The American Trucking Assns. filed an amicus brief Feb. 24 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in support of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s defense of electronic logging devices.

“ATA supports the use of electronic logging devices, which have demonstrated the ability to improve carriers’ compliance with FMCSA’s hours-of-service regulations,” ATA president & CEO Bill Graves said. “With this filing, we urge the court to reject the calls to prevent fleets from using these powerful compliance tools.”

FMCSA’s rules governing the voluntary use of electronic logging devices to record hours-of-service data are being challenged by a group that successfully overturned the agency’s proposal to mandate electronic logging for carriers with egregious hours-of-service violations.

“Thousands of responsible, safety-minded truck fleets throughout this country voluntarily use this technology to ensure their drivers are complying with federal hours-of-service requirements,” Graves said. “The court should dismiss this challenge and reaffirm the longstanding authorization to voluntarily use electronic logging devices while FMCSA works toward addressing questions about a future, wider mandate for their use.”

In August 2011 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled in favor of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. in its review of the FMCSA’s EOBR mandate, effectively vacating the final rule issued in April 2010 that required carriers demonstrating a 10% or greater violation rate for certain HOS regulations during a single compliance review to install EOBRs in all of their commercial motor vehicles and use them for two years. The compliance date for this rule would have been June 4, 2012.

On Feb. 13, 2012, FMCSA published a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) announcing its plan to proceed with the electronic onboard recorders and hours of service supporting documents rulemaking. 

The objectives of the SNPRM are to determine and propose technical standards for an EOBR, address driver harassment issues, propose requirements for retaining hours-of-service supporting documents, and provide clarification and request further comments on several of the aforementioned proposals. In order to collect the comprehensive data needed to support the SNPRM, FMCSA will hold public listening sessions; work with its Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC); and use driver, carrier, and vendor surveys to obtain all the stakeholder information needed to discuss issues involving driver harassment.

To read ATA’s motion, click here.