SPECIAL REPORT: Senators push for EOBRs in all trucks

By Jami Jones, senior editor | 9/29/2010

Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010 – If Senators Mark Pryor and Lamar Alexander get their way, all trucks will have electronic on-board recorders installed.

Pryor, D-AR, and Alexander, R-TN, introduced Senate Bill 3884 today that if passed into law would mandate that 100 percent of all “commercial motor vehicles involved in interstate commerce and subject to hours of service be equipped with EOBRs.”

“Unfortunately, Sen. Pryor has bought into all of this BS being sold by all of the big trucking companies, trial lawyers and device manufacturers,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice president.

“They will all get benefits from an EOBR mandate. Unfortunately, for the rest of us, highway safety won’t be one of them.”

Spencer also points out that EOBRs of any kind will require input from the drivers. That interaction alone is enough to show that the black boxes cannot be any more reliable in documenting true HOS compliance than paper logs.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration adopted a regulation that will mandate the use of the devices for motor carriers with a record of chronic noncompliance with the HOS regs.

The regulation mandates EOBRs for motor carriers with a 10 percent or greater violation rate of the hours-of-service regulations. The EOBR rule officially went into effect June 4. The compliance deadline for the regulation is June 4, 2012.

In June, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed kickoff paperwork for a legal challenge of that electronic on-board recorder regulation.

The Association and three members filed a petition for review with the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on June 3. In addition to OOIDA, the plaintiffs include OOIDA Members William J. Culligan, Adam D. Burnett and Douglas A. Oldham.

Spencer said that before FMCSA or Congress moves forward with any sort of broader mandate, the Association believes questions – such as does the mandated use of electronic on-board recorders make any sense in terms of cost, regulatory burden and their real effectiveness on highway safety – must be answered.

Spencer said truckers in Arkansas and Tennessee need to send a very clear message to Pryor and Alexander, respectively, that a full mandate is burdensome without any proof of real benefit. Call 202-224-2353 to speak to Pryor’s office and 202-224-4944 to speak to Alexander’s.

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