By Sean McNally, Senior Reporter
This story appears in the Dec. 24-31 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.
WASHINGTON — John Hill, head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, said the agency’s final electronic onboard-recorders rule would include a larger mandate than the original proposal.
In early 2007, FMCSA published a proposal to require EOBRs only for carriers that regularly violate the hours-of-service rules and would provide regulatory incentives for other carriers to adopt them.
However, Hill said during a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Surface Transportation Subcommittee Dec. 19, “in our proposal we had limited the number, but I am looking to expand the number of drivers that would be covered by that and I plan to do that.”
He added: “I believe that the future of hours-of-service compliance is EOBRs.”
Hill said recently he intended to publish a final rule on EOBRs sometime in 2008.
Hill had been criticized by the panel’s chairman, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook, who said the agency’s original proposal would require the technology on “only one-tenth of 1%” of motor carriers.
“We have technology that records hours of service, but the FMCSA, the nation’s top truck safety agency, has failed to require it and instead continues to allow truckers to drive for longer and longer periods of time,” Lautenberg said.
“It seems that would be a better way to understand what’s happening — to have it done electronically and to make sure there’s no abuse,” he said.
Claybrook said, “There’s no way you can accurately enforce any kind of hours of service without an onboard recorder rule.”
On Dec. 17, in a letter to Hill, Mark Rosenker, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said the board was recommending that FMCSA “require all interstate commercial vehicle carriers to use electronic onboard recorders.”