America News: Mixed reaction to FMCSA’s proposed EOBR ruling

America News:  Mixed reaction to FMCSA’s proposed EOBR ruling

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposed ruling regarding electronic on-board recorders has drawn a mixed response. While the ATA supports the proposal, the OOIDA says it misses the mark.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) said that the proposed regulation outlines a sensible approach to the greater implementation of technology designed to improve safety and document driver compliance with work and rest rules.

ATA president & CEO Bill Graves said: “We support this incentive-based approach to the use of electronic on-board recorders. Technology can play a significant role in enhancing road safety and help to ensure the reliability of commercial vehicle operation.”

In response to a new policy adopted by its membership, ATA has pushed for a pilot program that would determine the effectiveness of EOBRs in improving compliance and safety performance, while also addressing the industry’s diverse nature. ATA also believes that incentives would assist motor carriers in adopting the technology.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), however, believes the proposal is a misguided attempt to deal with the root causes of HOS violations.

The OOIDA says that until the FMCSA addresses the issue of loading and unloading time, EOBRs will not be a tamper-proof record of HOS compliance.

EOBRs record only the movement of a truck, not the 30 – 40 hours per week that drivers can spend loading and unloading. The OOIDA says that this has enabled many carriers to use the devices to push drivers to maximise their on-duty hours, regardless of the drivers’ need for rest.

Furthermore, with many shippers and carriers paying drivers only for miles driven, there’s no incentive to address the issue of these “payment free” hours.

“Given the clearly demonstrated shortcomings of EOBRs, it is astounding that FMCSA would consider economic incentives to encourage motor carriers to buy this technology while providing zero incentive or support to professional drivers squeezed in the economic/regulatory vice,” says the OOIDA. “Unfortunately, this proposal could even have a negative impact on highway safety.

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