EOBRs—electronic onboard recorders—provide for greater safety through accountability by recording data on driver performance, health and behaviors that may help prevent truck accidents. EOBRs may also help truck companies’ bottom line, according to a leading economist.
In a speech delivered at the annual conference of the American Trucking Association’s Information Technology & Logistics Council , economist Noel Perry noted that in these uncertain economic times, trucking companies should set aside their uncertainties about EOBRs and take advantage of the potential efficiencies the technology offers. “Fleets have wrung out all of the waste available with conventional management techniques,” Perry noted. “It’s not about tires any more. It’s about where that truck is and what it’s doing.”
Perry, a principal with Green Bay, Wisconsin-based transportation services company Transport Fundamentals, went on to note that the potential contribution of EOBRs to information on driver performance could make the devices mandatory stating, “The lawyers will push it. It will be a sign of irresponsibility not to have it.”
Perry noted the helpful role of EOBRs in investigating incidents involving trucks or drivers, but also warned that the wireless devices could provide a means for cash-strapped governments to levy taxes on trucks. “Governments are running out of money,” Perry stated, stating that it would be “a trivial matter” for governments to use EOBRs to tax trucks.
While it is understandable that the trucking industry would have concerns over the potential use of EOBRs by governments to levy taxes on them, those concerns should not distract from the fact that EOBRs can and often do make a difference in the prevention of truck accidents.
EOBRs play a role in my work as a truck accident lawyer. In one horrible case I handled—in which a 8 month pregnant woman and her baby were killed—the EOBR provided proof that the truck driver was lying and allowed us to succeed in obtaining a large settlement.