EOBR mandate, CSA rating proposals coming early 2013

| August 27, 2012

At a meeting of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Aug. 27 in Alexandria, Va., FMCSA Government Affairs Director John Drake updated the committee on provisions of the MAP-21 highway bill that would require agency action over the next two years and three months, the bill’s duration.

“Our budget may have remained relatively flat” compared to previous funding levels under SAFETEA-LU, said FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro, but the bill “gave a significant bump in safety…. We’re all extremely excited about the initiatives that MAP-21 enables – much of it was [on] our program’s agenda.”

Among those initiatives on FMCSA’s agenda was the electronic log mandate, which Drake confirmed was on the agency’s schedule to reach Notice of Proposed Rulemaking stage in March of next year, proceeding to a final rule by October.

The EOBR mandate, first proposed in different form decades ago, was among the highway bill’s most controversial provisions. Reflecting that long history and joining others among skeptics of the schedule, “timelines are sometimes not exactly predictable,” said Committee member and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “There are things that can happen along the way.”

One item on the agency’s program agenda that was not included in the highway bill was expanded authority over drivers relative to making its Compliance Safety Accountability’s Driver Safety Measurement System available for public view, said FMCSA Associate Administrator for Enforcement Bill Quade. “One day we may consider doing publicly available driver-scoring systems,” he elaborated, noting “there are many complications that would go along with a driver scoring system,” among them the Privacy Act and other protections of individuals’ identifying information. “We asked Congress in MAP-21 to make [additional FMCSA authorities] crystal clear, but they didn’t.”

Also on the agency’s docket is issuance of an NPRM relative to the longstanding goal of utilizing carriers’ SMS results to compute a final Safety Fitness Determination for companies, Drake said. He expected the NPRM would be available for comment as early as January 2013.

Quade said in a briefing on the CSA system that “we will propose an absolute scale” for ratings in the Safety Fitness Determination, “not a relative scale” like the SMS BASIC (Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Category) numbers. One of the challenges they’re dealing with is “finding a threshold level that does not change month to month.”

MAP-21, Drake said, requires agency completion of “29 rulemakings over the 27-month life of the bill,” a significantly more dense schedule than the previous five-year highway bill’s 36 directed rulemakings.

As of October 1 this year, when MAP-21 goes into effect, FMCSA will gain expanded authority to deal with reincarnated and otherwise high-risk carriers to effectively shut companies down, Drake said. “The way the provision is crafted is in two parts — beginning October 1, if the agency finds a carrier to be an imminent hazard,” not only can FMCSA order the company to cease operations, it will gain enforcement powers to tow and/or impound company vehicles. In future,”there is potential to expand that imminent hazard authority,” he added.

Said Administrator Ferro, “It’s intended for those who defy logic and continue to operate after we’ve shut them down. We’re trying to get to the worst of the worst.”

Other provisions expected to see action over the next year:

  • Rulemaking and updates to the Unified Registration System, which will include expanded authority over freight forwarders and brokers and their new surety bond and reporting requirements.
  • Establishing of the drug and alcohol clearinghouse.
  • Updates to the newly establishing National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners designed to facilitate state reporting to FMCSA of driver medical qualification data.
  • Extension of the MCSAC’s charter through 2013. Said Administrator Ferro, “We thought it was a good opportunity to look at the terms and membership process…. It would include two-year terms renewable only one time with a maximum. It will provide those of you that have been serving diligently from the beginning a break as well.”

Visit mcsac.fmcsa.dot.gov for more information.

  • http://twitter.com/UncoveredDave Dave Hash

    In mandating the use of EOBRs, will there be provisions in place to prevent it from being used as a productivity tool, instead of a logging tool as intended. Many of us are already feeling the abuse they allow.

  • stop the bs

    they need to quit with the silly and waste of time and money on these new laws. all it is about,is to drive the independent out so its all big business companys left. they talk safety buts its really about money in there pockets and states. wake up guys there killing our lively hood.telling us how much we can make.maybe its time we tell the law makers to cut there pay,have to work 6 days aweek,have to wear high dollar clothes.etc.I dont think they would like being told how much they could make and how to make it. Maybe u law makers need to get in a truck and ride around for a while not 1 hour but days. then you might see what we deal with over the road.

  • j d express

    my question is who gets to pick up the cost of these eob’s? I’ll tell you who, the o/o who is struggling to survive with $ 4.00 fuel, $500 per tire, the upteen zillion taxes we have to pay for the privilage to haul their freight, and I won’t even begin to start with the individual states and all their petty fees. When is enough enough ? We are being put out of business in the name of safety, and it is a sad state of affairs when there is noone keeping the leash on the pit bull. How is it the fmsa is able to run roughshod over MY constitutional rights and do what ever is necessary to line the pockets of the powers that be, all in the name of safety? Meanwhile me and mine struggle to pay our bills, maintain equipment properly, take proper care of our children and their needs, and still try to eak out an existance. Who is looking out for the o/o intrests? The feds? HARDLY !! I wish enough companies felt as I did, so we could band together and shut these trucks down for a week. Bet that would get their attention when they go to the store and the shelves are bare.

  • Marty Marsh

    This has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with the Dollar.Every time one of these clowns talks it’s about safety,safety is common sense and shouldn’t cost you your business.These people are justifying their job by making more money for the goverment and states.Now they want to make these records public,which I have nothing to hide,but are you going to make everybodies records public including yours Mr Drake.
    This is about the dollar and complete control,anyone one with a computer in their truck is being monitored 24 hours a day and in more ways that you will never believe.Why do trcking companies have to know about your credit when you apply for a job,it’s control.If you have a problem with the company and can’t resolve it they will resolve by way of breaking you.
    The funny part is company drivers aren’t making that good of a pay check as it is,sure a handful are but not many,and O/O are being forced out because they can’t afford everything the big companies can.
    You can thank the ATA and the goverment for little pay and loss of jobs.Do you like being controlled?You haven’t seen nothing yet.The rich are going to either squeeze you out or make you kiss their butt for a job,your choice.
    After 39 years of not hurting no one,your going to make up a bunch of new laws and tell me I have to live by them.Guess what clowns,I opt out.You can send a couple of people to Englands driver mill to replace me.

  • Marty Marsh

    JD,you can’t 2 people to agree what day it is,but they will when it is to late.

  • E.F.McHenry

    Marty you’re absolutely correct. I have much to add to what you’ve already said but i’ll leave that for another day.

  • quickphil

    I would like to know how any so called republican could have voted for this in the highway bill ! Then in same breath complain about OBAMA care ! They are going to require us o/o to purchase EOBR”S and sattlite service from a private company! call your senator and ask him or her to explain this I cannot see any difference.

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