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ATA Supports EOBR Rule in Court Brief

2/28/2012 4:00:00 PM
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American Trucking Associations has defended the federal government’s moves to encourage the use of electronic onboard recorders among trucking fleets in a brief filed in federal court.

The amicus brief supporting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is in opposition to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which has asked the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to order the federal government to stop encouraging EOBR use.

ATA’s brief, filed on Friday and announced on Tuesday, centers on a 1988 regulation that allows carriers to use “automated onboard recording devices� to log driver hours.

Though the Seventh Circuit court last year overturned a requirement that some carriers use EOBRs, voluntary use of the devices is still allowed under the 1988 regulation, ATA wrote.

OOIDA’s argument “boils down to the peculiar notion that even if a device meets all of the criteria specified in the 1988 rule, it somehow becomes unauthorized if someone uses the magic word ‘EOBR,’ � ATA wrote.

“That contention defies logic, defies the text of the 1988 rule, and defies the history of the industry’s use of on-board recording devices under the terms of the 1988 rule,� ATA said, asking the court to reject OOIDA’s argument and reject its request for an order against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

In August, the court agreed with OOIDA that FMCSA failed to consider the possibility of driver harassment in its EOBR mandate. FMCSA’s regulation also allowed the agency to encourage the use of EOBRs voluntarily, so OOIDA argued in its January motion that “FMCSA’s conduct directly conflicts with this Court’s ruling.�

ATA e group asked the court to issue an order directing FMCSA to “cease and desist from authorizing, sanctioning or in any way encouraging the use of electronic monitoring devices to increase compliance with hours-of-service regulations until it has promulgated regulations that ensure that such devices will not be used to harass drivers.�

FMCSA will host a ‘listening session’ on the EOBR issue next month at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

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