For the past 5 years on the blog, one of the hottest topics has always been Electronic On Board Recorders. We have discussed about how eventually, EOBRs will be required of all carriers by the FMCSA. It is nothing that we can hide from at this point.
If you have read the blog before, you will know that I personally, and Mercer as a company, are not huge fans of EOBRs. We also understand that the majority of our contractors are not big fans either. However, we understand that the mandate is coming which will place these units in every truck throughout the industry, and we have to start working now to make sure that when the mandate is here, we as a company are prepared. So beginning next week, Mercer will begin testing EOBRs with about some of our Mercer contractors, all of which volunteered for the testing. We have not set any other dates of enforcement with EOBRs.
Overdrive published an article yesterday that read, “Mercer making e-logs required for owner-operators”. It also stated that our safety director, Len Dunman said that by mid-2015, 100% of Mercer’s fleet will be equipped with the devices. I have been in dozens of meetings about this topic over the past couple of years, and I can say that i have never heard those two statements discussed. In fact, we spoke with Len directly this morning, and this is what his response to the article is:
Wow, how did beginning to test EOBRs turn into such a sensational headline? I discussed EOBRs with contractors at my seminar in March. I gave them the time frame, but it is based upon two things: First, our ability to implement the phase-in over time; Second, the final schedule issued by FMCSA in compliance with MAP-21. The best guess at this time is some point in mid 2015. Perhaps later.
We have a very large fleet and implementation of even 100 a month would take nearly two years. It is not certain this early on that we can even get 100 a month done. The tests are just now beginning. We are starting the implementation with a large number of volunteers. After the tests are completed and we have as many volunteers as we can get, we will start looking closely at folks with log violations. The reality of it is that more than 68% of our peer group is already on them so it is becoming a mathematical impossibility to get good HOS numbers on CSA without EOBRs. People with paper logs are getting singled out more for inspections. A lot of our contractors are getting tired of dealing with that. The second reality, and the most important, is that Congress made it law so it will happen. No carrier can afford to wait til the last minute to respond to that.
I regret that the headline was so sensational. The reality is that all trucking companies are either moving toward the implamentation of EOBR’s or planning to get out of the business. Mercer will always keep our contractors concerns and needs as a top priority. Our livelihood is directly dependent on your livelihood.
If you want to know more or have questions, please contact our Contractor Relations department, or our Safety Department.
So, going forward, Mercer will continue to test EOBRs in a small amount of our units. We will continue to add contractors to our test group, who wish to volunteer. If you would be interested in testing a device with us, please contact our Contractor Relations Department at 800-205-9686. In order to test an EOBR, you will need to have an approved Android smartphone or tablet, and we will need to know if you have a 6 or 9 pin ecm.
If you don’t wish to test an EOBR, keep doing what you always have. Like we said above, we expect the FMCSA to release a date in which ALL trucks within the industry will be required to be equipped with these devices. We will keep you updated through the blog, and our facebook page going forward.
Again, and as always, thanks for all that you do for us, and GO MERCER!