Late last week, U.S. Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced legislation that would require electronic onboard recorders (EOBRs) on commercial trucks. According to a release from Pryor, the devices help enforce hours-of-service regulations, and the need for a uniform standard is the driving force behind the legislation.
“The trucking industry faces the constant balancing act of keeping fatigued drivers off the road while ensuring stores are full of merchandise,” Pryor said. “After several meetings with the trucking industry and Senate hearings on highway safety, I believe the most effective solution is to require the use of electronic on-board recorders. This legislation will ensure the entire industry puts safety and driver quality of life before profit.”
Under the legislation, the Commercial Driver Compliance Improvement Act, carriers and truck drivers would be required to install the devices in commercial vehicles. The Dept. of Transportation (DOT) would be required to issue regulations, setting design and performance standards for the devices, within 18 months of the bill’s passage.
“The use of electronic on board recorders is critical to the safe movement of goods on our nation's highways, ,” said Steve Williams, chairman & CEO, of carrier Maverick USA, in the news release issued by Pryor’s office. “I commend Senator Pryor for his continued commitment to safety and the re-introduction of this important legislation.”
According to a statement from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. (OOIDA), the legislation does not accurately address the different aspects of a truck driver’s day, such as loading and unloading time.
“With all due respect to Sen. Pryor, EOBRs will not improve highway safety,” said Todd Spencer, executive vp of OOIDA. “However, they sure will cost small-business truckers their hard-earned money and their privacy. EOBRs are nothing more than over-priced record keepers lobbied by big business trucking companies to wipe out small business competition.”
Pryor and Alexander had proposed a similar bill last September.
At the end of January, DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) unveiled its long-awaited electronic onboard recorder (EOBR) rule. The regulation, which would go into effect three years following publication of the final rule, would mandate nearly all motor carriers install EOBRs to monitor drivers’ HOS.
FMCSA’s proposal would require any carrier that maintains Records of Duty Status (RODS) for HOS recordkeeping to use EOBRs.