Independents fighting for standing in EOBR fight

GRAIN VALLEY, MO — The U.S.-based Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is fighting for standing to challenge the upcoming regulation concerning electronic onboard recorders in trucks.

OOIDA lodged a rebuttal last week to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s claim that OOIDA does not have standing to challenge next year’s recorder requirement.

In the fall, the association and three members filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, outlining a number of shortcomings in FMCSA’s path to issuing the final rule mandating the use of EOBRs on motor carriers with chronic noncompliance with the hours-of-service regulations. The petition challenged the rule on grounds that there’s no proof recorders can accurately track hours of service, and that use of recorders violates drivers’ rights to privacy.

OOIDA’s most recent filing, dated January 10, came in response to the FMCSA’s rebuttal to that argument.

OODIA argues that it has valid standing to challenge the final rule, which it describes as “arbitrary and capricious.” Among the points it makes are that an EOBR is not an effective enforcement tool, FMCSA’s cost-benefit analysis is not supported by current or reliable data, and the use of EOBRs constitutes an unreasonable search.

The brief states, “The balance between promoting legitimate government interests an encroachment of privacy interest tilts strongly in favor of the petitioners (OOIDA).”

The full 31-page brief can be found at the OOIDA website. The court’s decision is still pending.

The recorder rule, announced last April and set to go into effect June 1, 2012, says carriers that violate hours-of-service rules 10 percent of the time, based on single compliance review, must use electronic onboard recorders to track driver hours. The agency estimates that this requirement will affect about 5,700 interstate carriers.

The rule also clarifies technical requirements and sets new performance standards for recorders – steps that set the stage for a more ambitious recorder proposal now pending at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Details have not been published, but this proposal will extend the recorder requirement in the current 2012 rule. It also will ease the supporting documents requirements for carriers that use recorders, and it will shorten the list of documents that all carriers must keep.

Meanwhile, there’s a move by a group of trucking companies and other interests to pass legislation that would require recorders in all trucks.

The carriers in the group, called the Alliance for Driver Safety & Security, include Maverick USA, Knight Transportation, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Schneider National, U.S. Xpress Enterprises, and Dupre Logistics.


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