Truckers say EOBRs will not make highways safer, Small businesses likely to suffer and consumers will pay more for shipping

(Grain Valley, Mo., Jan. 31, 2011) – The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), which represents small business truckers and professional truckers, responded to the announcement today by the U.S. Department of Transportation proposing a rule to mandate electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) for interstate commercial motor carriers.

“EOBRs are nothing more than over-priced record keepers,” said Todd Spencer, Executive Vice President of OOIDA. “This proposal is actually another example of the administration’s determination to wipe out small businesses by continuing to crank out overly burdensome regulations that simply run up costs.”

EOBRs cannot accurately and automatically record a driver’s hours of service and duty status. They can only track the movement and location of a truck and require human interaction to record any change of duty status. Therefore, such as in the case of loading and unloading time, the device is incapable of determining the actual duty status of drivers without interaction from drivers indicating to the device that they are on-duty. Loading and unloading time should typically be logged as “on-duty, not driving” in order to accurately reflect the hours a driver has worked.

OOIDA also contends that by insisting on pushing for this mandate, the government ignored a federal statute to ensure that EOBRs will not be used to harass vehicle operators. An analysis conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said that “companies use EOBRs to enforce company policies and monitor drivers’ behavior in other ways.”

On that point, Spencer agreed and said, “Companies can and do use technology to harass drivers by interrupting rest periods. They can contact the driver and put on pressure to get back on the road to get the most out of his or her on-duty time. This mandate would be a step backward in the effort to make highways safer.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 152,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo., area.

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