Research Project

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Onboard Monitoring System Field Operational Test


To determine whether an onboard monitoring suite will reduce at-risk behavior among commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and improve driver safety performance. Also to collect more than 30 million miles of naturalistic large truck driving data to support future CMV safety research efforts.


An effective strategy in reducing the influence of crash risk factors is to obtain better and more targeted driver feedback. The onboard monitoring system (OBMS) used in this study will provide drivers with feedback on risky behavior while they are driving (in real time) cumulatively with their safety managers. In addition, it will record (through snippets of video and other performance/kinematic measures) unsafe driving behaviors and provide real-time feedback to drivers. This is the final phase of a three-phase study to identify the importance of feedback on driver performance.


Across three commercial vehicle fleets representative of the trucking industry, OBMS devices were provided by SmartDrive and installed on approximately 200 trucks. The new OBMS provider is SmartDrive.


Utilizing quantitative and qualitative data collected from the OBMS and participating drivers over an 18-month period, researchers will answer the following research questions:

  • Does individual driving performance improve over time with OBMS feedback?
  • How does the OBMS and feedback program improve safety?
  • How do the drivers' opinions and attitudes towards the onboard monitoring system and program change over time? Can the OBMS accurately distinguish "good" drivers from "at-risk" drivers?
  • If driving performance improves, does it remain improved over time?
  • What are the fleet safety managers' opinions and attitudes about the OBMS?
  • What is the business case for implementing an OBMS program?
  • What are the user differences between the electronic logging device that is integrated into the OBMS and the previous methods for recording hours-of-service data?


October 2009: Kick-off meeting.
December 2009: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) review of data collection and experimental analysis plans.
December 2010: Pilot test.
June 2011: System deployment.
August 2013: FMCSA review of draft final report.
September 2014: Final report.


FY 2009: $3,150,000 - FMCSA Research and Technology
FY 2010: $587,590 - FMCSA Research and Technology
FY 2011: $305,500 - FMCSA Research and Technology
FY 2012: $200,000 - FMCSA Research and Technology
FY 2013: $848,000 - FMCSA Research and Technology


Project is currently on track to be completed in September 2014.


Virginia Technical Transportation Institute

Updated: Friday, January 2, 2015
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