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ATA files amicus brief in support of FMCSA on EOBR challenge

The Court vacated the rule because it said the FMCSA failed to address driver harassment by EOBRs in the rulemaking process. ATA urged the Court "to reject the calls to prevent fleets from using these powerful compliance tools.”

The Trucker News Services

2/28/2012

ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Trucking Associations said today that it filed an amicus brief Feb. 24 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in support of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s defense of electronic logging devices.

“ATA supports the use of electronic logging devices, which have demonstrated the ability to improve carriers’ compliance with FMCSA’s Hours of Service regulations,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. “With this filing, we urge the Court to reject the calls to prevent fleets from using these powerful compliance tools.”

Siding with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and three of its members, the Court on Aug. 26, 2011, said FMCSA did not meet a specific requirement set by Congress who, in the Truck and Bus Safety and Regulatory Reform Act of 1988, “foresaw that monitoring devices on trucks might be used to enforce Hours of Service rules, and that these devices could potentially be used to harass drivers.”

Harassment, according to the OOIDA petition, would encompass the sort of pressure carriers exert over drivers. This includes ordering them to keep driving — whether tired or not — as long as there is time remaining under the HOS limit, as monitored by an EOBR system.

The court vacated the rule because it said the FMCSA failed to address driver harassment by EOBRs in the rulemaking process.

More recently the Court ordered FMCSA to respond by Feb. 6 to a motion by OOIDA that asked the court to order the agency to stop promoting the voluntary use of EOBRs to track HOS.

OOIDA claimed the promotion amounts to “blatant disregard” for the court’s Aug. 26, 2011, decision vacating the FMCSA rule known as EOBR I.

Graves, in a news release today said that “Thousands of responsible, safety-minded truck fleets throughout this country voluntarily use this technology to ensure their drivers are complying with federal HOS requirements.

“The Court should dismiss this challenge and reaffirm the longstanding authorization to voluntarily use electronic logging devices while FMCSA works toward addressing questions about a future, wider mandate for their use.“

(The agency's EOBR I applied to the worst safety offenders. FMCSA issued a second proposed EOBR rulemaking in January 2011 that would require all carriers to use EOBRs. But but it dealt with harassment in the same manner as the vacated rule.)

Amer. Truckers Legal