FMCSA formally repeals electronic log rule

| May 14, 2012

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a final rule that formally rescinds its April 2010 final rule concerning electronic onboard recorders for hours-of-service compliance. FMCSA’s action responds to a court decision that vacated the rule that would have mandated EOBRs on all trucks used by certain non-compliant carriers.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in August 2011 vacated the agency’s EOBR rule following a challenge by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. OOIDA had argued that the final rule had not met federal regulations stipulating FMCSA ensure the devices not be used to harass vehicle operators.

FMCSA on Feb. 10 announced its intent to move forward with its rulemaking regarding EOBRs and hours-of-service supporting documents by preparing a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking. FMCSA also announced via the Federal Register several steps to augment its efforts to obtain comprehensive data to support its supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking, including:
• Listening sessions on the issue of driver harassment;
• Tasking the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee to assist in developing material to support the rulemaking, including technical specifications for EOBRs and their potential to be used to harass drivers; and
• Conducting research by surveying drivers, carriers and vendors regarding harassment issues.

The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee on Feb. 8 finalized a report on mitigating the use of EOBRs to harass drivers that provides suggestions to FMCSA. The document contained information the agency should explore in any rulemaking on EOBRs for hours-of-service compliance.

Harassment issues relative to electronic logs cover driver relationships with law enforcement personnel and carriers, tilting heavily toward the latter and favoring drivers’ positions in certain instances. A Feb. 8 draft said, “Drivers should be able to save records of carrier contact with drivers.” The statement was presented relative to an item about the difficulty of regulating the role EOBRs can play in hours-of-service compliance.

“Trying to regulate the difference between productivity measures and carrier actions that result in harassment is difficult because it should be judged by a standard of reasonableness that could be interpreted differently based on a specific factual circumstance,” the item read.

FMCSA held an EOBR listening session April 26 in Bellevue, Wash., to allow interested persons to present comments, views and relevant new research the agency should consider in development of its SNPRM.

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  • gregbo

    Alright. Big brother needs to know where I am and what I’m doing every minute of every day so if I’m delayed at a shipper and have to work a 15 hour day to find a place to park they can cash in with a big fine. Not that they give a rat’s ass about my well being. Here’s a radical idea: carriers should be prohibited by law from contacting a driver who is logged on line 1 or line 2 either by quallcom or cell phone. Would these FMSCA clowns tolerate a 2:00 A.M. phone call telling them to “get moving” ? I’m pretty sure they’d file a lawsuit.
    But when it comes to truck drivers it’s complicated “Trying to regulate the difference between productivity measures and carrier actions that result in harassment is difficult”.
    Productivity measures? The last time I checked, a driver who doesn’t drive doesn’t get paid. The big carriers are writing the rules and the government let’s them based on 2 powerful incentives. First, treating truck drivers like human beings and compensating them for their work and risk would drive up the cost of freight with serious economic consequences. Secondly, truck drivers are a significant revenue stream for state governments who impose ridiculous fines for minor infractions. Thank You to OOIDA for defending the driver.

  • Marty Marsh

    The driver need flexibility to do the job and freedom away from restrictions control excessively time and movement under the goal safety but look alike dictate to rise monies by harassing the drivers.

  • Helen Abbs

    Thank the Lord for OOIDA—may the Lord Jesus bless them for the help they give to truckers.

  • freddy weigel

    Agree with Helen and Butch, Hi remember me (green Intl in Fema Lakehurst nj)

  • royce dressel

    hey thats great ,so…..that means i get my job back at crete carriers right? NO? oh my,well i guess i’m still screwed then. Gosh, thanx for being so darn safe crete and not going too far out of your way to give your drivers heart attacks and such. keep up the outstanding whatever you call it. nice day.

  • p kilerlain

    now we need to contact or congress person as they are trying pass a EOBR`s mandate in the highway bill in congress right now thanks phil

  • Michael

    Well I can say this . It’s time to compensate the drivers for everything we do the way I see it if your in the truck you should be paid period the min. you leave your home til you get back I don’t care if your driving or sleeping or just waiting to be loaded or unloaded you need to be paid your on the clock . tell me what job logs you off when your just standing around waiting for someone else to do there job so you can do yours NOT ONE Except truckers . it’s time we get paid for every min. we are not home . also we should have food paid for while on the road were not at home were at work for more than 8 hours we should get food paid for . strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.