Legislation aims to mandate electronic onboard recorders in all commercial trucks

April 6, 2011

Washington – A new bill proposed by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) aims to require universal installation of electronic onboard recorders in commercial motor vehicles.

The Commercial Driver Compliance Improvement Act (S. 695), introduced March 31, also would require the Department of Transportation to issue regulations within 18 months of the bill’s enactment and set design and performance standards for the devices.

Although some trucking companies already use EOBRs, the legislation would create a consistent standard to help companies and drivers manage the safety and compliance risks associated with trucking, Pryor said.

In response to the bill, members of the Grain Valley, MO-based Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said EOBRs will not improve highway safety. In an April 1 press release, OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said the devices instead will be costly for small business truckers. In addition, he said EOBRs are not able to account for loading and unloading time, or determine a driver’s actual duty status.

DOT, in the Feb. 1 Federal Register, published a notice of proposed rulemaking (.pdf file) that would mandate use of EOBRs by interstate commercial truck and bus companies that comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s hours-of-service regulations.