The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that it is extending the comment period on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding electronic onboard recorders and hours-of-service supporting documents. Comments originally were due April 4, but the agency has granted a 45-day extension to May 23.
FMCSA said that both the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the American Trucking Associations requested that the agency extend the comment period for the NPRM published Feb. 1. In granting the extension, FMCSA said it believes that other potential commenters to the rulemaking also would benefit from the extra time.
Under the proposal, all interstate commercial truck and bus carriers that now use logbooks to track compliance with HOS regulations would have to use EOBRs instead. The proposal would relieve carriers of the current requirement to retain certain HOS documents, such as delivery and toll receipts, that now are used to verify the number of hours the vehicle is in operation. About 500,000 carriers would be affected by the proposed rule, FMCSA said.
Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered FMCSA to issue a NPRM on HOS supporting documents by yearend. In December, the court gave the agency another month – until Jan. 31 – to comply. The court order stemmed from a lawsuit ATA filed in early 2010 to compel FMCSA to move forward with a regulation as mandated by Congress in the mid-1990s.
By the time ATA filed its lawsuit, FMCSA already had announced that it was planning to link new regulations on supporting documents to an expansion of the EOBR mandate. In April 2010, FMCSA issued a final rule requiring carriers that have a history of serious log violations to install EOBRs; that rule takes effect in June 2012.