Updated EOBR laws for 2013

For many years, drivers of commercial trucks and other vehicles have kept track of the mileage they travel using manual, handwritten logs. Recently, some drivers have even begun keeping track of their mileage with manual electronic logs. Unfortunately, drivers sometimes fail to keep track of their mileage accurately with either of these methods.

In some cases, they may even deliberately falsify their mileage in order to satisfy federal and state safety regulations. To stop this from happening, the federal government has drafted and passed a law that will soon require all qualifying commercial trucks to be equipped with electronic onboard recording devices, or EOBRs.

What is an EOBR?

An EOBR is an electronic device that records the number of hours a vehicle is driven and reports these hours to the appropriate parties. The device was created in order to help commercial trucking companies comply with hours of service regulations imposed by the government and ensure that no commercial driver spends more time on the road than he or she should. Instead of relying on drivers to keep track of their own mileage using manual methods, which may not always result in accurate numbers, the EOBR will keep electronic records that cannot be altered by truckers and can be accessed at any time.

The New Law

In the past, EOBRs were only required for trucking companies with a poor record of HOS compliance. However, the highway reauthorization bill that President Obama recently passed into law will require all qualifying commercial transportation companies, regardless of their past compliance records, to begin using EOBRs in all of their commercial vehicles by July 2013. The stated purpose of the bill is to ensure broader compliance with current HOS regulations, as well as to improve the overall safety in the transportation industry. Once the law is in effect, all motor carriers that participate in interstate commerce must install EOBRs in every commercial motor vehicle they operate. The bill also indicates that further regulations may follow in the future.


Although many people in the industry believe that the law will help drivers, commercial trucking business and the transportation industry as a whole, some have still expressed concerns about the efficacy of this law. In the past, complaints have been filed in federal court indicating that EOBRs can be used to harass drivers. To deal with this potential problem, Congress’ new bill specifically prohibits this type of harassment. If harassment does occur, drivers or their employers can file complaints with the appropriate authorities.


The law has already been officially passed, but it will not go into effect immediately. This delay will allow commercial trucking companies some time to adjust to the new regulations, and some Federal funding will be provided to help with the transition through September of 2014. However, industry professionals recommend that trucking companies begin making the required changes as soon as possible. Obtaining and installing EOBRs takes time, and legislators recommend an early start to ensure that no laws are broken.

Cameron Tyler

Cameron Tyler

Cameron Tyler

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