The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on April 12 requested additional public comment on its Feb. 1 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding mandatory electronic onboard recorders for commercial motor vehicle operators who must keep records of duty status.
In its latest EOBR proposal and in a previous EOBR rulemaking published on April 5, 2010, FMCSA advised it is required by law to ensure that electronic devices are not used to harass CMV drivers resulting from invasion of their privacy, although they can be used by motor carriers to monitor productivity.
FMCSA said in light of recent litigation brought by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association challenging the agency’s treatment of driver harassment in the first EOBR rulemaking, it wants to ensure that interested parties can comment on the issue in the current EOBR rulemaking.
OOIDA challenged the first EOBR final rule in a lawsuit brought in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. In that case (Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. v. U.S. Dep’t of Transp. [Case No. 10-2340] [7th Cir.]), OOIDA raised several concerns relating to EOBRs and their potential for harassment by fleets. During oral argument on Feb. 7, the court specifically noted these concerns.
The first EOBR rule is a final FMCSA action and remains under review by the Seventh Circuit, but FMCSA argued the rule properly protects drivers from harassment. The agency also will continue to accept and consider comments on all other issues within the scope of the proposed rule.
Comments must be received by May 23. To comment, go to www.regulations.gov; the docket number is FMCSA-2010-0167.