Federal Update
Reappearance of EOBR rulemaking postponed

By Jami Jones
senior editor

Maybe the electronic onboard recorder rulemaking anticipated by the industry should have a GPS locator - especially since guesses as to when it would resurface have been all over the map.

Since the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's "advance notice of proposed rulemaking" on the use of electronic onboard recorders closed Nov. 30, 2004, the industry has waited to see what the agency's next step would be.

Once the calendar ticked over to 2006, speculation has been rampant on when the EOBR rulemaking would hit the grid again. Initial estimates had it resurfacing sometime in February.

However, with the wide variety of groups shopping their proposed uses for the "black boxes" by FMCSA officials, the agency has decided to delay publishing anything on the topic for a few more months, according to an OOIDA official.

Among the items being kicked around for debate is the use of EOBRs to enforce compliance by carriers that have poor or bad safety ratings or maybe even "newbies" to the business. There has also been a group trying to get the supporting documents portion of the current regulations eliminated if or when EOBRs are implemented, the OOIDA source said.

FMCSA Administrator Annette Sandberg - who submitted her resignation Feb. 1 - told another trucking trade publication that unresolved issues with the hours-of-service regulations also played into the EOBR rulemaking delay.