Congress May Block New Electronic Recorder Mandate for Trucks

The federal government is constantly working to increase the safety of all people on the road by implementing safety rules for trucks and other commercial vehicles.

One way that this has been accomplished is by limiting the number of hours that a truck driver can be behind the wheel - called hours of service rules - to help cut down on driver fatigue. To record their hours, many drivers use a paper log, but some use electronic onboard recorders. In a short amount of time, however, all drivers will be required to have EOBR in their vehicles. A bill signed on July 6, 2012, by President Obama directs the Department of Transportation to mandate the use of EOBR.

Controversy Brewing

The American Trucking Association supports this bill, but another large trucking group, Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association, does not. This is why Congress is considering another bill with an amendment that will affect the EOBR mandate. This proposed bill prohibits the DOT from funding the implementation of EOBR. Without monetary help from the DOT, it will be extremely difficult for many drivers to comply with the EOBR mandate.

News reports claim that the amendment is not likely to pass in the Senate, but it is still a possibility. The Senate has shown strong support in the recent past for EOBR mandates, particularly the senators that are heavily involved in appropriations count themselves as strong supporters.

EOBR Important for Safety

It is important that drivers comply with hours of service requirements because fatigue has been cited as the number one cause of truck crashes in the past, according to one trucking company. The ATA notes that drivers who are already using EOBR have fewer violations of the hours of service requirements and better compliance with the federal rules.

Supporters of the EOBR mandate say that the devices are integral to increasing the safety of commercial trucks on our nation's roads. Even with those drivers and companies that maintain strong records, human error may lead to violations of the hours of service requirements causing drivers to be too fatigued to remain alert - this is when crashes happen.

Hopefully, the government will continue to put the safety of people traveling on our nation's roads at the forefront. Truck crashes are harmful to all involved. People injured in truck crashes should consider contacting a personal injury attorney to help them seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.