If you’re not in the trucking industry you may not be aware of this ticklish issue that divides two major industry groups. One group is arguing to retain a Senate provision in the final federal transportation bill, while the other group wants it removed.
The provision would require long-haul trucks to be outfitted with electronic on-board recorders (EOBR) which can provide real-time monitoring of trucks and drivers to help comply with hours of service rules. The majority of carriers and drivers currently use paper-based log books. Learn more about EOBRs from Wikipedia.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) supports the provision, noting that “an electronic logging mandate, based on feedback from member carriers find the technology improves compliance, safety and operating efficiency.” ATA President Bill Graves adds that “Many logging devices, or electronic onboard recorders, have additional functions that aid in managing fuel use, routes and other aspects of fleet operations – reducing fuel consumption and making carriers more efficient and environmentally responsible (“ATA: Highway Bill Conferees should back EOBR mandate,” Fleet Owner).
Conversely, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), opposes the provision because of the costs to truckers, and because there is “no proven safety benefit.” OOIDA states the cost of an EOBR over ten years will run at least $7,500 (not including maintenance and training charges) and the provision should be removed from the final bill. Learn more from OOIDA’s letter to Senators Boxer and Inhofe.
The group also reminds negotiators that “last August Speaker Boehner wrote the President requesting/ a list of the most expensive regulations being developed by the Administration. The $2 billion EOBR mandate came back as not only one of the seven most costly rules, but also the most expensive regulatory proposal within the Department of Transportation – costing nearly two times the recently finalized changes to hours-of-service regulations.”
See also: A Rail Issue Comes Up for Transportation Bill Negotiations and learn more from our stories about the transportation bill.