OTTAWA — The Canadian Trucking Alliance said recently that “it seems abundantly clear that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) views its latest EOBR rule issued on April 2 as ‘an interim step and will inevitably move towards a much broader if not universal mandate for electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs).’”
A working group of the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) has been tasked by the Council of Deputy Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety to come up with recommendations for a Canadian EOBR mandate this fall. According to the CEO of CTA, David Bradley, whose association has long supported a universal EOBR mandate, “Canada is not bound by the same regulatory structures as US and could if it so chooses move to a broad or universal mandate from the outset.”
“Obviously, you would still want to be harmonized with the U.S. from a technology standards point of view, and it is imperative that industry and government reach accord on a fair and equitable enforcement policy, and a technology investment plan, but there is no obligation on the Canadian governments to introduce an interim, remedial step as the FMCSA is doing.” In fact, he says, “it would likely only take a couple of U.S. fleets to get caught up in the new rule before you’d see more of them calling for universal mandate. “
CTA has prepared an overview of the major issues highlighted in the final rule that may be of interest to carriers. Copies of this overview have been provided to the provincial trucking associations. Carriers belonging to those organizations can contact them directly for a copy.
In its comments in the Federal Register, the FMCSA says it “acknowledges the safety concerns of Congress, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and the many organizations and individuals that submitted comments to the (January 2007) NPRM in support of a broader EOBR mandate.” However, it was not able to extend the EOBR mandate beyond those covered by this week’s final rule because “the scope of the current rulemaking proceeding is limited to compliance-based regulatory approaches, implemented through a remedial directive.” As a result, the FMCSA announced it “has begun work to evaluate regulatory options for significantly expanding the population of carriers covered by an EOBR mandate.” This will occur under a new rulemaking proceeding to be started later this year.
In the meantime, the FMCSA said it will be expanding the scope of carriers deemed to have “serious” patterns of hours of service violations. The 2009 rule will affect carriers with 10 percent or greater hours of service violations during a single compliance review. Carriers who exceed this threshold will be required to install EOBRs on all their vehicles for a two-year period. The FMCSA estimates that nearly 5,700 interstate carriers will use EOBRs after the final rule's first year of implementation. (The new rule will go into effect on June 1, 2012.) Under the 2007 rule, the 10 percent rate was based on two audits conducted within a 2-year period, which was expected to impact as many as 930 carriers per year.
The Trucker staff may be contacted to comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.