A final rule has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget regarding electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) for Hours of Service compliance.
The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) comment period ended April 18, 2007, with the final rule expected out of OMB sometime in February.
According to what is known publicly this rulemaking would amend the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to incorporate new performance standards for EOBRs installed in commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) manufactured 2 years after the effective date of a final rule.
On April 18, 2007, The Trucker reported that the comment period for the EOBR proposed rule had ended. John Hill was administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and George W. Bush was president. When President Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, all pending federal rules were halted. And thus this rule has been sitting for a while.
The contents of the final rule will not become public until it’s released by OMB. In the proposed rule, FMCSA called for the following EOBR performance requirements:
• Ability to identify the individual driver
• Tamper resistance
• Ability to produce records for audit
• Ability of roadside enforcement personnel to access the HOS information quickly and easily
• Level of protection afforded other personal, operational, or proprietary information
• Cost, and
• Driver acceptability.
FMCSA only proposed (in the NPRM) requiring EOBR use for those carriers found to have HOS violation rates of 10 percent or more of the records reviewed during each of two compliance reviews, when the two reviews are conducted within a two-year period, according to the NPRM.
From Jan. 20, 2009, until Nov. 13, 2009, the FMCSA was without an administrator at which time Anne Ferro was sworn in.
U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and chairman of the Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security Subcommittee, spoke out in September 2009 on the nomination of Ferro stating that FMCSA was an agency in “dire need of reform.” And he added that he was concerned about Ferro’s ability to “take the bold action needed to keep Americans safe.”
Lautenberg was upset that the current HOS rules were reissued and before Ferro was approved as administrator it was announced that FMCSA would take another look at the rule and issue new HOS rules. It was reported by some that a deal was struck that would give Ferro the job as FMCSA administrator if HOS was rewritten.
At that time, Lautenberg also said, “EOBRs should be used on every large truck to make sure we have accurate data on the amount of time an operator has been driving. Yet the FMCSA has failed to require these recorders on all trucks, instead proposing a rule that would require only 930 out of 700,000 carriers to use them.”
The OMB has up to 90 days to review a rule so the final rule should be out sometime in February.
Barb Kampbell of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.