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FMCSA to hold listening sessions on EOBRs at Louisville show

The primary purpose of the listening sessions will be to hear driver input on the issue of the use of EOBRs to harass drivers, the FMCSA said in a notice in the Federal Register earlier this month.

The Trucker Staff

2/22/2012

WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will hold two listening sessions on the proposed electronic on-board recorder rule Friday, March 23 during the Mid-America Trucking Show at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky.

The morning session will run from 10 a.m. to noon and the afternoon session from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The locations have not been announced, although all seminars and similar sessions are held in the South Wing. The locations will be posted throughout the building and likely will be most visible in the South Wing, which also houses the largest registration area.

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FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro first publicly announced the intent to hold the listening sessions when she addressed the Mid-West Truckers Association in Peoria, Ill., Feb. 3. She is expected to attend the listening sessions.

The primary purpose of the listening sessions will be to hear driver input on the issue of the use of EOBRs to harass drivers, the FMCSA said in a notice in the Federal Register earlier this month.

The rulemaking is aimed at a new, universal EOBR requirement for the trucking industry.

In April 2010 the agency issued a final rule that provided new technical requirements for EOBRs. That rule also required the limited, remedial use of EOBRs by any motor carrier found to have aignificant HOS violations. The final rule required EOBRs on all of those carriers' trucks for two years. The compliance date for the rule was to be June 4 of this year.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), however, successfully challenged the final rule in federal court. OOIDA raised several concerns relating to EOBRs and their potential use for driver harassment.

The court held that, contrary to statutory requirements, FMCSA failed to address the issue of driver harassment, including how EOBRs could potentially be used to harass drivers and ways to ensure that EOBRs were not used to harass drivers.

The court also noted the agency had not estimated the safety benefits of EOBRs currently in use and how much EOBRs increased compliance.

And because the EOBR 2 rule, originally proposed a year ago, relied on the technical specifications provided in the vacated rule, FMCSA must again propose and seek comment on new technical standards before any final rule concerning use of an EOBR device is issued. These proposed technical standards would take into account the official MCSAC recommendations, as well as public comments.

The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at editor@thetrucker.com.

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