The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Tuesday, April 12, requested additional public comment on its Feb. 1 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding mandatory electronic onboard recorders for commercial motor vehicle operators who must keep records of duty status.
In its latest EOBR NPRM and in a predecessor EOBR rulemaking published on April 5, 2010, FMCSA advised that it is required by statute to ensure that electronic devices are not used to harass CMV drivers resulting from invasion of their privacy, although they can be used by motor carriers to monitor productivity.
FMCSA says it believes it satisfactorily addressed that statutory requirement in both its EOBR rulemaking proceedings, but in light of recent litigation brought by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association challenging the agency’s treatment of driver
harassment in the first EOBR NPRM, FMCSA says it wants to ensure that interested parties have an opportunity to address the issue in the currently active EOBR rulemaking.
OOIDA challenged the first EOBR final rule in a lawsuit brought in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. In that case (Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Ass’n v. U.S. Dep’t of Transp. [Case No. 10-2340] [7th Cir.]), OOIDA raised several concerns relating to EOBRs and their potential for harassment by fleets. During oral argument on Feb. 7, the court specifically noted these concerns.
The first EOBR rule is a final FMCSA action and currently remains under review by the Seventh Circuit, but FMCSA argues the rule properly protects drivers from harassment. To ensure no misunderstanding regarding its new EOBR proposal, FMCSA says it wants to maximize the opportunity for public participation on harassment by inviting further comment during the open rulemaking. The agency also will continue to accept and consider comments on all other issues within the scope of the NPRM.
Comments must be received on or before May 23. To comment, go to www.regulations.gov; the docket number is FMCSA-2010-0167.