FMCSA Proposes On-Board Recorders

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed a rule that would require truck and bus companies with a history of serious hours-of-service (HOS) violations to install electronic on-board recorders (EOBR) in all of their commercial vehicles for a minimum of 2 years.

The proposed rule also would encourage industry-wide use of EOBRs by providing incentives for voluntary use.

"The goal is to get more trucks and buses using innovative safety technologies like on-board recorders that will improve safety on our nation's roads," FMCSA Administrator John Hill said.

The rule would require EOBRs to record basic information needed to track a driver's duty status, including identity of the driver; duty status; date, time and location of the commercial vehicle; and distance traveled.

It also would add a new requirement to use Global Positioning System (GPS) technology or other location tracking systems to automatically identify the location of the vehicle, which, according to the agency, further reduces the likelihood of falsification of HOS information.

On-board HOS recording devices that are installed in commercial vehicles manufactured on or after 2 years from the effective date of a final rule would have to meet these new technical requirements, but EOBRs voluntarily installed before that time would be allowed to continue for the life of the vehicle.

FMCSA: 930 Carriers Would Be Affected in First 2 Years

If adopted, FMCSA estimates that within the first 2 years that the rule is enforced, approximately 930 carriers with 17,500 drivers would be required to use electronic on-board recorders.

To expand use of the devices among the more than 650,000 motor carriers in the United States, the incentives for voluntarily installation include using an examination of a random sample of drivers' records of duty status as part of a company compliance review and partial relief from HOS supporting documents requirements.

FMCSA said it welcomes suggestions from the public for additional incentives.

Public Comments Accepted Until April 18

The full notice of proposed rulemaking was published in the Jan. 18 Federal Register, and public comments will be accepted until April 18.

The public can submit comments on the notice of proposed rulemaking by any of the following methods:

  1. The Department of Transportation Web site – Select "Simple Search" and enter 18940 for docket number. Next, select "Reverse Order." The notice of proposed rulemaking is 18940-357.
  2. Fax – (202) 493-2251.
  3. Mail – Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh St. SW, Nassif Building, Room PL-401, Washington, D.C. 20590-0001.
  4. Hand delivery – Room PL-401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh St. SW, Washington, D.C., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.
  5. Federal eRulemaking Portal – Go to Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

For access to the docket to read background documents (including those referenced in this document), or to read comments received, either:

  • Visit the Department of Transportation's Docket Management System Web page; or
  • Visit Room PL-401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street SW, Washington, D.C., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.
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