Agency studying whether EOBRs can be used to harass drivers

| December 13, 2012

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is requesting comment on a proposed survey examining driver harassment and coercion related to electric onboard recorders.

On Dec. 13, the agency announced it would submit an Information Collection Request to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review and approval. The FMCSA has projected a Feb. 14 publication date for an EOBR Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and will consider survey results before issuing a Final Rule.

The survey is meant to determine the extent that using the devices to document drivers’ hours of service also could be used by carriers or enforcement personnel to harass drivers or monitor driver productivity. The survey also is intended to gauge what degree respondents believe EOBRs may result in coercion of drivers by carriers, shippers, receivers and transportation intermediaries.

The survey also is intended to gauge what degree respondents believe EOBRs may result in coercion of drivers by carriers, shippers, receivers and transportation intermediaries.

Agency representatives are requesting comment on any aspect of the proposed information collection, including ways it can enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information to be collected. It anticipates an estimated 1,039 respondents.

The agency will conduct two in-depth interviews with carriers, 20 carrier pre-test web interviews, 400 carrier main survey web interviews and 100 carrier non-response telephone follow-up interviews. It will also carry out seven driver in-depth interviews and 510 driver intercept interviews.

In July, Congress approved an omnibus transportation appropriations bill in July mandating truck EOBRs. That legislation requires these regulations ensure the devices not be used to harass or coerce drivers. Last year, a federal appeals court vacated FMCSA’s original EOBR rule after the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association successfully argued it provided insufficient protection against driver harassment.

Late next year, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institution is expected to report FMCSA-funded research on safety benefits of recorders. The study will also examine costs and if EOBRs improve hours-of-service compliance.

The FMCSA will accept comments received on or before Feb. 11 and all submissions must include Docket No. FMCSA-2012-0309.  Comment may be submitted one of the following ways, but the agency asks commentators not to submit feedback using more than one method to avoid duplication:

Notice: Overdrive is transitioning to a new comment platform due to technical problems with the former commenting system. The new commenting system is now live. We are currently in the process of moving all of the comments from the old system into the new system. We appreciate your patience in the meantime.

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