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FMCSA Moves Closer to Electronic On-Board Recorder Rule

FMCSA Moves Closer to Electronic On-Board Recorder Rule

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said it is continuing to work toward an electronic on-board recorder (EOBR) rule, which was mandated in the most recent highway authorization bill, and expects to issue its initial rule in March.

After a public comment period, the FMCSA expects to issue the final rule in October, and carriers then have two years to equip their trucks with the electronic logging devices.

The agency has been moving toward a rule for years and had finalized a rule that was slated to take effect in June 2012.

In 2011, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the agency’s EOBR rule failed to ensure that the devices wouldn’t be used to harass truck drivers, delaying the rule.

The court said, “The agency needs to consider what types of harassment already exist, how frequently, and to what extent harassment happens, and how an electronic device capable of contemporaneous transmission of information to a motor carrier will guard against (or fail to guard against) harassment.”

The FMCSA is now working with motor carriers and drivers to determine how it could prevent driver harassment when issuing its new EOBR rule.

In December, the agency issued an information collection request on how it could - and is - accepting comments.

One thing that’s very positive with this all this electronic logging discussion and eventual regulatory change is that it has certainly stepped up the interest in commercial telematics products,” said Mike Flynn, Penske Truck Leasing manager of on-board technology.

A growing number of fleets are turning to EOBRs to increase driver safety. There are more than 350,000 EOBRs already in use in the trucking industry.

The federal government’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program has been driving carriers to adopt EOBRs to improve their results. The devices also allow carriers to eliminate paper records and to reduce driver admin time.

EOBRs can also provide more visibility into safe driving behaviors. Drivers can gain miles per month with EOBRs because they manage their time better and dispatchers better manage load assignments.

As technology providers prepare for the mandate, many are rolling out new, more convenient technology, including fleet management platforms that run on mobile devices instead of hard-wired, on-board computers.

Some providers are also incorporating built-in printers into their devices that can provide paper reports at roadside inspections.

“We’ll definitely see some fleets adopt simple, one-solution tools that comply with the mandate, but others will take this as an opportunity to investigate a telematics solution that provides numerous benefits for their organization,” Flynn explained. “Inevitably this will be a very positive step for our industry and customer base.”

Contact Penske Truck Leasing today to discuss your on-board fleet technology needs.

By “Move Ahead” Staff