Posted on 08/27/2012 by David Radke
President Obama recently signed a bill that would require the installation of electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) in commercial vehicles, but Congress might refuse to provide funding needed to implement the mandate, according to a statement released by Akers Law Offices, PLLC.
The mandate signed by Obama is part of an effort to bolster safety on the roads through Hours of Service (HOS) rules - which seek to reduce driver fatigue. The bill was signed on July 6, and provides the Department of Transportation with a mandate to require that truck drivers use EOBRs.
The benefits that could stem from requiring the use of EOBRs are derived from substantial evidence, as data provided by the American Trucking Association (ATA) indicates that truck drivers already using the devices are less likely to violate the HOS regulations and more likely to comply with federal law. Meeting the HOS requirements is important to safety, as one trucking company has stated that driver fatigue has been identified as the single greatest cause of truck crashes.
The ATA has indicated that it stands behind the legislation. However, not every industry group has stood behind the mandate, with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association insisting that the devices are too expensive and can be used too easily to harass drivers.
As a result of the lack of consensus between the ATA and the OOIDA, Congress is currently reviewing an alternative proposed bill with an amendment related to the EOBR mandate. The proposed legislation would prevent the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) from providing the funding that would be needed to implement the EOBR regulations. Regulators will likely have a very challenging time complying with the device-related mandate if their funding is not provided.
The proposed bill does not have a high chance of gaining approval in the Senate, according to news reports. Passage of the bill is still a possibility. This voting body has vigorously supported driver compliance regulations in the recent past, with proposals of this type receiving particularly strong backing from lawmakers that have substantial involvement in appropriations.