Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator John Hill told the Senate subcommittee on transportation yesterday that the agency is currently reviewing comments to its proposed rule on electronic onboard recorders (EOBRs). He said no decisions have yet been made on where FMCSA is headed with this rulemaking No decisions have been made on the next stage of the EOBR rule.
Acknowledging criticism from safety advocates that the proposed rule is too weak because it doesn’t mandate the industry-wide installation of EOBRs, Hill said the costs far outweighed the benefits.
“FMCSA recognizes the views of many in the highway safety community and the general public about mandating EOBRs,” Hill said in a prepared statement. “However, there are several million CMVs (commercial motor vehicles) on America’s roads today. Our estimated costs for mandating EOBRs on every vehicle in the fleet greatly exceeded the e estimated benefits at the time we published the April 2003 final rule on drivers’ HOS”
The proposed rule would require that motor carriers that have a 10% or greater violation rate within a two-year period for certain HOS regs install EOBRs. The agency favored an incentive-based approach to encouraging industry-wide EOBR adoption by offering to revise its compliance review to examine a random sample of drivers’ records of duty status, and providing relief from HOS supporting documents requirements.
Hill said FMCSA’s 2006 Large Truck Crash Causation Study indicated that 13% of large truck drivers involved in crashes were believed to be fatigued.
“FMCSA estimates that, when adhered to fully, the changes to the HOS rules will save lives each year as a result of giving drivers an increased incremental amount of time to obtain rest and sleep,” Hill said. “EOBRs will monitor non-complying motor carriers for compliance with these important rules.”
FMCSA estimates 930 carriers with 17,500 drivers will be required to install EOBRs within the first two years of the rule’s enforcement.
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