The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Mixed Reaction to FMCSA's Proposed “Black Box” Ruling

January 23, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) proposed ruling regarding electronic onboard recorders (EOBRs) has drawn a mixed response, according to Telematics Update. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) said that the proposed regulation outlines a sensible approach to the greater implementation of technology designed to improve safety and document driver compliance with work and rest rules.ATA president & CEO Bill Graves said, as quoted by Telematics Update, “We support this incentive-based approach to the use of electronic onboard recorders. Technology can play a significant role in enhancing road safety and help to ensure the reliability of commercial vehicle operation.”In response to a new policy adopted by its membership, ATA has pushed for a pilot program that would determine the effectiveness of EOBRs in improving compliance and safety performance, while also addressing the industry’s diverse nature. ATA also believes that incentives would assist motor carriers in adopting the technology. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), however, believes the proposal is a misguided attempt to deal with the root causes of HOS violations. The OOIDA said that until the FMCSA addresses the issue of loading and unloading time, EOBRs will not be a tamper-proof record of HOS compliance. EOBRs record only the movement of a truck, not the 30–40 hours per week that drivers can spend loading and unloading. Also, OOIDA said that with many shippers and carriers paying drivers only for miles driven, there’s no incentive to address the issue of these “payment free” hours.
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