Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has given the green light to a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) on Electronic Logging Devices (formerly known as electronic on-board recorder devices or EOBRs) for Hours of Service (HOS) compliance and has sent it to the Office of Management and Budget for final review.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the proposed rulemaking would establish (1) minimum performance standards for electronic logging devices (ELDs), (2) requirements for the mandatory use of the devices by drivers required to prepare handwritten records-of-duty status (RODS), (3) requirements concerning HOS supporting documents, and (4) measures to ensure that the mandatory use of ELDs will not result in harassment of drivers by motor carriers and enforcement officials.
The rulemaking supplements FMCSA’s Feb. 1, 2011, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and addresses issues raised by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Court in its 2011 decision vacating the agency´s April 5, 2010, final rule concerning ELDs.
FMCSA said the requirements for electronic logging devices would improve compliance with Hours of Service rules and thereby decrease the risk of fatigue-related crashes attributable to non-compliance with the regulations.
However, the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) successfully argued that FMCSA had not adequately considered the issue of potential driver harassment as required by statute. Congress subsequently got into the act as well and the MAP-21 surface transportation legislation passed last year also mandates that FMCSA consider the issue.
In this regard, FMCSA has also announced plans to conduct a driver/carrier survey to determine the extent to which ELDs could be used to harass drivers or monitor their productivity. According to the agency, the purpose of the survey is to investigate whether their use for HOS compliance could result in “coercion” of drivers by motor carriers, shippers, receivers, and transportation intermediaries.
Estimated publication date of the SNPRM is January 2014, followed by a public comment period.