GRAIN VALLEY, MO – A new provision in the U.S. Senate’s highway transportation funding legislation, will add an expensive “big brother,” according to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), who wants it removed from the Senate bill.
A provision in SB 1813 requires all long-haul trucks to be outfitted with electronic on-board recorders, or EOBRs, capable of real-time tracking for monitoring of trucks and drivers. OOIDA contends EOBRs are an unproven technology, providing no cost benefit or highway safety improvement.
"It's exorbitantly expensive while providing no safety benefit whatsoever," said Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice-president. "This is being done under the guise of compliance with federal hours-of-service regulations, but it is actually a way for large motor carrier companies to squeeze more 'productivity' out of drivers and increase costs for the small trucking companies they compete with.”
A regulatory version of an EOBR mandate was struck down by a federal Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit because the FMCSA failed to deal with the harassment of drivers. Noted in that ruling was the fact that no research has shown how such a mandate would do anything to improve highway safety, according to OOIDA.
"EOBRs are no more reliable than paper log books for tracking hours of service," said Spencer. "Plus, we hear every day from truckers whose companies use the devices to harass truckers into driving more hours."
The current EOBR rulemaking has been estimated by the Obama Administration would cost the industry $2 billion if enacted. In response to a request made by U.S. House Speaker John Boehner to disclose all rulemakings in excess of $1 billion, President Barack Obama listed the current EOBR rulemaking as one of the seven most expensive regulations pursued by the administration, according to OOIDA.
OOIDA sent a letter to the Senate conferees which can be read here.