U.S. Court of Appeals Vacates FMCSA’s Final Rule on Electronic On Board Recorders

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The National School Transportation Association reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit vacated the 2010 Final Rule from FMCSA mandating electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) for motor carrier companies with unsafe operating histories tied to non-compliance with hours of service regulations.

FMCSA wants to require EOBRs for all companies with a 10 percent or greater level of non-compliance in one compliance review. The ruling was handed down on Aug. 26.

The regulation was vacated and sent it back to FMCSA for further proceedings. The trucking industry organization Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) filed suit on the rule contending that the rule was “arbitrary and capricious” and designed to “harass” vehicle operators into using EOBRs. OOIDA’s lawsuit also challenged FMCSA’s cost-benefit analysis, which preliminary estimates put each unit between $140 and $450.

NSTA said the ruling means that, while the rule is vacated, it cannot be enforced, and FMCSA will have to re-issue it to address the court’s concerns. FMCSA also has a pending NPRM that would mandate EOBRs in all commercial motor vehicles. NSTA filed comments opposing the imposition of the requirement on school buses.

“The court ruling on the existing rule will no doubt slow if not dispose of that rulemaking as well,” said NSTA on its website.