Should electronic on-board recording devices (EOBRs), used to record a driver’s hours of service, be mandatory, voluntary, or neither? That’s a question that has groups such as the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in a dispute over.
Last September, the U.S. Court of Appeals sided with OOIDA, agreeing that the FMCSA needed to address the issue of driver harassment in their EOBR mandate. Due to this decision, the provision allowing carriers to voluntarily install EOBRs was removed with those truckers now having to abide by regulations put in place prior to the June 2010 ruling.
Recently, OOIDA argued that the FMCSA was continuing to act as “if the reg is still on the book” and stressed that carriers were still voluntarily operating EOBRs on their trucks, violating a driver’s right to privacy.
Carriers are choosing to voluntarily install these devices onto their trucks in order to promote both safety and hours of service (HOS) compliance, an issue that would grow increasing harder if the FMCSA chooses to limit a driver’s HOS from 11 to 10 hours.
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In a letter addressed to OOIDA earlier this week, the FMCSA stated that the group was wrong in believing that that the voluntary installation of EOBRs on trucks by carriers was prohibited, explaining that the final EOBR rule (issued last year) was left out of the Seventh Circuit’s decision, claiming that it “has no bearing whatsoever on motor carriers who wish to install and use HOS monitoring devices that satisfy pre-existing regulatory requirements” (http://www.thetrucker.com/News/Stories/2011/12/1/FMCSAletterrefutesOOIDAclaimaboutlegaluseofEOBRs.aspx).
But OOIDA insists that “FMCSA regulation 395.15, which authorizes the use of ‘automated on-board recorders,’ does not allow for the use of EOBRs that transmit HOS data in real time to motor carriers’ terminals,” an article on thetrucker.com notes.
The FMCSA, however, acknowledged that the regulation does allow for the device to be used for HOS compliance, the article continued.
Do you feel that EOBRs should be mandatory, voluntary, or restricted? List your comments below.