FMCSA Letter Refutes OOIDA Claim About Legal Use of EOBRs

The FMCSA says that the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association OOIDA claim that a recent circuit court decision prohibits the use of electronic onboard recorders for Hours of Service compliance is inaccurate. OOIDA, in a letter to FMCSA last month, said the FMCSA, large motor carriers and Department of Transportation enforcement officials were ignoring the recent court ruling that struck down the so-called “bad actors” EOBR rule.[/box]

[box type=”shadow”] OOIDA claimed the regulation vacated by the court didn’t just mandate the use of EOBRs on carriers with questionable safety records. It also set specifications for the units, allowed for voluntary use of EOBRs and gave EOBR-using carriers a free pass on some of the supporting documents regulations, the association said. [/box]

[box type=”shadow”]“While we appreciate and agree with some of your points (the letter didn’t specific which points), we strongly disagree with your assertion that the Seventh Circuit’s decision precludes carriers from voluntarily using EOBRs to track compliance with Hours of Service regulations,” FMCSA Chief Counsel Alais L. M. Griffin said in a Nov. 28 letter to OOIDA legal counsel Paul D. Cullen Sr. Griffin said the ruling vacated the Final Rule on EOBRs issued April 5, 2010, including the regulatory provision that mandated the use of EOBRs as a remedial directive.[/box]

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“It (the ruling) has no bearing whatsoever on motor carriers who wish to install and use HOS monitoring devices that satisfy pre-existing regulatory requirements,” the letter said. The court overturned the rule because it said the rule did not go far enough in prohibiting the use of EOBRs to harass drivers. OOIDA claims that FMCSA regulation 395.15, which authorizes the use of “automated on-board recorders” does not allow for the use of EOBRs that transmit HOS data in real time to motor carriers’ terminals. FMCSA says 395.15, which has been in effect since Oct. 31, 1988, does allow for use of EOBRs for HOS compliance.[/box]