The recent creation of universal standards for black boxes
removes one roadblock to the government requiring their use, but officials with
the FMCSA say the mere existence of the standards does not justify a mandate.
“Just having device
standards wouldn’t by itself be enough to justify a rule requiring EOBRs. FMCSA
is interested in determining whether the use of these devices can result in an
affordable and standardized specification that will provide an electronic
equivalent of an accurate hand-written log and provide tamper-resistant data
that is easily accessible by roadside enforcement personnel,” according to a
statement from the FMCSA.
The IEEE this week announced the first universal standard
for event data recorders, often referred to by truckers as black boxes.
The IEEE – Institute
of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. – is an international
organization that establishes standards in electronics so that devices can
communicate with each other. According to information from the IEEE, the
standards specify “minimal performance
characteristics for onboard tamper- and crash-proof memory devices for all
types and classes of highway and roadway vehicles.”
standards – which also include
a data dictionary of 86 data elements and cover device survivability – would be required before any government agency,
including the FMCSA, could require black boxes on trucks, something reportedly
under consideration at the FMCSA, IEEE recently announced.
In its statement on
the standards, the FMCSA said rules about black boxes are becoming outdated.
regulations allow motor carriers to equip CMVs with an automatic on-board
recording device instead of requiring drivers to complete handwritten records.
However, because of considerable advances in technologies used in these
devices, the current on-board recording regulation is rapidly becoming
obsolete,” the FMCSA statement said.
available on-board recorders and support systems offer drivers and motor
carriers the opportunity to better plan their schedules and routes, monitor the
performance of their vehicles, and use this information to improve safety and