EOBR comment period extended to May 23

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is extending the comment period on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding electronic onboard recorders and hours-of-service supporting documents. Comments originally were due April 4, but the agency has granted a 45-day extension to May 23.

FMCSA said both the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the American Trucking Associations requested the extension. In granting the extension, FMCSA said it believes that others planning to make comments also would benefit from the extra time.

Under the proposal, all interstate commercial truck and bus carriers that now use logbooks to track compliance with HOS regulations would have to use EOBRs instead. The proposal would relieve carriers of the current requirement to retain certain HOS documents, such as delivery and toll receipts, that are used to verify the number of hours the vehicle is in operation. About 500,000 carriers would be affected by the proposed rule, FMCSA said.

Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered FMCSA to issue a NPRM on hours supporting documents by yearend. In December, the court gave the agency another month – until Jan. 31 – to comply. The court order stemmed from a lawsuit ATA filed in early 2010 to compel FMCSA to move forward with a regulation as mandated by Congress in the mid-1990s.

By the time ATA filed its lawsuit, FMCSA already had announced it was planning to link new regulations on supporting documents to an expansion of the EOBR mandate. Last April, FMCSA issued a final rule requiring carriers that have a history of serious log violations to install EOBRs; that rule takes effect in June 2012.

The proposal and information about how to submit comments is available by clicking here. The proposed rule also continues the U.S. Department of Transportation’s partnership with Cornell University on the e-Rulemaking Initiative. For more information, go to www.regulationroom.org.