While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has yet to issue a final rule on electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) for tracking hours-of-service (HOS) compliance, at least one fleet says it is benefiting from its voluntarily use of EOBRs.
Brian McLaughlin, vp-marketing & product planning for PeopleNet, presented Shaw Industries’ experience with PeopleNet’s eDriver Log EOBR solution as a case study during the annual technology summit in Princeton, NJ, sponsored by ALK Technologies, providers of the PC*Miler and CoPilot transportation solutions.
Dalton, GA-based Shaw is the world’s largest producer of carpets and operates one of the largest private fleets in the nation, fielding over 1100 power units piloted by some 1400 drivers. According to McLaughlin, Shaw’s use of EOBRs from March 2004 to March 2007 resulted in a 53% reduction in violations per month. Shaw saw a72% reduction in its drivers’ out-of-service rate and a 47% reduction in driver out-of-service inspections.
Before implementing the EOBRs, Shaw had three full-time employees monitoring log violations, driver qualifications and drug/alcohol screening, reported McLaughlin. But after EOBRs came into play, the fleet reduced its log staff to just two full-timers, re-assigning the third to other duties, and reduced its document scanning costs by approximately $18,000 per year.
What’s more, according to McLaughlin, Shaw was able to reduce its driver log feedback by over 75%. “The log feedback that use to take 30 days now only takes a week,” he noted. “There are no missing logs and terminals run their own driver-management reports.”
McLaughlin advised that carriers considering adopting EOBRs voluntarily—regardless of the potential FMCSA mandate—should “ensure the system can/will accommodate new regulations—look for open/flexible systems.” He said key features to look for should include: over-the-air programming, web-based, open ports (USB, Serial etc.) and be wireless (WWAN, WLAN, WPAN).
He said it’s important to “focus on key areas of benefit for driver and compliance,” including driver time savings, back-office time savings including the cost of paper and scanning, and improved driver out-of-service and inspection rates. McLaughlin added that fleets considering voluntary adoption should “create a test environment to measure driver receptivity and proactively prepare” for using EOBRs.