FMCSA Seeks Comments on EOBRs and Driver Harassment


By TruckingInfo Staff

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is asking for additional comments on whether its proposed mandate for electronic onboard recorders sets up the possibility of driver harassment.

The agency believes its proposal would ensure that EOBRs are not used to harass drivers, but in reaction to a recent suit challenging its treatment of harassment in an earlier EOBR rule, it wants to be sure that everyone has a chance to comment on the issue.

The suit was brought by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association against last year’s rule requiring any carrier that violates the hours of service rules 10 percent of the time to install EOBRs in its trucks. In its suit OOIDA raised concerns about the potential for EOBR harassment. The rule, which is scheduled to go into effect in July 2012, is now under review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

The safety agency is looking for comments on the proposal it published earlier this year that would expand the EOBR requirement to most of the industry rather than just the 10 percent violators.

The agency is required by law to consider the possibility of harassment – defined as an invasion of driver privacy – in drafting an eobr requirement. The agency notes that the same law permits EOBRs to be used to monitor driver productivity, and there are rules that prohibit carriers from using EOBRs to harass drivers for productivity reasons.

It would like interested parties to comment on several questions:

* Any experience drivers have had regarding harassment, including coercion by carriers to evade the hours of service rules.

* Whether such actions would be permitted as part of the EOBR productivity monitoring function.

* Whether EOBRs would impact the ability of carriers or shippers to coerce drivers to violate the hours of service rules.

* Whether there should be additional rules to ensure that EOBRs are not used for harassment.

The request is being published in today’s Federal Register. Deadline for comments is May 23.

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