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Public Listening Session on Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs)

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Summary

FMCSA will hold a public listening session to solicit information, concepts, ideas, and comments on Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs) and the issue of driver harassment. Specifically, the Agency wants to know what factors, issues, and data it should consider as it addresses the distinction between productivity and harassment:
  • What will prevent harassment from occurring?
  • What types of harassment already exist?
  • How frequently and to what extent does harassment happen?
  • How will an electronic device such as an EOBR, capable of contemporaneous transmission of information to a motor carrier, guard against (or fail to guard against) harassment?

This listening session will be held on Friday, March 23, 2012, at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, and will allow interested persons to present comments, views, and relevant new research that FMCSA should consider in development of the final rule. This listening session will be recorded and a transcript of the session will be placed in the docket for FMCSA's consideration.

FMCSA will also offer a live Webcast of the listening session via the Internet. Details about how to register for and watch the Webcast will be provided on this Web site by March 21, 2012.

Agenda

The listening session will run from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and then continue from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. eastern time. The listening session may end earlier than 4:00 p.m. if all participants wishing to express their views have done so.

  • 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. -- Registration
  • 10:00 a.m. – 10:10 a.m. -- Opening statement by Anne Ferro, FMCSA Administrator, Purpose of the listening session, Introduction of FMCSA representatives
  • 10:10 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. -- Discussion of the ground rules (in person and Webcast) and administrative details
  • 10:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. -- Pre-scheduled presentations by attendees, Presentations by registrants; facilitator will seek audience participation, Presentation of online comments by facilitator
  • 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. -- Break
  • 2:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m. -- Continuation of public comments

NOTE: Should the audience exhaust comments early, the session will conclude early
3:50 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. -- FMCSA closing remarks by Larry Minor, FMCSA Associate Administrator for Policy

Discussion Questions

At this listening session, the Agency seeks to solicit information, concepts, ideas, and comments on Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs) and the issue of driver harassment. The comments sought below may be submitted in written form at the session and summarized verbally, if desired.

1. In terms of motor carriers’ and enforcement officials’ monitoring or review of drivers’ records of duty status (RODS), what would constitute driver harassment? Would that definition change based on whether the system for recording hours of service (HOS) is paper or electronically based? If so, how? As a starting point, the Agency is interested in potential forms of harassment, including but not limited to those that are:

a. not prohibited already by current statutes and regulations
b. distinct from monitoring for legitimate business purposes (e.g., efforts to maintain or improve productivity)
c. facilitated or made possible solely by EOBR devices and not as a result of functions or features that motor carriers may choose to purchase, such as fleet management system capabilities
Is this interpretation appropriate? Should it be broader? Or narrower?

2. Are there types of driver harassment to which drivers are uniquely vulnerable if they are using EOBRs rather than paper logs? If so, what and how would use of an EOBR rather than a paper log make a driver more susceptible to harassment? Are there ways in which the use of an EOBR rather than a paper log makes a driver less susceptible to harassment?

3. What types of harassment are motor carrier drivers subjected to currently, how frequently, and to what extent does this harassment happen? How would an electronic device capable of contemporaneous transmission of information to a motor carrier guard against (or fail to guard against) this kind of harassment? What experience have motor carriers and drivers had with carriers using EOBRs as compared to those who do not use these devices in terms of their effect on driver harassment or complaints of driver harassment?

4. What measures should the Agency consider taking to eliminate the potential for EOBRs to be used to harass drivers? Are there specific functions and capabilities of EOBRs that should be restricted to reduce the likelihood of the devices being used to harass vehicle operators?

5. Motor carriers are often responsible for managing their drivers and equipment to optimize efficiency and productivity and to ensure transportation services are provided in accordance with a planned schedule. Carriers commonly use electronic devices, which may include but are not limited to EOBRs, to enhance productivity and optimize fleet operation. Provided such devices are not used to coerce drivers into violating Federal safety regulations, where is the line between legitimate productivity measures and inappropriate oversight or actions that may be construed as harassment?