FMCSA proposes new rule to record hours of service

15 April 2008

Truck and bus companies with a history of serious hours-of-service violations may be required to install electronic on-board recorders in all of their commercial vehicles for a minimum of two years, according to a proposed rule by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The proposed rule would encourage industry wide use of electronic on-board recorders (EOBR) by providing incentives for voluntary use, said John H. Hill, FMCSA administrator. “The goal is to get more trucks and buses using innovative safety technologies like on-board recorders that will improve safety on our nation's roads,”Hill said.

Specifically, the proposal would require EOBRs to record basic information needed to track a driver's duty status, including: identity of the driver, duty status, date, time and location of the commercial vehicle, and distance traveled. It would also add a new requirement to use Global Positioning System (GPS) technology or other location tracking systems to automatically identify the location of the vehicle, which further reduces the likelihood of falsification of HOS information.

To expand use of the devices among the more than 650,000 motor carriers in the US, the incentives for voluntarily installation include using an examination of a random sample of drivers' records of duty status as part of a company compliance review and partial relief from HOS supporting documents requirements. The full Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on January 18, 2007, and public comments will be accepted until April 18, 2007. To request a copy of the notice, e-mail: news@ fmcsa.dot.gov.

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