Cover Story
The big squeeze
CVSA takes no position on speed limiters, but what about EOBRs?

By David Tanner, associate editor

Safety and enforcement officials with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance decided not to fully endorse speed limiters or electronic on-board recorders during a recent conference. However, the CVSA later signed on to a letter to Congress in support of government-mandated EOBRs.

OOIDA representatives were among the 650 safety, enforcement and industry personnel who participated in a CVSA workshop April 22-26, in Bellevue, WA.

A presentation from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) on the supposed safety benefits of speed limiters, along with presentations from VDO (Continental Corp.) and Qualcomm on electronic on-board recorders failed to materialize into motions or votes by the CVSA panel.

OOIDA Director of Security Operations Doug Morris, a member of the CVSA Driver-Traffic Enforcement Committee, said he and OOIDA Chief of Staff Rod Nofziger openly questioned the reported safety benefits of speed limiters during the presentation. They pointed to independent analysis that debunks a recent speed-limiter study prepared for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

"I think we fared well. We clearly stated our positions," Morris said. "(Advocates for speed limiters) hoped that it would come out of the committee as a favorable presentation, and that the committee would support speed limiters. Fortunately for us, better heads prevailed."

On the issue of EOBRs, the committee held off on taking action in part because of OOIDA's court action last year against the FMCSA on the topic of driver harassment. In that ruling last August, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit vacated the FMCSA's initial final rule on EOBRs because the agency failed to deal with the harassment issue.

CVSA later signed on to a letter that included the Teamsters and the ATA in support of an EOBR mandate being considered by Congress in the highway bill.

CVSA's endorsement in the letter is contrary to a position the group took in 2007 when it opposed mandating the devices. LL