Canadian administrators form EOBR research group

| 6/10/2009

Canada’s deputy ministers are calling upon federal transport administrators to develop a standard for electronic on-board recorders for heavy-duty trucks.

While the ball is in motion, things are not expected to move quickly.

The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, CCMTA, formed a working group at the urging of the Council of Deputy Ministers, a spokesman said.

“Right now, we have a group that’s been created to look into it and we are going to go back to the Council of Deputy Ministers in the fall,” CCMTA spokesman Sylvain Tremblay told Land Line Magazine on Monday, June 8.

“There’s no development right now, except that CCMTA created a project group on EOBRs.”

Tremblay would not elaborate on what was expected to come from the discussions.

Trucking associations have reacted in different ways to CCMTA’s formation of a working group.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance and provincial affiliate Ontario Trucking Association issued a press release to say the EOBR issue has “started to heat up again” on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.

CTA and OTA officials have informed their members that they believe the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is closer to issuing a final rule.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said the evidence is just not there to support the claim that EOBRs are right around the corner.

OOIDA Foundation Director Tom Weakley attended a conference in December 2008 at which former FMCSA Administrator John Hill said a universal mandate for EOBRs was unlikely because of the cost-benefit to smaller carriers.

“The conventional wisdom is that it would have to be mandated by Congress and could never be passed by FMCSA,” Weakley said.

OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Rick Craig is watching things north of the border. He said the Canadian standards will take time and require more stakeholder input no matter what the CTA and OTA are saying.

“They can put out all the press releases they want, but that doesn’t change the fact that this has a long way to go,” Craig said.

– By David Tanner, staff writer