Hours Of Service Black Box

Trucking companies that have a 10 percent or greater violation rate of the hours-of-service regulations will be saddled with electronic on-board recorders, courtesy of a new reg handed down by FMCSA.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Electronic On-Board Recorder rule was published in the Federal Register on Monday, April 5. The regulation will go into effect June 4 with full compliance mandated by June 4, 2012.

The final rule states that motor carriers with a violation rate equal to or greater than 10 percent of the records reviewed during one compliance review will be ordered to implement the use of approved EOBRs. Once a motor carrier receives notice, hazmat haulers have 45 days to install the devices and all other motor carriers, including passenger carrying vehicles, have 60 days.

Motor carriers will have to keep the devices installed for two years.

If a motor carrier receives a directive, the devices will have to be installed on all trucks even on owner-operator trucks leased to the motor carrier, even if the owner-operator is running under his or her own authority.

If a company chooses to ignore the edict to install the devices, the motor carrier would no longer be allowed to operate in interstate commerce and could have its authority revoked by FMCSA.

The final rule also outlines performance criteria for the actual EOBR devices. The devices will have to record information such as driver name; date and time; location; distance traveled; and shipping document numbers or name of shipper and commodity.

Companies who have the EOBR use mandated will not be relieved from any of the record-keeping requirements.

As you know by now, the new CSA 2010 enforcement program will be generating a lot of compliance headaches for companies operating commercial vehicles. This enforcement technique means an end to the way some companies track their hours of service.

Initially, FMCSA officials proposed that only motor carriers with a 10 percent or greater violation rate in two compliance reviews would be targeted. However, the final rule threw a wider net and will target companies with the 10 percent violation rate in only one compliance review.

The agency noted in the final rule that motor carriers with a 10 percent or greater violation rate of the hours-of-service regs in one compliance review have a 40 percent higher crash rate than the general motor carrier population. Motor carriers showing the same level of non-compliance in two compliance reviews were found to have a 90 percent higher crash rate.

How Can You Avoid Being Targeted?

Hours of Service changes may not affect everyone with a USDOT number, but this is just one regulation. We find that a lot of our clients are not in 100% compliance with the regulations, not because they mean to break the law, they just don't understand what they need to be doing.

Let us train you on how each regulation is interpreted for your company and what your daily responsibilities are under these regulations. You can avoid having to install a black box to track your drivers hours, but only if you know what to do.