For the Record
By Max Heine
A federal court has denied the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s request that it order the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to not encourage electronic onboard recorder use until the agency reissues rulemaking on the devices.
On March 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit denied OOIDA’s Jan. 19 motion. It asked for the court to direct FMCSA to “cease and desist from authorizing, sanctioning or in any way encouraging” using the EOBR to increase hours of service compliance until the agency issues a rule ensuring the devices will not be used to harass drivers.
The same court ruled in favor of OOIDA last August, vacating the agency’s 2010 rule that would have mandated EOBRs on all trucks used by certain noncompliant carriers. OOIDA asked the court for the order because it said FMCSA had violated the August ruling.
That earlier decision was that the agency’s EOBR rule had not met statutory requirements, namely, a federal regulation stipulating the FMCSA ensure these devices are not used to “harass vehicle operators.”
In November, the association wrote agency representatives, citing a trade publication article from the previous month. It asserted the report indicated FMCSA officials were pursuing “a policy of encouraging” carriers to use EOBRs without first publishing regulations ensuring the devices are not used for harassment. The agency should “not permit or facilitate” EBORs as an enforcement tool until such a final rule is published, OOIDA said.
The three-judge panel’s order does not provide reasons for denying the motion.