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Lautenberg withdraws amendment to make EOBRs mandatory in trucks
Thursday, 17 December 2009 00:00

WASHINGTON—Sen. Frank Lautenberg this morning withdrew a proposed amendment to the Motorcoach Enhancement Safety Act (SB554) that would have required EOBRs on all commercial vehicles, including trucks. But he promised he would soon write and introduce legislation to make EOBRs mandatory in trucks.

LandLine, a magazine published by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, had reported on its Web site this morning that Lautenberg, D-N.J., planned to introduce the amendment that would have required EOBRs on all commercial trucks, not just in those owned or operated by motor carriers with deficient safety records.

In testimony at a markup session of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Lautenberg thanked Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, one of the authors of SB554, for her work in requiring EOBRs on all motor coaches. Sources said Lautenberg withdrew his amendment with the commitment that Hutchinson would work with him on a more comprehensive safety bill.

After obtaining a copy of the Lautenberg amendment, the leadership of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association drafted a letter urging committee members to reject the amendment language, the magazine reported, adding that OOIDA also planned to issue a call to action urging truckers to call the committee.

“While we believe Sen. Lautenberg has noble intentions, the amendment will not bring the safety benefits that he envisions and will actually create numerous problems,” OOIDA leadership said in a statement issued before Lautenberg withdrew the amendment. “The language will require that small-business truckers and professional drivers not only have EOBRs installed in their vehicles, but also require ‘real time tracking or driver and vehicle location’ devices. The amendment will be costly and brings up considerable privacy concerns for America’s truckers.”

Lautenberg is a staunch supporter of EOBRs for all trucks, a stance he made clear during confirmation hearings last summer for FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro. The latest proposed rulemaking by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on EOBRs would require EOBRs for motor carriers that fail two safety compliance reviews during a two-year period.

TheTrucker.com, 12/17/2009