NTSB recommends FMCSA implement EOBRs for all trucks

| Thursday, December 20, 2007

One federal agency is telling another federal agency that electronic on-board recorders are needed on all heavy trucks and not just the trucks of companies that have bad safety records.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed on-board recorders for the “bad actors” in the industry.

According to the proposed regulation, if FMCSA officials determine – based on HOS records reviewed during each of two compliance reviews conducted within a two-year period – that a motor carrier had a 10 percent or greater violation rate, the carrier would be mandated to use EOBRs for two years.

All of the trucks owned and leased to the motor carrier would be required to have EOBRs installed, according to the proposed reg.

But the head of the National Transportation Safety Board is calling for recorders on all trucks.

In a recommendation published Monday, Dec. 17, NTSB officials cited a fatality accident from July 2004 in Michigan as a case in point.

Investigators found that a truck driver for Equity Transportation Company had been driving for 14 hours straight when a crash occurred. Congested traffic had queued up on Interstate 94 near Chelsea, MI, and a witness testified that the truck was traveling at 60 mph.

Even though driver did apply the brakes, he left a 115-foot skid in the process.

But NTSB officials say that FMCSA is partly to blame for such situations by not requiring the use of tamperproof EOBRs on all trucks.

As a result of the NTSB investigation in Michigan, officials recommended FMCSA do the following:

“Require all interstate commercial vehicle carriers to use electronic on-board recorders that collect and maintain data concerning driver hours of service in a valid, accurate, and secure manner under all circumstances, including accident conditions, to enable the carriers and their regulators to monitor and assess hours-of-service compliance.

“As an interim measure and until industry-wide use of electronic on-board recorders is mandated, as recommended in Safety Recommendation H-07-41, prevent log tampering and submission of false paper logs by requiring motor carriers to create and maintain audit control systems that include, at a minimum, the retention of all original and corrected paper logs and the use of bound and sequentially numbered logs.”

– By Land Line staff

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