Will EOBRs result in driver harassment? Survey says...

Thursday, Jun 6 2013 admin

An Information Collection Request (ICR) consisting of interviews and surveys submitted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) may help determine whether or not the use of Electronic Onboard Recorders (EOBRs) could establish a form of driver harassment when used by carriers or enforcement personnel. EOBRs are used to document drivers’ compliance with hours of service rules to ensure that they don’t run over legal limits.

In the Federal Register, the FMCSA announces:

“The purpose of this new ICR is to broadly examine, by the collection of survey data, the issue of driver harassment and determine the extent to which Electronic Onboard Recorders (EOBRs) used to document drivers’ hours of service (HOS) could be used by motor carriers or enforcement personnel to harass drivers or monitor driver productivity. The survey will collect information on the extent to which respondents believe that the use of EOBRs may result in coercion of drivers by motor carriers, shippers, receivers, and transportation intermediaries. The proposed surveys for drivers and carriers collect information related to issues of EOBR harassment of drivers by carriers. FMCSA plans to publish a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking on EOBRs. Prior to the issuance of a final rule, FMCSA will consider the survey results.”

In 2010, the FMCSA issued a final rule on the use of EOBRs, but it was subsequently challenged by the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association. The court overturned the final rule saying that more checks needed to be in place in order to impede possible driver harassment or undue pressure by carriers.

The FMCSA says it will be conducting in-depth interviews with carriers and drivers to question what can be done to prevent driver harassment and identify productive ways to keep companies from participating in driver harassment. The FMCSA also wants to know what carriers and drivers feel is an appropriate response to harassment accusations.

Comments of concern expressed in the FMCSA announcement include intrusion into drivers’ rest and personal time, driver fatigue, purchase and maintenance costs of EOBRs, and invasion of privacy. Survey questions will be under the broad topics of schedules, fatigue, communications, and paid and unpaid time.

Submit a comment to share your voice with the government about EOBRs and possible driver harassment by June 27.

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