OOIDA says EOBRs won't solve HOS issues

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 3/8/2010

OOIDA is preparing written comments to say that electronic on-board recorders – or EOBRs – will not deliver the safety benefits or fix hours-of-service problems as some stakeholders claim.

OOIDA plans to submit the comments to a project group of the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, which is soliciting stakeholder input about the feasibility of an EOBR mandate north of the U.S.-Canadian border. The group’s deadline is Thursday, March 11.

“EOBRs won’t deliver the safety benefits hyped by advocates,” said OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Joe Rajkovacz, who is preparing the Association’s comments. “If they did, those motor carriers currently using them would have the best safety records in the industry – which they don’t.”

The Canadian federal government, at the urging of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, called for the EOBR feasibility group to be formed. The project group intends to present a status report in May to the full CCMTA and make recommendations to the Canadian Council of Deputy Ministers in the fall.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance claims that an EOBR mandate would help with trucking safety and solve a number of hours-of-service issues.

Rajkovacz says he routinely hears that the large motor-carrier associations want EOBRs in place – and speed limiters too – to level the competitive playing field.

“‘Leveling the playing field’ is not and should not be any basis for mandating EOBRs,” Rajkovacz said.

“Measurable improvement to over-all safety should be the key metric. And since HOS violations are not proven to be a significant causal factor in truck-involved accidents, any mandate would likely be a ‘feel good measure’ unlikely to alter safety statistics.”

Rajkovacz calls it a fallacy that EOBRs would accurately document the hours a truck driver works because drivers are routinely forced to give up time at the docks or at other times when not in motion. This is because EOBRs only track truck movement.

“It’s tiresome to continually hear ‘how accurate’ EOBRs are in recording driver HOS,” Rajkovacz said. “That is a fallacy that continues to ignore line four time (on-duty-not driving) and the inability of EOBRs to track and accurately quantify that time spent at loading docks – where real issues of abuse exist.”

The CCMTA project group is keeping cross-border operations in mind as it develops its EOBR report. The group expects to harmonize efforts with U.S. rulemakings.

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