DOT Issues Rule Requiring Electronic On-Board Recorders for Truck and Bus Companies with Serious Hours-of-Service Violations

Department to Consider Broader EOBR Mandate Later this Year

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a new rule requiring interstate commercial truck and bus companies with hours-of-service (HOS) violations to install electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) in all their vehicles.  Nearly 5,700 interstate carriers will use EOBRs in this new rule’s first year.

The riule was designed to crack down on carriers and drivers who fail to abide by hours-of-service restrictions on drivers, and to make our roadways more safe.

Later this year, the FMCSA will attempt to broaden this new EOBR mandate to cover even more commercial motor carriers.

Electronic on-board recorders automatically record the number of hours drivers spend operating a vehicle. Driving hours are regulated by federal HOS rules, which are designed to prevent commercial vehicle-related crashes and fatalities by prescribing on-duty and rest periods for drivers.

Carriers found with 10% or more HOS violations will be required to install EOBRs in all their vehicles for a minimum of two years.  Additionally, carriers that voluntarily adopt EOBRs will receive relief from some FMCSA requirements.

The rule will go into effect on June 1, 2012, to ensure EOBR manufacturers have sufficient time to meet the rule’s performance standards and to manufacture products to meet industry demand.

The Electronic On-Board Recorders for Hours-of-Service Compliance rule is on display at the Office of the Federal Register’s website (www.gpoaccess.gov) and will appear in the Federal Register on April 2.

As Texas Trucking Injury Attorneys, we read about, hear about and handle cases involving catastrophic and even deadly trucking crashes on a daily basis.  We feel that any measures undertaken to improve the safety surrounding these big rigs is welcome for all drivers.  Truck drivers who work beyond the recommended hours limit put not only their own lives at risk but also the lives of everyone with whom they share the road.