Feature Article: Getting on board

| May 01, 2010

Daily information is stored online and can be faxed or e-mailed directly to an inspector, a process that drivers running with EOBRs say they’ve seen at inspection facilities, too. UDrove rep Katie Moser says that as DOT officers get used to electronic log displays, the regulatory necessity of being able to print your log is going by the wayside.

In a survey asking owner-operators what they wanted to do with their smartphones, she says, 33 percent said logging is most important.

One small step for truck, one giant leap for EOBR

Next time you see a truck rolling along the apron, stopping every half-mile, by all means fire up the CB to find out if the driver needs assistance. But don’t be surprised if it’s someone out of hours and trying to get to the next exit without triggering a violation via electronic log.

Contrary to road rumors, EOBRs aren’t foolproof. As with all technology, they’re dependent on their rigid systems as well as operator input to determine non-driving time. The “automatic” part of the logging process is all about movement – when the wheels roll, the systems commonly begin to log on-duty driving after 0.7 miles. Most systems use a preset time trigger, typically a few minutes, when the wheels stop moving and/or the engine shuts down, to move the driver to Line 4 – on duty, not driving – if he doesn’t give it input himself. (The new rule specifies a default setting of on duty, not driving after 5 minutes of no movement.)

Stephen Michaels, a driver for Central Refrigerated, says all non-driving time is editable on his Qualcomm unit. “If you stop, you’re on line 4. You can go back and edit it if you need to, but Line 3 – on duty, driving – you cannot edit that.”

Both Michaels and team expediters Bob and Linda Caffee have noted similar peculiarities of their systems that seem to be a function of GPS technology. “We drove to a military base,” Bob says of a particular pickup, “stopped and went on-duty, not driving. We had to go to another place, less than seven-tenths of a mile, then kept going back to the previous spot. In the end, it added up to three to four miles, but the system never logged us driving.”

For a video demo of the PeopleNet eLogs system with TCW driver Dale Richmond, visit OverdriveOnline.com.

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