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FMCSA Proposes On-Board Recorders to Monitor HOS

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

The proposed rule also would encourage industry-wide use of electronic on-board recorders 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. On-board HOS recording devices that are installed in commercial vehicles manufactured on or after two years from the effective date of a final rule would have to meet these new technical requirements, but EOBRs voluntarily installed before that time would be allowed to continue for the life of the vehicle.

If adopted, FMCSA estimates that within the first two years that the rule is enforced approximately 930 carriers with 17,500 drivers would be required to use electronic on-board recorders. To expand use of the devices among the more than 650,000 motor carriers in the U.S., 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. Additionally, the Agency welcomes suggestions from the public for additional incentives.

The full Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will be 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, email: [email protected]

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