Overdrive Staff | April 01, 2012

FOR-HIRE TRUCK TONNAGE Index from the American Trucking Associations fell 4 percent in January after surging 6.4 percent in December. For all of 2011, tonnage rose 5.8 percent, and matched 2010’s gain.



FMCSA wants EOBR survey excluded

In ongoing litigation over electronic onboard recorders, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration wants omitted from the court record a driver survey indicating enforcement officers make poor use of EOBR data, while carriers utilize the devices effectively to harass drivers.

On March 5, the agency requested the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit remove an Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association survey of its members included in its lawsuit against FMCSA.

Respondents indicated law enforcement made little use of EOBR data to verify hours of service compliance, but carriers used this technology to monitor drivers most or all of the time and to demand longer working hours. Half of the 4,000 members who responded to the survey operated trucks with EOBRs.

In January, OOIDA asked the court to direct FMCSA to quit “authorizing, sanctioning or in any way encouraging” EOBRs for HOS compliance until the agency passes rulemaking ensuring the devices will not be used to harass drivers.

Five months earlier, the same court ruled in OOIDA’s favor and vacated the agency’s 2010 rule that would have mandated EOBRs on all trucks used by the most non-compliant carriers. It ordered FMCSA to issue a new rule for the technology that also satisfied another federal regulation stipulating the agency ensure EOBRs are not used to harass vehicle operators.

After that, OOIDA contended FMCSA officials began pursuing a “policy of encouraging” carriers to use EOBRs without first publishing the necessary regulation. The association included its survey in a March 2 response to the American Trucking Associations’ filing of an amicus, or friend of the court, brief siding with the agency.

In its March 5 response, FMCSA protested OOIDA President James Johnston’s filing of his declaration detailing the survey. That declaration “draws conclusions from that survey disparaging” the ATA and other respondents and without responding to the ATA’s argument, the agency said.

Johnston said respondents with the devices reported law enforcement did not know how to deal with the technology. Fifty-five percent reported officers waived the HOS portion of inspection when they learned the data was in electronic format, while 39 percent said officers did not know how to access the information. Sixteen percent reported enforcement officials misused or misinterpreted the information displayed.

— Jill Dunn




SURFACE TRANSPORTATION trade between the United States and Canada and Mexico in December increased 11.6 percent over December 2010 to $74 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

SHELL ROTELLA will hold its 30th anniversary SuperRigs competition May 17-19 at the Speedco in Joplin, Mo. More than $30,000 in cash and prizes will be on the line. Owner-operators will compete for cash and prizes and the chance to be featured in the 2013 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar.

FEBRUARY North America Class 8 truck total net orders topped 22,200 units, FTR Associates said. February orders were 11 percent below January. This was the second consecutive month of month-over-month and year-over-year decreases.

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