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OOIDA opposes government mandated on-board computers

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. -- The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has announced it's strongly opposed...

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has announced it’s strongly opposed to government-mandated black boxes for trucks.

The U.S.-based O/O association said carriers and brokers can be blamed for most Hours-of-Service violations. It made the assertions in a 40-page filing to the U.S. federal government Nov. 30. OOIDA president, Jim Johnston said mandating electronic on-board recorders would be unconstitutional and would not provide any more accurate information regarding Hours-of-Service than existing paper logbooks.

"As OOIDA has been telling the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for years, it is the on-duty, not driving demands of carriers, brokers and shippers that put the greatest pressure on drivers to violate the HOS rules," the association’s official comments said. "Because an EOBR will rely on driver input to have a full record of a driver’s activities, it provides no more accurate a record of a driver’s HOS compliance than paper logs, and will have little effect on the demands placed on drivers by carriers to exceed the HOS rules."

The filing was the result of a request for comments from the FMCSA. OOIDA’s report also suggested the cost to drivers would be high and that the use of EOBR’s could cause drivers to be forced to operate beyond their physical or legal ability.

"It is difficult to see how anyone would consider mandating the use of EOBRs, with all of the accompanying costs and privacy issues, when the device itself cannot accomplish its primary purpose of ensuring compliance with the hours-of-service regulations without including input from drivers, the supposed Achilles heel of paper logs," the association wrote in its formal comments to the government.

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