Fight far from over for truckers’ opposition
to electronic monitoring
Costly government surveillance will not improve highway safety
(Grain Valley, Mo., June 29, 2012) – The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the largest trade organization representing professional truckers and small-business truckers, said they are not deterred by the provision for EOBRs, electronic on-board recorders, in the new, tentative highway bill negotiated by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives conferees. As written in the bill, EOBRs will be capable of real-time tracking for monitoring of long haul trucks and drivers.
“The EOBR proposal doesn't just have a few warts, it’s riddled with tumors, rendering it totally ineffective at improving safety,” says Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice president. “The issue is far from settled.”
A regulatory version of an EOBR mandate was struck down by a federal Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit because the FMCSA failed to deal with the harassment of drivers. Noted in that ruling was the fact that no research has shown how such a mandate would do anything to improve highway safety.
“There is no proof that EOBRs being used for hours-of-service compliance will improve highway safety,” says Spencer.
Small-business truckers, who comprise the vast majority of the trucking industry in the United States, see no reason for such constant, costly government surveillance. They also believe it is the last thing a struggling trucking industry needs right now. The current EOBR rulemaking has been estimated by the Obama administration to cost the industry $2 billion if enacted.
The Association notes that historically Congress has directed transportation regulators to establish several mandates that have never come to fruition. For example, the Department of Transportation has failed to instill entry-level training requirements, a direction given by Congress more than two decades ago.
“Proponents have pushed for EOBRs and other technology under the pretext of safety while at the same time opposing basic training standards. They want small businesses to spend billions on something that will never make up for the lack of training,” says Spencer. “That hypocrisy proves this is actually a way for large motor carrier companies to squeeze more ‘productivity’ out of drivers and increase costs for the small trucking companies they compete with,” said Spencer.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 150,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo., area.