Owner-ops rail against EOBRs; CTA wants them in Canada
OTTAWA – Although Canadian transport officials got the early jump on a universal electronic on-board recorder (EOBR) mandate, the Canadian Trucking Alliance is hoping regulators here don't fall far behind the Americans in launching a rule that covers the trucking industry.
The US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released this week its long-awaited, "broader" EOBR proposal and relaxed record keeping requirements for EOBR carriers.
On this side of the border, a government working group reporting to the Council of Deputy Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety is charged with developing Canada’s EOBR rules.
Indications are that the regulators are working on a proposal that covers most commercial operators who currently keep paper logs.
The CTA has for several years supported the introduction of a broad EOBR mandate -- subject to certain conditions – in order to create a level playing field in terms of hours-of-service compliance.
However, with the release of the U.S. proposal, CTA chief David Bradley says "work will clearly have to be accelerated in Canada."
"There are many important issues yet to be resolved, not the least of which is the all-important enforcement policies that will accompany an EOBR rule in the US and in Canada. If we are going to build a new sidewalk, we need to build it where people are going to walk."
Meanwhile, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association responded to the U.S, proposal by calling EOBRs "nothing more than over-priced record keepers."
"This proposal is actually another example of the administration’s determination to wipe out small businesses by continuing to crank out overly burdensome regulations that simply run up costs," said Todd Spencer, Executive Vice President of OOIDA.
OOIDA contends that EOBRs cannot accurately and automatically record a driver’s hours of service and duty status.
They can only track the movement and location of a truck and require human interaction to record any change of duty status.
"Therefore, such as in the case of loading and unloading time, the device is incapable of determining the actual duty status of drivers without interaction from drivers indicating to the device that they are on-duty."
OOIDA, which has launched a petition to defeat the proposal, also claims that the government ignored a federal statute to ensure that EOBRs "will not be used (by employers and highway enforcement) to harass vehicle operators."
"Companies can and do use technology to harass drivers by interrupting rest periods," Spencer explains in a press release.
"They can contact the driver and put on pressure to get back on the road to get the most out of his or her on-duty time. This mandate would be a step backward in the effort to make highways safer."