Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association
Web site: www.ooida.com
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Independent truckers say late-coming Teamster endorsement proves the EOBR fight isn’t about safety
(Grain Valley, Mo., May 8, 2012) – U.S. truckers came out today in strong opposition to the very recent International Brotherhood of Teamsters endorsement of a Senate highway bill provision, which would mandate that all long-haul trucks be outfitted with costly electronic-monitoring devices, also known as EOBRs. These devices are capable of real-time tracking for monitoring trucks and drivers.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, OOIDA, the largest trade organization representing professional drivers and small-business truckers, contends EOBRs are an unproven technology that will hurt small businesses and cost the industry more than $2 billion if enacted.
The idea of mandating black boxes in trucks to monitor drivers is not new and has been pushed by big businesses for years.
“But support coming from the Teamsters, who filed comments to the government in 2007 opposing EOBRs, proves that this is more about attacking independent contractors and small businesses than safety,” said OOIDA executive vice-president Todd Spencer.
The Association views support of EOBRs by organized labor as a change of heart driven by their desire to ban owner-operators and replace them with employee drivers who can be organized. “It could open up a huge Pandora’s box with the IRS on misclassification of colossal proportions,” added Spencer.
OOIDA also points out that another proponent of EOBRs, the American Trucking Associations, ATA, is disingenuous about using research for arguments supporting a mandate.
“Considering that none of the research has changed on EOBRs and the ATA has attacked that very same research to oppose the new hours-of-service regulations, it leads us to believe this is more about trying to squeeze more driving hours or ‘productivity’ out of drivers, maximizing every second of the 70-hour work week, regardless of safety,” said Spencer.
A regulatory version of an EOBR mandate was struck down by a federal Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit because the FMCSA failed to deal with the harassment of drivers. Noted in that ruling was the fact that no research has shown how such a mandate would do anything to improve highway safety. The current EOBR rulemaking has been estimated by the Obama administration to cost the industry $2 billion, as one of the seven most expensive regulations pursued by the administration.
“EOBRs are no more reliable than paper log books for tracking hours of service and are actually a possible danger to our highways. We hear every day from truckers whose companies use the devices to harass drivers into driving more hours. Anyone who claims there is a connection to safety either doesn’t know, or is counting on others not knowing, and is actually selling no more than an overpriced record keeper.”
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 150,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo., area.