Tank truck fleets with interstate operations will have to install electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) to monitor their drivers' hours-of-service (HOS) compliance under a proposed rule announced January 31 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The requirement would take effect three years after publication of a final rule.
The proposed rule would also relieve interstate motor carriers from retaining certain HOS supporting documents, such as delivery and toll receipts, which are currently used to verify the total number of hours drivers spend operating the vehicle. This part of the proposal fulfills an order of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia requiring FMCSA to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding supporting documents by January 31, 2011.
"This proposal is an important step in our efforts to raise the safety bar for commercial carriers and drivers," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S Ferro. "We believe broader use of EOBRs would give carriers and drivers an effective tool to strengthen their HOS compliance."
EOBRs are devices attached to commercial vehicles that automatically record the number of hours drivers spend operating the vehicle. Approximately 500,000 carriers would be affected by the proposed rule.
Under the proposal, interstate carriers that currently use Records of Duty (RODS) logbooks to document drivers' HOS would be required to use EOBRs. Short-haul interstate carriers that use timecards to document HOS would not be required to use EOBRs.
Carriers that violate this EOBR requirement would face civil penalties of up to $11,000 for each offense. Noncompliance would also negatively impact a carrier's safety fitness rating and DOT operating authority. In April 2010, FMCSA issued a final rule that mandates EOBRs for interstate carriers with serious patterns of HOS violations.