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Economist Says Onboard Recorders Offer Fleets Potential Efficiencies
Monday, 17 August 2009 00:00

PALM HARBOR, Fla.—Despite privacy and other concerns about the technology within the trucking industry, fleets should consider investing in electronic onboard records for a number of important reasons, economist Noel Perry said.

Speaking here during American Trucking Associations’ Information Technology & Logistics Council’s annual conference, Perry said the tough economic climate was all the more reason fleets should consider EOBRs’ potential efficiencies.

“Fleets have wrung out all of the waste available with conventional management techniques,” said Perry, a principal with Transport Fundamentals, Green Bay, Wis. “It’s not about tires anymore. It’s about where that truck is and what it’s doing.”

He said the efficiencies and protections EOBRs offer outweigh the uncertainty some in the industry have toward the technology.

The devices can also offer information on driver performance, behavior and health.

Perry said all of these kinds of traceable records could also prove helpful for investigating incidents involving either drivers or trucks, and said the time could eventually come when not having an EOBR in the cab will seem negligent.

“The lawyers will push it,” he said. “It will be a sign of irresponsibility not to have it.”

He also said that governments are becoming more interested for a variety of reasons, including for security and emission controls. At the same time, economic shortfalls are causing some to view EOBR’s wireless accessibility as a means to levy taxes.

“Governments are running out of money,” Perry said. He warned that if tax coffers continue turning up short, the transportation sector may be targeted to replenish the funds.

Perry said accessibility to onboard recorders will make it “a trivial matter” for governments to tax trucks.

Transport Topics, 8/17/2009