Appeals court denies OOIDA’s EOBR motion

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A federal court has denied the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s request that it order the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to not encourage electronic onboard recorder use until the agency reissues a rulemaking on the devices. The three-judge panel’s order did not provide reasons for denying OOIDA’s motion.

On March 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit denied OOIDA’s Jan. 19 motion. OOIDA had asked the court to direct FMCSA to “cease and desist from authorizing, sanctioning or in any way encouraging” using the EOBR to increase hours-of-service compliance until the agency issues a rule ensuring the devices will not be used to harass drivers.

The same court ruled in favor of OOIDA last August, vacating the agency’s 2010 rule that would have mandated EOBRs on all trucks used by certain noncompliant carriers. OOIDA asked the court for the order because it said FMCSA had violated the August ruling. That earlier decision was that the agency’s EOBR rule had not met federal regulation stipulating the FMCSA ensure these devices are not used to harass vehicle operators.

In November, OOIDA wrote agency representatives, citing a trade publication article from the previous month. It asserted the report indicated FMCSA officials were pursuing “a policy of encouraging” carriers to use EOBRs without first publishing regulations ensuring the devices are not used for harassment. The agency should “not permit or facilitate” EOBRs as an enforcement tool until a final rule is published, OOIDA said.

FMCSA will hold a public listening session on Thursday, April 26, to solicit information, concepts, ideas and comments on EOBRs and the issue of driver harassment. This session will be held in Bellevue, Wash., and will allow interested persons to present comments, views and relevant new research that the agency should consider in development of its Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.