As all top personal injury lawyers handling truck accident cases know, and as has been commented on in various other blog entries here, a deep understanding of the federal regulations governing interstate trucking is critical to any truck accident case.
A new bill in Congress attempts to address driver fatigue, which is a common cause of truck and tractor-trailer accidents. The legislation would require all commercial motor vehicle to have Electronic On-Board Recorders (“EOBR”) installed on their truck to track Hours of Service compliance, as required by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration. The bill gives truck drivers and trucking companies 4 years to implement the new EOBR requirements.
The bill is primarily authored by the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, James Oberstar.
Notably, this legislative “bill” conflicts with the originally proposed EOBR “rule,” which would only require truck and bus companies with a history of serious Hours of Service violations to install electronic on-board recorders in all of their commercial vehicles. Apparently, after officials for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration revised the proposed rule it was withdrawn after the Obama administration took office.
The proposed rule regarding Electronic On-Board Recorders is under review by the Secretary of Transportation, and is expected to be published in October.
Even if a Final Rule is published prior to the passage of the bill, under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, the Congressional legislative mandate would trump the EOBR rule.
As a Top Chicago Truck Accident law firm committed to improving the safety of those at risk of catastrophic personal injury on our nations interstate roadways, we support the EOBR legislation. Although this bill imposes a burden on truck drivers and trucking companies to install EOBR devices, the cost is outweighed by the benefit of increased compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Hours of Service requirements.