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U.S. Department Of Transportation Issues New Rule Requiring Repeat Offender Motor Carriers To Install Devices That Record Hours Of Vehicle Operation

Last  Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced it was implementing a new rule that, according to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, is aimed at "cracking down on carriers and drivers who put people on our roads and highways at risk" by violating federal hours-of-service (HOS) regulations.

Pursuant to the new rule, electronic on-board recorders (EBORs) will be required in the vehicles of nearly 5,700 interstate carriers within a year of the rule's June 1, 2012, implementation. The carriers affected, consisting of interstate commercial trucking and bus companies, are those that have been found to be in violation of the HOS rules at least 10 percent of the time. FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro stated in a press release that, in addition to the mandatory EBOR enforcement for "carriers that have already demonstrated a pattern of hours-of-service violations," the FMCSA will initiate new rules later this year that could require the use EBORs for "a broader population of commercial motor carriers."

The EBORs are devices placed within semi-trucks and buses that automatically record the number of hours drivers spend behind the wheel. The federal regulations that limit driver hours are designed to prevent the accidents, crashes and fatalities that result from fatigued drivers operating vehicles beyond the hours allowed. The rule also requires that the EBORs installed in semi-trucks and buses actually record the date, time and location of a driver's duty status.

The rule does not go into effect until June 1, 2012, to ensure that manufacturers of the EBORs have enough time to meet the FMCSA performance standards and the industry demand.

Read the complete text of the Electronic On-Board Recorders for Hours-of-Service Compliance rule.

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