The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published a proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register
that would require commercial truckers to install electronic logging devices to monitor the number of hours in each driver’s shift.
Officials say the devices, known as electronic on-board recorders (EOBR), will reduce the number of hours-of-service violations because it will be “more difficult for drivers to misrepresent their time on logbooks and avoid detection by FMCSA and law enforcement personnel. The amount of paperwork necessary to fulfill the hours-of-service filing requirements will also be reduced, according to a press release.
An FMCSA analysis shows that the devices will ultimately save carriers $394.8 million annually by reducing the number of crashes that occur due to driver fatigue.
“Today's proposal will improve safety while helping businesses by cutting unnecessary paperwork -- exactly the type of government streamlining President Obama called for in his State of the Union address,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “By leveraging innovative technology with electronic logging devices, we have the opportunity to save lives and boost efficiency for both motor carriers and safety inspectors.”
The American Trucking Associations threw its support behind the proposed rulemaking, but added that the organization has a general concern about requirements regarding document retention and the use of existing on-board monitoring devices and whether or not they would be grandfathered-in to the new law.
“We’re pleased that we’re now seeing a proposal from FMCSA,” ATA Executive Vice President Dave Osiecki said in a statement. “After carefully considering stakeholder input on this proposal, we urge the agency to move quickly to craft a final rule that ensures deployment of tamper-proof equipment, while still ensuring the regulatory flexibility needed to accommodate the diversity of the trucking industry and the electronic logging devices vendor community."
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has called electronic logging device proposals a "big brother" mandate that the trucking industry does not need. In 2012, the organization banded together with the National Federation of Independent Businesses and a host of other groups to oppose the devices.
“All of us are committed to making our highways safer, but the Department of Transportation has not made a clear case that the safety benefits of an EOBR mandate outweigh the costs,” the groups wrote. They estimated that the devices would cost the industry “at least $2 billion.”
The proposed rulemaking now enters a 60-day comment period.