OOIDA challenges Canadian EOBR logic

OTTAWA — The U.S.-based Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association doesn’t think electronic on-board recorders will enhance safety, fix hours-of-service problems or respect driver privacy, and let a Canadian working group know it.

A working group was recently appointed by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators and was seeking comments on EOBRs to incorporate into future recommendations to the Canadian Council of Deputy Ministers of Transportation.

OOIDA’s official publication reports that having made previous comments about EOBRs to the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the leadership of OOIDA was primed and ready to counter arguments made by carrier associations on issues of hours, safety and privacy.

“If EOBRs could prevent the manipulation of a driver’s work schedule and respect driver’s privacy rights, we would consider supporting their adoption,” OOIDA president and CEO Jim Johnston stated in comments filed March 11 to the CCMTA working group.

“Unfortunately, EOBRs are no more a reliable or accurate record of a driver’s compliance with the hours-of-service rules than paper logs.”

In their own comments to the CCMTA, the Canadian Trucking Alliance put its support behind an EOBR mandate, saying the current system does not effectively enforce HOS rules, has created an unlevel playing field between carriers, and has denigrated the credibility of the regulators and sustained a negative mythology about the trucking industry’s compliance record.

Like with comments filed with U.S. regulators, OOIDA took the opportunity to refute claims about hours, safety and privacy.

“OOIDA has consistently objected to EOBR measures as costly and personally intrusive devices that would do nothing to address the problem they promise to fix,” Johnston stated.

Both groups were concerned how any EOBR rule would move forward in respect to privacy.

The CTA, in their comments, insists that EOBR technology be used solely for hours of service recording purposes. The type, amount, format and frequency of data that governments will have access to under an EOBR mandate needs to be determined in concert with industry.

OOIDA insists that an EOBR mandate would put personal privacy of drivers at risk.

“The truck cab is the home away from home of most long-haul drivers. They sleep, eat, and conduct personal business in their truck while not driving,” Johnston stated. Because EOBRs track truck movement, the data could be used against drivers that use their trucks for personal conveyance, he added.

“Drivers have a legitimate expectation of privacy that should be afforded protection ¬ especially when they are not legally obligated to account for time spent conducting personal business such as driving their truck to restaurants, hotels, or any number of other locations,” Johnston stated.

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