Additional comments sought on possible EOBR harassment issues

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 4/29/2011

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking additional public comment on the potential for electric on-board recorders to be used as a harassment tool against drivers. The comment period is open through May 23.

According to the FMCSA, the agency addressed the issue of EOBRs and the potential for harassment of drivers in a rulemaking filed last year targeting “bad actor” carriers. But since then, the agency has sought to expand the scope of an EOBR requirement to nearly all heavy trucks. FMCSA wants to make sure the latest proposal also addresses the possible harassment issue with EOBRs.

Litigation filed last year by OOIDA against the FMCSA on the proposed EOBR mandate keyed on the harassment issue. When a driver is tired and needs to rest, a carrier may “ping” the driver with a message to keep going, based on what the EOBR says about a driver’s hours of service.
“These devices have all the bells and whistles, and that includes the pings,” OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Joe Rajkovacz said.

“A driver will be tired and stop to rest, and the company starts pinging them. That’s what these things can do. They attempt to push and shove the driver and take away a driver’s ability to make decisions in his own best interest.”

FMCSA issued a notice in the Federal Register on Wednesday, April 13, seeking additional comments on the harassment issue by the May 23 deadline for the expanded EOBR notice of proposed rulemaking.

In FMCSA’s words, “The Agency believes it satisfactorily addressed the statutory requirement in both its EOBR rulemaking proceedings. In light of recent litigation challenging the Agency’s treatment of driver harassment in EOBR 1, however, FMCSA wishes to ensure that interested parties have a full opportunity to address this issue in the active EOBR 2 rulemaking.”

Directions for submitting comments are described in the notice. Be sure to include the docket number, which is FMCSA-2010-0167.

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