewhat more
complicated and much more extensive system than a minimally
compliant EOBR device would be. An hours-of-service recording
device is intended to record time and distance and location.
It's not dealing with some of the other functions that could be
put into a fleet management system, because there is still a
lot of confusion about a fleet management system and a
minimally compliant electronic hours-of-service recording
device. They're two different beasts.
A minimally compliant device has to be--in order to be
effective, it has to be standardized. The systems that we're
talking about--and you can just--and Mr. Olson's system, which
is quite extravagant and extensive in its functionality--is
beyond what a minimally compliant hours-of-service recording
device is perceived to be. I'm not saying that those benefits
are not good, because they're outstanding. He's making a
significant contribution to road safety and driver safety. But
he's somewhat unique in that characteristic.
But I would say there is a minimally compliant, simple
device to replace paper logbooks and to get a tamperproof
system in place to eliminate the paper logbooks that are
sometimes referred to in the industry as comic books.
Senator Lautenberg. I think that the most important thing
with compliance is to improve safety, it's not simply to
regulate behavior. It's to regulate behavior--for what reason?
And the reason is to make the roads safer. And so, whether it's
as elaborate a system as you suggest--that Mr. Olson says, or
the one that's simpler, plainer, that you have, the fact is
that whatever brings about compliance can't help but bring
around improved safety, reduce risks for those on the highway.
We're stunned when we hear about rear-ending a car, as we had
in New Jersey, a little SUV, a woman and two children, and a
truck came down the hill, the driver not paying attention, for
whatever reason, just killed the three of them. These are such
painful things to observe. And when you take these behemoths,
these big trucks, 10,000 pounds and over, coming down and not
being sure that the driver of the vehicle is in good shape a la
hours of work, not extended beyond one's ability to think
clearly--look at what happens with pilots. I mean, they don't
want pilots up there, because they know that there is a fatigue
factor that enters in with too much time spent at the stick,
And, in terms of tamperproof, I was just in a visit out-of-
state, and I was introduced to an operation that had 400
employees. Now, before I came to the Senate, I ran a company; I
was co-founder of a company called ADP, pretty big-sized
company today, and our specialty was payroll. And I know that
the company now processes payroll for some 35 million people
every pay period. The figure's enormous. And what I saw at this
company that I visited, they had a handprint for timecards.
Very simple. Put it down, and nobody else could use that
timecard. And it's readily available. This is a nice-sized
company, but these are not people who are billionaires or
whatever. And so, they bought these machines to make sure that
the recording was easier. And if that can be so easily--an
identifier for people, that there are things that you can do
that would make these things fairly tamperproof.
Dr. McCartt, does the insurance industry offer lower
insurance rates or any other benefits to trucking companies
that use the EOBR systems?
Dr. McCartt. I can't really address that. Our Institute--I
can't answer that question. The Institute does research, and
disseminates the research. We're funded by insurers, but we're
not involved in the business--their business----
Senator Lautenberg. Anybody else have any commentary about
that? Insurance rates? No?
Mr. Gabbard, you would----
Mr. Gabbard. I'm aware of a fleet in the United States that
has reduced their insurance rates by installing a European
version of this device, which has been referred to in this
testimony as a tachograph. They have chosen to go self-insured,
because their results from running the system has proven to be
extremely beneficial, except for major liability insurance.
They dropped a lot of their actuarial carrier insurance, so
that particular fleet claims to be saving quite a few dollars
in insurance rates, because he feels he's modified the behavior
of this drivers.
Senator Lautenberg. Yes. I think you said, earlier, that if
the systems were used more universally in the United States,
that the prices would come down substantially. Is that correct?
Mr. Gabbard. Yes, our assumption is, if you create a broad
market you can attract enough competitive electronic
manufacturers, such as ourselves, to the marketplace, that the
law of supply and demand will weigh in, and, therefore, the
price of the device will go down with time. As long as the
people are meeting the minimal design requirements and meeting
the specifications of the regulation.
Senator Lautenberg. What does the recorder that your
company makes cost?
Mr. Gabbard. Today, because the market does not exist in
the United States, we are not producing a device nor selling a
device, because the market, in theory, for a minimally
compliant device really does not exist. There is a market for
fleet management systems, and there are a lot of very competent
suppliers that are supplying those to the industry.
We would project, based upon some limited--based upon the
understanding of what the rule is requiring today, which
requires GPS for location, and requires wireless messaging
capability. That we would be able to sell the device in the
marketplace for $450.
Senator Lautenberg. And the----
Mr. Gabbard. That's what we would project----
Senator Lautenberg. And the cost for wireless operational--
like that of a telephone or anything else is----
Mr. Gabbard. Yes, that adds costs to the system. As we know
with our telephone, the cost of buying the hardware is the
beginning of your cost----
Senator Lautenberg. Sure.
Mr. Gabbard.--with any wireless tool, because you're going
to pay your monthly fees----
Senator Lautenberg. Yes.
Mr. Gabbard.--to maintain that system on the airways.
Senator Lautenberg. Yes. Well, once you buy the fishing
pole, then the cost starts going up. If you----
Mr. Gabbard. Unfortunately, that's true.
Senator Lautenberg. The--Mr. Gabbard, many have said that
that FMCA's analysis of costs and benefits of using electronic
on-board recordings is flawed. Do you believe that their cost-
benefit analysis for these devices under this rule is accurate?
Mr. Gabbard. I believe the--what they've chosen to use as
their foundation is accurate data, but I do not feel that they
have followed enough of the marketplace and really paid
attention to the ATRI study, which was done about 2 years ago.
This study did a good cross-section study of data, of potential
devices that were available, and, therefore, they chose to use
a higher price point for the function. That price point does
exist in the marketplace for a fleet management system, but the
price point that's used in that analysis is not a minimally
compliant hours-of-service recording device. We are confusing
two basic tools, a fleet management system and an hours-of-
service recording device, or, as this industry is referring to
it, as an EOBR.
Senator Lautenberg. I thank all of you for your testimony.
You've been very helpful, to me anyway, and, I think, to the
Subcommittee and to the Committee, in terms of focusing in on
this problem, because the problem certainly exists, whether the
system to put a check on it, to reduce these horrible accidents
that do occur, when there are 5,000 of them in a year, that's
far, far too many than what we should have to deal with. So, we
thank you all.
And, with that, this Subcommittee hearing is concluded.
[Whereupon, at 4:20 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Prepared Statement of Joe Rajkovacz, Member, Board of Directors,
Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association
EOBRs Are No Better Than Paper Logs for Ensuring Hours-of-Service (HOS)
The hours-of-service rules require a record to be kept of both
driving time and all non-driving work activity (waiting to load and
unload, inspecting/repairing the truck, performing the loading and
unloading, looking for the next load, receiving a dispatch, doing
paperwork, performing compensated work at another job, etc.) Even
though an EOBR can record how long someone has operated a truck, if the
driver does not manually enter his non-driving work time into the EOBR,
the EOBR will show the driver as available to drive when he is not
under the HOS rules! In fact, EOBRs will still permit someone
performing compensated work for a person other than the motor carrier
to drive, without showing a violation.
EOBRs Do Not Address the Cause of Driver Fatigue: Economic Pressure
Drivers do not always know in advance how much uncompensated time a
shipper or receiver will demand of them. Nor do drivers always know
whether they will be expected to do the physical work of loading or
unloading their truck or whether there will be proper equipment to do
the job. Many drivers are forced to spend between 18 and 44 hours per
week at the loading docks. How can drivers facing such wild cards be
expected to plan their work/rest schedule and manage their fatigue?
The majority of drivers are paid either a flat amount per load-
hauled, a percentage of freight charges or per mile-driven. Working
under such an unpredictable schedule, some drivers must minimize the
recording of their non-driving work in order to drive enough to make a
basic living. EOBRs will do nothing to address these problems. And as
described above, they will permit drivers to manage this problem as
they always have--not logging all of their on-duty, not-driving time.
If, on the other hand, driver compensation were correlated to both the
amount of driving and the amount of non-driving work performed, not
only would the incentive to maximize driving time be eliminated, but
drivers would have a powerful incentive to log every hour of non-
driving work required of him or her.
EOBRs Can Be Used To Exacerbate Driver Fatigue
As FMCSA touted in its proposed rule, EOBRs will permit motor
carriers to monitor, in real-time, the location and duty-status of
their drivers. Carriers will be able to notice whenever a driver has
stopped the truck during their on-duty time. Perhaps the driver has
decided to take a break and get rest. Such breaks do not suspend the
running of the 14 hour work-day under the HOS rules. The carrier will
be able to instantly instruct the driver to return to the road and
maximize his or her driving time. Carriers will also be able to
instruct drivers, whenever they want, to log their on-duty, not-driving
work as off-duty, thereby preserving their on-duty driving time. Both
practices remove what little discretion drivers have today to resist
the economic pressure discussed above.
Mandating EOBRs Would Be an Unconstitutional Invasion of Privacy
Truck drivers are widely offended by the invasion of privacy
presented by 24 hour a day electronic monitoring by EOBRs of, for many,
their home away from home. The use of EOBRs would be a warrantless
search prohibited by the U.S. Constitution. An EOBR mandate for HOS
enforcement would not pass the Supreme Court's standards for a search
of a pervasively regulated business or a search under the special needs
exception in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. Truck drivers feel as
though EOBRs represent the government's categorical ``sentencing'' of
thousands of persons to the ``wearing'' of electronic ankle bracelets
without suspicion, probable cause, due process or any finding of
OOIDA encourages lawmakers to seek solutions to motor carrier
safety issues that are much less intrusive and much more effective:
mandating comprehensive driver training, resolving problems at the
loading docks, revising methods of driver compensation, creating more
flexible hours-of-service rules, and providing adequate truck parking
in those areas around the country where drivers who wish to rest cannot
find such parking today.
(See ``Rigs Keep On Trucking, Searching for Parking'' the The Wall
Street Journal, page B1, May 1, 2007)
Testimony of Joe Rajkovacz
I was an Owner-Operator for over two decades. I owned both my truck
and trailer and lease them along with my driving services to a motor
carrier. I was also a representative of a group of owner-operators who
collectively haul a majority of America's fresh foods. Meat, dairy
products, and produce are primary examples of what I would haul. I love
what I did. However, I also hated what I did. Unfortunately, this
testimony outlines what it is I hated in the industry. It is abuse of
truckers at loading docks around this country and by implication, why
many truckers do not account for time spent unloading or loading in the
I appreciate the Committee reviewing my testimony and look forward
to any opportunity to interact with Committee Members and staff on
these critically important trucking issues. I believe it would have
been prudent for the Committee to first explore the substantial and
overwhelming problems facing truck drivers in complying with the hours-
of-service rules, which I have detailed in the below testimony.
Hopefully my testimony will shed some light on these critical issues,
in light of the fact that it appears the Committee may have jumped to
the conclusion that Electronic On-Board Recording Devices (EOBRs) are
the solution to the problems truckers face. I trust that future
hearings will involve the voice of the professional truckers.
Although my testimony may be anecdotal in nature, what happens to
truckers has a profound effect on highway safety, driver health, and
our country's economy. Loading and unloading abuse begins at the point
of dispatch for a driver. Often, the schedules given to me were not
achievable within the Federal hours-of-service regulations. Most
shippers and receivers require appointments for loading and unloading.
They tell truckers when to arrive and are not concerned whether a
driver can do it legally. They utilize a form of hidden coercion.
For example, I may have been required to make an appointment no
earlier than 8 AM on a given Monday. But, they wanted me there at 2
a.m. If I said that won't work, they'd respond that the next available
date for delivery is Wednesday--an extra 2 days for which their load
will sit on my truck, but I receive no extra compensation. Thus, I am
compelled to accept a time I knowingly cannot make legally. Remember,
most truckers are paid by the mile or by a percentage of whatever a
load pays, not by the hour.
Earlier last year, I was given a delivery schedule spanning 22.5
hours to drop part of my freight at six different locations. After 22.5
hours, I was scheduled to drive 800 miles to the next morning's
appointment. Federal regulation only allows me to be on duty for
fourteen consecutive hours at which time I must take a 10 hour break. I
objected to the scheduling and was told the usual, ``do the best you
can.'' I was not told, ``sorry Joe, do it legally.'' Upon leaving my
terminal, my mood was flustered and my anxiety level was high, because
I knew I was ``screwed'' with an impossible schedule.
The majority of truckers are very conscientious about appointments.
They know to miss an appointment can yield a fine by the shipper or
receiver and being rescheduled to another day. An increasing number of
receivers are imposing ``late fees'' for missed appointment times. The
charge is usually $150. To wait for another day would mean more
uncompensated time away from the family. That is a great motivator to
be on-time regardless of the regulations. Everyone in this room has
been late for work at one time or another for reasons beyond your
control. Traffic accidents, bad weather and vehicle break-downs are
primary examples. Your employer may take action against you if a
pattern develops. However, none of you risk losing a day's pay because
you got caught behind an accident. Truckers do. The stress to make
schedules is immense on drivers. Fines and rescheduled appointments for
days late are an unconscionable burden imposed by shippers and
receivers. It is ironic that when I showed up on-time to deliver, for
example, three pallets of freight, and 5 hours later I finally left the
dock, the same receiver threatened me with ``late fees'' and refused to
pay me for my wasted time. Neither the FMCSA nor Congress has studied
this issue or searched for solutions in over twenty-five years.
Delays in unloading cause a cascade effect where other appointments
are missed. The primary cause of unloading delays is that time spent at
a dock does not represent a cost to the receiver. They have no economic
incentive to use drivers' time productively. Their trucks become
rolling and sitting warehouses with the driver spending as much time
babysitting the freight as moving it from point to point. It is a huge
inefficiency in our economy, favoring shippers and receivers.
At the beginning of last year, I made two deliveries to a
distribution center in Anniston, Alabama. The first time I was to
deliver two pallets of cottage cheese and the second time I had only
one pallet, of all of the pallets on my truck. I was on-time for both
appointments. I spent 6.5 hours and 4.75 hours respectively to deliver
that freight. That is 11.25 hours for three pallets of freight. I was
not paid for that excessive time and caused me to miss other
appointments. How is this productive for me or our economy?
An absolute maxim of economic theory is, ``if something is free, it
will be used to excess, regardless of the hidden costs.'' There are
hidden costs. Drivers do not account for those hours as I described
because they are not paid for them. Because EOBRs require manual input
from a driver to account for such time, drivers will still be able to
continue to not log this time, mostly as a result of subtle coercive
pressure from motor carriers, shippers, and receivers. Drivers
sacrifice their health putting in 20 hour days because of an
inequitable system that quietly coerces them to do so. EOBRs will not
affect this coercion.
Most receivers I frequented required me to enter their property
through a security gate. They scheduled the appointments and grouped
more trucks together than they could unload during a given time. Trucks
are usually not allowed on the property until 1 hour prior to an
appointment. This creates bottle-necks of trucks in line at the same
time. I have spent hours, just creeping forward to the gate, waiting
for my turn at the guard shack, only to get there and be told I am
late. This time is never logged. The receiver has no incentive to use
my time productively, because my time is free.
When I finally arrived at the receiving office all of those trucks
ahead of me at the gate were now in line ahead of me at the single
receiving window to check in. A particular receiver in Puyallup,
Washington, requires all drivers to check in at 2 a.m. I have spent
hours standing in line, outside in a cold drizzle, snaking my way in
line to the one receiving window. No drivers report this waste of time,
because they are not paid for it. Hopefully, once I checked in with the
receiver I'd be given a dock assignment. Unfortunately, because of
over-booking and unproductive use of truckers ahead of me, I'd have to
wait for a dock to become available for 1, 2, 3, and 8 or more hours.
I've experienced it all. I'm on-time, yet I sit. No driver accounts for
these delays in their log books, and they won't be accounted for on
Finally, I'd back in, ready to unload my freight. However, the
receiver would not use their powered equipment to remove my pallets
unless I paid their employees to unload their own freight. In the
grocery distribution business, drivers are an easy target and a profit
center for the receiver. Nearly every grocery chain in America plays
this game. Grocery distribution centers contract with unloading
services drivers call ``lumpers.'' Lumping services never have one
person for each dock maybe one for every five docks.
To keep from totally running afoul of the law, the receiver may
make a manual hand-jack available for a driver to pull pallets off the
trailer onto their dock. However, they may have only one jack for
twenty doors, or worse, the jack is so decrepit that its unusable.
Drivers are given a choice without a distinction and coerced into
paying for unloading.
An average pallet of freight often exceeds 2,000 pounds. This
represents a physical impracticality for most drivers to manually
remove. If a driver is lucky enough to have a load called a ``straight
pull' (the palletized freight simply needs to be pulled from the
trailer and placed on the dock and counted) unloading by manual pallet
jack can takes hours.
The situation is worse if a load needs to be ``broken-down''.
Break-downs represent the majority of freight I hauled. I performed
this task myself or hired the lumpers to do it. An example of a break-
down is palletized butter that I haul. The shipper stacked it four
boxes high on the pallet, but the receiver wanted one or two boxes
taken off and placed on a separate pallet. If I could not do the break
down, I had to pay a lumper a minimum of $45 for one pallet. This would
often lead to a cost of hundreds of dollars for an entire trailer load.
That is a steep enough price to make me labor for endless hours on a
dock to avoid paying for unloading. Drivers spend many hours engaged in
physical labor on docks and do not record any of that time against
hours-of-service. It is because drivers are not paid.
It is the classic catch 22 situation. Comply with Federal
regulations, burning hours for no compensation. A driver can hide that
time wasted at docks so that a he has hours left for driving, where the
money is made.
Some in Washington believe that mandating electronic on-board
recorders (EOBRs) will stop this coerced driver behavior. Supporters
include those without experience driving a truck, motor carriers who
seek to use EOBRs to maximize the efficiency of their fleet, and of
course, EOBR equipment manufacturers. None are truck drivers.
An EOBR is dependent on a driver's input. If he is not paid for all
the above mentioned wasted time he will not start the EOBR until
loading or unloading is completed, thus saving hours for driving. All
of this has obvious repercussions on highway safety, driver health and
our economy. Another economic axiom is, ``there are no free lunches.''
Truckers pay a huge hidden price with their health for this abuse at
docks. Now they are being asked to bear the additional burden of EOBRs,
an unconstitutional invasion of their privacy. This would be nothing
more than the government's categorical ``sentencing'' of thousands of
persons to the ``wearing'' of electronic ankle bracelets without
suspicion, probable cause, due process or any finding of wrongdoing.
I've read where electronic monitoring adds precipitously to worker
For many, the sleeper berth in the truck is home away from home. If
EOBRs record everywhere drivers go and when they go there, such data
would reveal their routes, the houses of friends and relatives, and
other places they may visit while in their truck: book stores,
restaurants, motels, libraries, casinos, truck stops, lawyers' offices,
doctors' offices, health clinics, therapist offices, places of worship,
customers, and possible future employers. None of this information is
necessary to enforce any motor carrier safety rule and none of it is
anybody else's business.
EOBRs are not the panacea to compel better adherence to HOS
regulations. If the objective is more effective recording of drivers
hours and improving safety, how, without addressing loading and
unloading abuse is this to be accomplished? America's hard working
truck drivers deserve better from their government. If this were
addressed properly, benefits to safety and improvements in warehousing
and trucking efficiency would logically follow.
You may ask yourself, if the trucking business is so bad, why did I
continue trucking for so many years? For as much as I hated the
treatment that I've described, I knew that eventually I'd be rolling
down the highway, across the mountains, seeing what others only see in
dreams. Truckers personify that undefeatable American spirit of freedom
and independence. They have an optimism that all things pass and
tomorrow can be better. I urge you to put the proposal of EOBRs aside,
and give drivers the hope that Congress will pursue real solutions that
address the actual causes of drivers' problems in the workplace. Thank
you for your attention to my comments.
Joe Rajkovacz has been a truck driver for 29 years and a member of
the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Board of Directors
for 7 years. OOIDA has submitted extensive comments to the FMCSA's
Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking detailing its Constitutional
arguments against EOBRs: http://dmses.dot.gov/docimages/pdf90/
306665_web.pdf and presenting drivers' critical review of Werner
Enterprises' experience with such devices. See: http://dmses.dot.gov/
docimages/pdf90/306665_web.pdf and to FMCSA's Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking detailing several legal deficiencies in the agency's
proposed EOBR rule, See: http://dmses.dot.gov/docimages/pdf101/
Response to Written Questions Submitted by Hon. Frank R. Lautenberg to
Hon. John H. Hill
Question 1. Why doesn't your proposed rule make use of the results
of the 3 million roadside inspections performed every year to identify
the motor carriers that are violating hours-of-service?
Answer. Under FMCSA's electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs)
proposal, motor carriers that have demonstrated a history of serious
noncompliance with the hours-of-service (HOS) rules would be subject to
mandatory installation of EOBRs meeting the new performance standards.
If FMCSA determined, based on HOS records reviewed during each of two
compliance reviews (CRs) conducted within a 2 year period, that a motor
carrier had a 10 percent or greater violation rate (``pattern
violation'') for certain HOS-related regulations, FMCSA would issue the
carrier an EOBR remedial directive.
Such carriers would have already demonstrated repeated
noncompliance with the HOS regulations after being afforded an
opportunity to improve. The Agency's existing compliance oversight
processes would already have singled out these carriers for FMCSA's
attention because safety violations found during roadside inspections,
crash involvement, or both, placed them statistically well outside the
norm at the time of the second CR. The Agency would also have provided
recommendations to these carriers following the first CR to guide them
toward improving their safety performance and regulatory compliance.
FMCSA considered, but rejected, approaches for a remedial
directives trigger based on roadside inspections or other non-CR
procedures. Far more roadside inspections than CRs are performed, and
these inspections generate a significant volume of HOS compliance data.
However, certain of the Agency's algorithms using these data, such as
the Driver Safety Evaluation Area (SEA) component of SafeStat scores,
incorporate both HOS and some non-HOS violations, such as commercial
driver's license violations. In addition, roadside inspections are
designed to determine the safety status of a driver or vehicle at a
given point in time, not to provide, on the basis of a single
examination, a broad assessment of a motor carrier's general operations
and safety management controls.
CRs, by contrast, are intended to provide a broad assessment of a
motor carrier's overall operations and safety management controls. They
are ordinarily conducted at a motor carrier's place of business,
involve larger samples of records, examine multiple vehicles and
drivers' RODS, and typically produce a series of violation findings.
Motor carrier safety ratings are based largely on CR data. Given the
potential for an EOBR remedial directive to place a serious financial
burden on a motor carrier, we believe such a directive should be issued
only on the basis of a broad scope of operational examination and
extensive record review inherent to the CR process. Although the Agency
will continue to compile and use non-CR data as in the past and may
consider cumulative roadside data in the future, FMCSA is proposing to
use only CR-based violations as direct grounds for issuance of EOBR
remedial directives. The Agency would continue to capture and make use
of this valuable roadside input by using SafeStat results as a basis
for selecting carriers for CRs.
The FMCSA believes the proposal to use CR results was appropriate,
based on the information available at the time the proposed rule was
published. The FMCSA is reviewing the public comments to its EOBR
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and will consider whether different
criteria should be used for triggering the mandatory use of EOBRs.
Question 2. Hasn't your Compliance Review (CR) system been severely
and repeatedly criticized for poor data and mistaken identification of
the more dangerous motor carriers? If you propose using the data from
CRs, how are you going to quickly correct these defects?
Answer. As part of FMCSA's recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,
motor carriers that have demonstrated a history of serious
noncompliance with the hours-of-service rules would be subject to
mandatory installation of EOBRs. Serious noncompliance would be
determined based on hours-of-service records reviewed during compliance
reviews conducted onsite at the motor carrier's place of business.
The underlying violation data resulting from compliance reviews has
not been routinely criticized. To the contrary, a recent draft
Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that FMCSA's
management of our compliance review program met their standards for
internal controls, thereby promoting thoroughness and consistency.
The FMCSA's Safety Status Measurement System (SafeStat) used to
identify which carriers should be subjected to an onsite compliance
review has, however, been the subject of recent reviews that have
identified problems primarily associated with the completeness of
state-reported crash data. In response, FMCSA has implemented a number
of data quality initiatives that have resulted in improvements.
While FMCSA works continually to improve SafeStat's effectiveness,
the system is still an efficient, effective, and useful tool for
identifying high-risk motor carriers. The 2004 Office of Inspector
General (OIG) report noted that compliance review results support the
ability of SafeStat to identify high-risk carriers. In addition, a 2007
GAO report indicated that SafeStat works twice as well as selecting
carriers randomly and, therefore, has value for improving safety.
The crash data quality issues identified in recent GAO and OIG
reports have the potential to allow some high-risk carriers to escape
scrutiny. They do not, however, mean that the carriers FMCSA has
identified are not high-risk.
With respect to the EOBR proposed rule, an important point is that
any motor carrier that would be subject to mandatory installation would
have had their hours-of-service problems documented through more than
one on-site compliance review and would have been afforded full due
process before being required to install EOBRs.
Question 3. If you are concerned about U.S. motor carriers and
drivers violating hours-of-service and falsifying logbooks, why aren't
you requiring electronic on-board recorders for all Mexico-domiciled
Answer. The FMCSA's proposal to require the mandatory use of EOBRs
by certain motor carriers is intended to serve as a corrective measure
for motor carriers that have demonstration a history of serious
noncompliance with the hours-of-service rules. The FMCSA is not aware
of any information that would suggest that Mexico-domiciled motor
carriers, as a group, have a demonstrated history of serious
noncompliance with the hours-of-service regulations.
The FMCSA requires that all motor carriers operating commercial
motor vehicles within the United States comply with the applicable HOS
requirements. The Agency recognizes that there are differences between
the HOS requirements of the United States and Mexico. However, the fact
that Mexico-domiciled carriers operating in Mexico are not subject to
FMCSA's requirements while they operate within Mexico does not mean
these carriers have a history of serious noncompliance with FMCSA's
Question 4. Is there data that shows that truck drivers working
nearly 100 hour weeks are just as safe and healthy as workers who work
more conventional jobs requiring 40-hour work weeks?
Answer. On August 25, 2005, FMCSA published a final rule revising
its hours-of-service regulations or drivers of property-carrying
commercial motor vehicles. The 2005 HOS rule provides increased
opportunities for drivers to obtain necessary rest and restorative
sleep, while also recognizing the need to provide motor carriers with
flexibility to move products and while ensuring safe operations. The
FMCSA's revised HOS rule balanced considerations of driver and public
safety, driver health, and costs and benefits to the public and the
motor carrier industry--all factors the Agency is statutorily required
to consider under 49 U.S.C. 31136.
On July 24, 2007, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C.
Circuit vacated those portions of the 2005 final rule that increase the
daily driving limit from 10 to 11 hours, and that permit an off-duty
period of 34 hours to restart the weekly on-duty limits. Therefore,
motor carriers employing drivers of property-carrying vehicles no
longer have the opportunity to use the restart provision. Other
portions of the rule that remain in effect include: a more stringent
sleeper berth provision that bars drivers from splitting their off-duty
sleep period by requiring one 8-hour rest period; the 10 hour off-duty
requirement to enable 8 hours of continuous rest; and a more
restrictive 14 hour non-extendable duty tour ``driving window.'' The
FMCSA is analyzing the court's opinion regarding driving time in light
of its mandate to protect the health and safety of drivers.
Question 5. FMCSA stated in the proposed rule that falsifying
logbooks is a pervasive and chronic problem. These rules exist to
prevent accident and injury. Why isn't the FMCSA using every
technology, including requiring on-board recorders in all large
commercial motor vehicles to stop these violations? If FMCSA can't
justify enforcing the rules, can the rules themselves be justified?
Answer. The FMCSA recognizes the views of many in the highway
safety community and the general public about mandating EOBRs for the
entire motor carrier industry. However, there are several million
trucks and buses on America's roads today. The FMCSA's estimated safety
benefits of mandating EOBRs on each of these vehicles was far less than
the estimated costs of doing so, at the time the Agency published the
NPRM. Therefore, the Agency focused on finding other ways to get more
of these units on commercial motor vehicles, while targeting those with
the greatest safety risk, without creating an unreasonable burden. This
is why the proposed rule would encourage industry-wide use of EOBRs by
providing incentives for voluntary use, rather than mandating the
devices for the entire industry.
Question 6. How are you going to stop hours-of-service violations
and logbook falsification by only requiring about one one-hundredth of
1 percent of motor carriers each year to have to install and use
electronic on-board recorders?
Answer. The Agency is aware of comments suggesting the final rule
should cover more motor carriers, and is considering how to address
The FMCSA focuses on those companies that are most likely to be a
safety hazard on the road in its enforcement activities. Under this
proposed rule, only those truck and bus companies with a history of
serious hours-of-service violations would be required to install
electronic on-board recorders in all of their commercial vehicles.
Within the first 2 years that the rule would be enforced, we estimate
that about 930 carriers with 17,500 drivers would fall under this
The FMCSA, based on its safety research, believes that motor
carriers whose drivers routinely exceed HOS limits have an increased
probability of involvement in fatigue-related crashes and therefore
present a disproportionately high-risk to highway safety. Based on the
agency's analysis of its Motor Carrier Management Information System
(MCMIS) data from CRs conducted since 1995 on motor carriers operating
in interstate commerce, carriers to which a remedial directive would
apply under this proposal have crash rates that are 87 percent higher
than average. The crash rate for these carriers is an indication that
they should be a top priority for the Agency.
The FMCSA recognizes the views of many in the highway safety
community and the general public about mandating EOBRs. However, there
are several million trucks and buses on America's roads today. The
FMCSA's estimated safety benefits of mandating EOBRs on each of these
vehicles was far less than the estimated costs of doing so, at the time
the Agency published the NPRM. Therefore, the Agency focused on finding
other ways to get more of these units on commercial motor vehicles,
without creating an unreasonable burden with a government mandate. This
is why the proposed rule would encourage industry-wide use of EOBRs by
providing incentives for voluntary use, rather than mandating the
devices for the entire industry.
Question 7. Why aren't you preventing fraud, misuse, and tampering
by setting enforceable requirements in your EOBR proposed rule?
Answer. The FMCSA believes the proposed performance standards for
EOBRs are enforceable. However, while the Agency has authority to
regulate motor carriers and drivers, it does not have direct regulatory
authority over EOBR manufacturers. In developing the proposed
requirements for EOBRs, FMCSA focused its attention on seven research
factors listed in the ANPRM: (1) Ability to identify the individual
driver; (2) Tamper resistance; (3) Ability to produce records for
audit; (4) Ability of roadside enforcement personnel to access the HOS
information quickly and easily; (5) Level of protection afforded other
personal, operational, or proprietary information; (6) Cost; and (7)
The FMCSA proposed that the EOBR record basic information needed to
track duty status, including the identity of the driver, duty status,
date and time, location of the CMV, distance traveled, and other items
that the driver would enter (such as truck numbers and shipping
document numbers). The EOBR would be required to identify the driver,
although FMCSA does not propose mandating a specific identification
method. This approach would allow carriers to use existing
identification systems or implement newer technologies as they become
While many of the proposed requirements, such as that for tamper
resistance, parallel the requirements for AOBRDs, others would extend
the AOBRD requirements based on our expectation that the EOBR will have
a high degree of reliability. For example, FMCSA proposed that the EOBR
would not need to be integrally synchronized to the engine or other
vehicle equipment. An EOBR must, however, have GPS or other location
tracking systems that record location of the CMV at least once a
minute. EOBRs could still use sources internal to the vehicle to record
distance traveled and time. EOBRs must perform a power-on self-test on
demand and must also warn the driver if the device ceased to function.
Maintenance, recalibration, and self-certification requirements would
be similar to those for AOBRDs.
Question 8. How are you going to prevent fraud and misuse by
allowing portable cell phones to be used for showing hours-of-service
compliance and without linking an EOBR with engines and electronic
Answer. The purpose of an AOBRD or EOBR is to accurately record a
driver's sequence of duty statuses, the time the driver is engaged in a
given duty status category, and the sequence of dates, times, and
locations that make up a trip. Historically, the only information
available from a source not directly controlled by the driver was the
driving time and distance, both of which were obtained from a source on
the vehicle. Change-of-duty status locations had to be entered
manually. In the 20 years since AOBRDs were first used, communications
and logistics management technologies have evolved to enable a more
fundamental item of information vehicle location to be tracked and
recorded. The precision and accuracy of this recording has come to
rival or surpass that of distance-and-time records from the CMV.
FMCSA believes it is appropriate to offer an alternative,
performance-oriented approach that allows motor carriers and EOBR
developers to take advantage of emerging technologies. Specifically,
FMCSA now believes that an EOBR does not necessarily have to be
``integrally synchronized'' with the CMV to provide an accurate record
of driving time, equivalent to that of an electronic odometer or the
time function contained in an ECM. The Agency is proposing to allow two
ways to record distance traveled and time: (1) via sources internal to
the vehicle (i.e., the ECM with an internal clock/calendar) to derive
distance traveled, or (2) via sources external to the vehicle (i.e.,
location-reference systems--GPS, terrestrial, or a combination of both)
recording location of the CMV once per minute and using a synchronized
clock/calendar to derive distance traveled (``electronic
breadcrumbs''). This approach has the potential advantages of removing
a restrictive design requirement, providing an opportunity for
innovation, and allowing use of less expensive hardware (e.g., GPS-
enabled cell phones), without making existing synchronized devices
Regardless of the communications modes (wireless or terrestrial)
and the method used to synchronize the time and CMV-operation
information into an electronic RODS, FMCSA would require the records
from EOBRs to record duty status information accurately. The difference
proposed between actual distance traveled and distance computed via
location-tracking methods over a 24-hour period would be 1
percent. EOBR developers would need to test their devices thoroughly to
ensure they meet or exceed these tolerances.
Question 9. How are you going to guarantee that the driver of a rig
with an EOBR is actually the authorized or bona fide driver?
Answer. The FMCSA's proposal would correct an apparent gap in the
existing automatic on-board recorder (AOBRD) regulation. The current
rule includes no explicit requirement for driver identification beyond
requiring the driver's signature on hard copies of the record of duty
status. The proposed rule would require driver identification, without
prescribing a specific method.
The FMCSA recognizes the diversity of motor carrier operations and
acknowledges that numerous commenters' to the Agency's 2004 advance
notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) expressed concerns about the
potential costs of advanced driver identification methods such as
biometric identifiers and smart cards. Various approaches to
identification currently exist, while others are being developed, and
carriers may have different needs and standards regarding an acceptable
level of risk.
Rather than limiting carriers' ability to adopt technically
advanced systems or imposing duplicative requirements on carriers
desiring more secure systems, FMCSA proposed adopting a general
requirement that driver identification be part of the EOBR record,
without prescribing a specific approach. An EOBR would require the
driver to enter self-identifying information (e.g., user ID and
password, PIN numbers) or to provide other identifying information
(e.g., smart card, biometrics) when he or she logs on to the EOBR
In developing its proposed rule, FMCSA also considered ANPRM
comments suggesting that the Agency require use of the Department of
Homeland Security's proposed Transportation Working Identification Card
(TWIC) to identify the CMV driver and possibly serve as a portable data
record, FMCSA does not presently anticipate using TWIC for EOBR HOS
data storage. There are several reasons for this. While the amount of
memory required has yet to be specified, it is expected to be less than
what would be needed for an EOBR application. Furthermore, FMCSA
acknowledges concerns about driver and motor carrier privacy; some
information contained on the TWIC would not be relevant to an HOS
Question 10. Do you agree that waiting, loading and unloading
activities for truck drivers can contribute to fatigue? Will the FMCSA
consider requiring that carriers who use EOBRs ensure that on-duty, not
driving time is also entered into the EOBR system to keep track of
these waiting, loading and unloading activities?
Answer. Yes. All motor carriers that are required to maintain a
record of duty status, whether handwritten or electronic, must continue
to ensure that the record accurately documents all driving time, and
other duty time, such as waiting, loading and unloading.
In developing the proposed requirements for EOBRs, FMCSA focused
its attention on seven research factors listed in the ANPRM: (1)
Ability to identify the individual driver; (2) Tamper resistance; (3)
Ability to produce records for audit; (4) Ability of roadside
enforcement personnel to access the HOS information quickly and easily;
(5) Level of protection afforded other personal, operational, or
proprietary information; (6) Cost; and (7) Driver acceptability. The
FMCSA proposed that the EOBR record basic information needed to track
duty status, including the identity of the driver, duty status, date
and time, location of the CMV, distance traveled, and other items that
the driver would enter (such as truck numbers and shipping document
numbers). The EOBR would also be required to identify the driver,
although FMCSA does not propose mandating a specific identification
method. This approach would allow carriers to use existing
identification systems or implement newer technologies as they become
Response to Written Questions Submitted by Hon. Frank R. Lautenberg to
Captain John E. Harrison
Question 1. Do you believe that EOBR's will permit enforcement
officials to more efficiently and accurately determine hours-of-service
Answer. Yes, if there are uniform standards regarding their design
and implementation (i.e. standard interface for enforcement). As
important, if not more so, is how to ``enforce'' these standards. There
should be a 3rd party independent certification (initial and ongoing)
program and a list of ``approved'' EOBRs. This will help to give
comfort to those buying EOBRs and enforcement officers using them that
they are certified to a certain standard.
Question 2. Currently, how long does it take, on average, for
enforcement officials to review and verify a driver's paper logbook?
How do enforcement officials verify the information in the paper
logbook and corroborate evidence to support driver's notations?
Answer. It depends on the complexity of the trip and the nature of
the interview. Generally speaking, the hours-of-service portion of the
inspection takes approximately 10-15 minutes. Law enforcement uses the
driver interview, supporting documents such as bills of lading, toll
receipts, fuel receipts, gate receipts and other trip-related
documentation to review hours-of-service compliance.
Question 3. From your organization's perspective, how large is the
problem of drivers falsifying logbooks and exceeding their hours-of-
Answer. We believe it is larger than what the data show.
Question 4. Do you believe there is a corollary between drivers who
violate the hours-of-service rules and safety?
Answer. Yes we do. The attached research report corroborates this.
Predicting Truck Crash Involvement: Developing a Commercial Driver
Behavior-Based Model and Recommended Countermeasures,
A Report by American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI)
Efforts by government and industry over the years to reduce large
truck crashes have led to a number of significant positive trends. The
U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) recently reported a decrease
in the fatal crash rate for large trucks from 2.2 fatalities per 100M
vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2000 to 1.9 fatal crashes per 100M VMT
in 2003.\1\ In spite of increasing VMT and increased congestion over
the years, the trucking industry has seen a general downward trend in
fatal, injury and property damage crash rates over the last 20 years.
\1\ Large Truck Crash Facts 2003, Analysis Division, Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration, FMCSA-RI-04-033, February 2005.
However, both industry and government recognize that more must be
done to reduce the overall number of large truck crashes. Prior
research studies, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration (FMCSA) Large Truck Crash Causation Study, point to
driver-related factors as a critical reason for the majority of crashes
involving large trucks. Therefore, focusing on driver behaviors will
have the most profound impact on crash reduction.
The objective of this research was to design and test an analytical
model for predicting future crash involvement based on prior driver
history information. A second objective of the research, conducted in
conjunction with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), was to
identify effective enforcement actions to counteract the driving
behaviors and events that are predictive of future crash involvement.
This research is one of the first studies of its kind to analyze
several available subsets of driver-specific data and statistically
relate the data to future crashes. Data sources included the Motor
Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) and the Commercial
Drivers License Information System (CDLIS).
The main dependent variable is crash involvement. For purposes of
this research, crash involvement is the objective measure of driver
``safety.'' The independent variables are driver-specific performance
indicators mined from the data including: specific violations; driver
traffic conviction information; as well as past accident involvement
Driver data was gathered across a 3-year timeframe, and was
analyzed to determine future crash predictability. For each of the
drivers in the selected samples, driver history regarding past
inspections and crashes were derived from MCMIS, and past conviction
data was derived from CDLIS. Descriptive statistics were run on this
entire dataset to develop the targeted samples.
Appropriate statistical tests, including chi-square analyses, were
used to identify statistically significant predictions for future crash
involvement based on past inspection, conviction, and/or crash
In order to associate the negative behaviors and events with
enforcement strategies on a state-by-state basis, an objective measure
was created that developed a statistical relationship between CMV
traffic enforcement and a weighted crash metric. All 51 enforcement
jurisdictions were surveyed to identify current enforcement activities
addressing CMV driver behavior. Additional research was conducted on
those states identified as ``top tier'' to identify targeted
enforcement strategies and best practices.
The predictive model included data on 540,750 drivers. The analysis
shows reckless driving and improper turn violations as the two
violations associated with the highest increase in likelihood of a
future crash. The four convictions with the highest likelihood of a
future crash are: improper or erratic lane change; failure to yield
right of way; improper turn; and failure to maintain proper lane. When
a driver receives a conviction for one of these behaviors, the
likelihood of a future crash increases between 91 and 100 percent.
Table 1 ranks the top 10 driver events by the percentage increase in
the likelihood of a future crash.
The targeted surveys and interviews indicated that successful
enforcement programs and strategies for addressing problem driver
behaviors are those that exhibit one or more of the following
Center on aggressive driving apprehension programs/
Target both commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and non-CMV
Utilize both highly visible and covert enforcement
Incorporate an internal performance-based system for
managing enforcement by specific crash types, driver behaviors,
The research also surveyed carriers to identify those hiring,
training, and remediation practices most likely to mitigate the impacts
of the problem behaviors identified.
A complete listing of findings and recommendations can be found in
the full report, Predicting Truck Crash Involvement: Developing a
Commercial Driver Behavior-Based Model and Recommended
* This report is maintained in Committee files.
To receive a copy of this report and other ATRI studies, please
Response to Written Question Submitted by Hon. Frank R. Lautenberg to
Richard S. Reiser
Question. Do you have an explanation of why your drivers regularly
falsified their Qualcomm logs a few years ago when you started the
FMCSA's pilot program to test Qualcomm's GPS system for monitoring
truck driver hours-of-service compliance?
Answer. We are uncertain of the context in which it is alleged that
our drivers ``regularly falsified their Qualcomm logs a few years
ago''. We have sought clarification of that through the American
Trucking Associations; however, as of this time we have not received a
clarification of the question. In view of the impending deadline, we
will attempt to answer the question as we understand it.
The concept and design of the Werner Paperless Log System was to
create an automated logging system for our drivers. The purpose was not
to create simply an electronic means of recording logbook information,
but to create a system which would do so automatically with minimal
driver input. Stated differently, we were not attempting to simply
replace a hand written document with a type written document. We should
also explain that both the idea and motivation for the Paperless Log
System originated from Werner with the dual goals of improving the
accuracy of driver records of duty status and the safety of its fleet.
In order to accomplish an automated logging system it was necessary
that certain assumptions be made. Those assumptions were made on the
basis of what the most frequent, or most common response would be to a
particular situation, and the driver given the means of overriding that
assumed response as necessary. Drivers were instructed to do so. One of
the assumptions made in the first stages of the pilot program, which
was based on years of experience with records of duty status in our
fleet, was that if a truck stopped moving for a certain period of time
(15 minutes), it was assumed that the driver had gone off-duty. A log
entry would be entered accordingly. That was the most common situation
when a driver ceased moving for a period in excess of 15 minutes.
Obviously, however, there were times when a driver ceased moving and
then went on-duty not driving. In those situations, the driver was
instructed to override the assumption and show that he was in fact on-
During the course of the pilot program and the frequent auditing of
the pilot program by FMCSA, FMCSA became concerned that some drivers
were simply accepting the assumption that they had gone off-duty and
were failing to override that assumption to show that they were in fact
on-duty not driving. Doing so would create the effect of a false log.
Although there was no indication that this was a widespread problem,
FMCSA required that assumption be changed, so that when a truck ceased
moving for a period of time, the driver would be placed ``on-duty not
driving'', and would therefore be less likely to accept that assumption
if he was ``off-duty''.
The changes which were made in the program to change the automatic
assumption, have been reviewed by FMCSA and found acceptable prior to
the time an exemption was granted. If you have any additional questions
concerning this, or if this is not the issue to which your question was
directed, please feel free to contact me.