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FMCSA set to present onboard recorder rule today

An announcement about regulated use of electronic onboard recorders for commercial trucks and buses was to be made today, Jan. 11, in Washington, D.C. John Hill, head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, was scheduled to present the agency’s proposed rule on recorders at 10 a.m. EST.

On Dec. 21, the White House Office of Management and Budget approved FMCSA’s long-awaited proposal on the use of recorders for compliance with hours-of-service regulations. According to FMCSA’s latest regulatory agenda, released in December, the agency is proposing to incorporate new performance standards for recorders to “help ensure that performance standards for EOBRs are appropriate and reflect state-of-the-art communication and information management technologies.”

The rulemaking also will consider the potential benefits and costs of requiring motor carriers to install and use recorders. It also will evaluate various approaches, including mandating recorders industrywide, limiting the requirement to motor carriers with certain characteristics and allowing use of recorders to remain voluntary.

FMCSA launched rulemaking efforts on recorders in September 2004, a few weeks after a federal appeals court ordered the agency to reconsider its hours-of-service regulations. Although the court’s ruling technically rested only on the agency’s failure to consider driver health as ordered by Congress, judges also faulted FMCSA for failing even to consider mandating recorders.

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