First on-board recorder reg withdrawn but second proceeds

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Friday, February 10, 2012

Six months after a federal judge ruled in favor of OOIDA and ordered the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to vacate its initial rule on electronic on-board recorders, the agency is taking steps to strike the rule from the books. At the same time, however, the agency announced plans to proceed with a separate EOBR rule that addresses the issue of driver harassment.

In August 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ordered the FMCSA to vacate its initial final rule after OOIDA pointed out that the agency had failed to address the issue of on-board recorders being used to harass drivers. The harassment issue, one of three arguments presented by the Association, was all it took for the court to rule in OOIDA’s favor in that case.

That rule, dubbed EOBR 1, would have required on-board recorders for carriers with substandard hours of service compliance records.

In a Federal Register notice scheduled to publish on Monday, Feb. 13, FMCSA officials say they will officially remove the regulatory text of EOBR 1 from the regs.

“This will complete the actions required by the Court,” the agency stated.

In the same Federal Register notice, the FMCSA announced its intent to proceed with a broader industry-wide mandate known as EOBR 2. It would require on-board recorders in virtually all trucks engaged in interstate commerce.

The issue of driver harassment is still on the table, and the agency plans to schedule a series of public listening sessions to hear from drivers. Precise dates and times of the sessions have not yet been announced.

Unofficial word from the agency is that one of the sessions is likely to take place during the Mid-America Trucking Show in March in Louisville, KY.

The FMCSA also plans to survey drivers, carriers and vendors regarding the harassment issue, and has asked the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee to develop recommendations to be used in the EOBR 2 rulemaking.

OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer is an appointed member of that advisory committee. He is urging truckers to be involved in the public process during listening sessions and by filing comments in writing.

The public docket number for the EOBR 2 rulemaking is FMCSA-2010-0167.

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