According to this report from Fox News, citing confidential sources knowledgeable of ongoing Senate/House conference committee work on final highway bill language, a deal has been reached that includes removal of the mandate for interstate carriers to use EOBRs for hours-of-service compliance.
Here’s the language in the Fox report: “At the insistence of House Republicans, the Senate dropped a safety provision that would have required commercial trucks to be equipped with devices that keep track of how many hours drivers spend behind the wheel. The purpose of the devices is to keep drivers who haven’t had enough rest off the road. The provision was supported by large commercial truck companies, safety advocates and labor unions, but opposed by drivers who own their trucks.”
Look for more on this tomorrow via http://overdriveonline.com.
EOBRs reportedly back in the bill as of this morning. OOIDA press release states, “The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the largest trade organization representing professional truckers and small-business truckers, said they are not deterred by the provision for EOBRs, electronic on-board recorders, in the new, tentative highway bill negotiated by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives conferees. As written in the bill, EOBRs will be capable of real-time tracking for monitoring of long haul trucks and drivers.”
OOIDA is urging opponents of the EOBR mandate to support an amendment in a House transportation appropriations bill that would cut off any tax-dollar funding for an EOBR mandate. More on that on their website.
FURTHER UPDATE, 7/28/12:
Language in a copy of the tentative highway bill I’ve received here relative to the EOBR mandate stipulates the devices must: “accurately record commercial driver hours of service…, record the location of a commercial motor vehicle [i.e. GPS]…, be tamper resistant…, and synchronized to the operation of the vehicle engine or be capable of recognizing when the vehicle is being operated.”
A following section regarding certified/noncertified electronic logging devices would rule out a lot of the computer-assisted logs out there today — not tethered to the vehicle — as legal alternatives for interstate haulers.
Interestingly, there’s likewise language in the draft bill requiring a study of the revised restart provisions in the new hours rule, relative to their effectiveness in reducing crashes.
FURTHER UPDATE, 7/28/12:
Final update on this post for now, with some links to more info about specific provisions posted elsewhere on OverdriveOnline.com: