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OOIDA to feds: EOBRs will not make the roads safer

By David Tanner, associate editor

According to FMCSA in a notice of proposed rulemaking issued Feb. 1. EOBRs in the vast majority of trucks would improve safety and improve hours-of-service compliance. OOIDA leadership plans to take those claims to task.

FMCSA’s proposed rule calls for carriers to implement EOBRs as well as a compliance system for documenting drivers’ hours of service. The proposal is commonly referred to as the EOBR/supporting documents rule.

OOIDA says EOBRs will not make roads any safer.

“There is a big difference between safety and compliance,” said OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Joe Rajkovacz.

“EOBRs are nothing more than a compliance tool. Roughly 70 percent of HOS violations involve ‘form and manner’ violations such as not writing a bill-of-lading number on your log. Eliminating 100 percent of those violations won’t eliminate a single accident.”

OOIDA plans to file comments by the May 23 deadline. Rajkovacz said the Association intends to take issue with claims about fatigue.

“HOS violations are coded as ‘fatigue’ related,” he said. “According to FMCSA, only 1.4 percent of CMV fatalities nationwide are ‘fatigue’ related. Yet, to try and justify this rulemaking, the agency used old CMV fatality data from 1997 to 2000 instead of the latest four years. No way they could have justified this by using the most recent data.”

The latest action by FMCSA goes beyond the scope of an April 2010 final rule aimed solely at bad actors in the industry. FMCSA says a final rule on the latest action could be in place by June 2012. Compliance would then be phased in over three years.

FMCSA estimates the cost at $525 to $785 per unit. Truckers see that as added cost without the purported benefit.

Public comments on the proposal are due by May 23. To submit comments online, visit regulations.gov; fax to 202-493-2251; or send mail to Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590.

Be sure to include the docket number, FMCSA-2010-0167. LL

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