Comment period extended for electronic logging proposal

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday, May 16, 2014 – Truckers and stakeholders wishing to file comments on the FMCSA’s proposal that could one day mandate electronic logging devices now have until June 26 to file them.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration granted a monthlong extension this week at the urging of stakeholder groups.

The proposal, which is a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking, would amend the federal regs to establish minimum performance standards for electronic logging devices, require the devices for all drivers who are required to log their record-of-duty status (RODS), and take measures to ensure the devices are not used by carriers or others to harass drivers.

According to the FMCSA, the supplemental notice responds to a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in a case won by OOIDA to prohibit ELDs from being used as a tool to harass commercial drivers.

Congress also requires the federal agency to address the harassment issue while developing a rule on ELDs.

OOIDA opposes an industry-wide mandate for electronic logging devices, formerly called EOBRs and referred to in a recent study as electronic hours-of-service recorders, or “EHSRs.”

On Friday, OOIDA issued a statement that criticizes the federal study on the estimated safety benefits of electronic logs.

The study, commissioned by the FMCSA and conducted by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, claims that electronic logs increase hours-of-service compliance and would therefore reduce driver fatigue and fatigue-related crashes.

“The study’s conclusion is flawed because it included all other types of crashes except those that supposedly would be prevented with electronic logging devices,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said.

The study admits that it is “skewed” to favor large carriers and is not representative of small-business trucking.

OOIDA favors comprehensive training standards for entry-level drivers over technological mandates when it comes to safety.

“We’d like to see well-trained drivers put into trucks instead of unproven technology,” Spencer said. “It is the hallmark of a bureaucracy to embrace billion-dollar mandates in the name of safety while all but ignoring the absence of even basic driver training for new drivers entering the industry.”

To file comments, click here, or here, and refer to Docket No. FMCSA-2010-0167.

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