Newer devices such as Qualcomm’s MCP 50 could lower the FMCSA’s estimated cost of a mandatory electronic onboard recorder rule.
By Truckinginfo Staff
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicates it will re-examine the costs-vs-benefits of mandatory electronic onboard recorders in a new list of frequently asked questions it posted this week on its website.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has criticized the FMCSA’s efforts to mandate automated driver hours-of-service logs, saying such a mandate would impose a $2 billion penalty on the trucking industry — a cost small-business truckers can ill afford to pay, it says.
The FAQ notes that OOIDA’s numbers are based on the agency’s Regulatory Impact Analysis for the 2011 notice of proposed rulemaking on EOBRs, which estimated total costs of $2.377 billion per year.
However, the agency said in its FAQ that it believes costs for the devices has come down since it made that estimate.
The agency notes the same 2011 RIA estimated total benefits of $2.711 billion, resulting in an annual net benefit of $344 million. A significant portion of these benefits, the agency says, would come from $1.965 billion in annual paperwork reduction – a savings of $688 per driver each year – due to drivers no longer completing and submitting logbooks.
The FAQ goes on to say the agency is currently preparing a supplemental NPRM that will re-examine the estimated costs and benefits (both paperwork savings and safety) associated with an EOBR mandate for carriers using handwritten RODS.
The agency explains that that $2 billion-plus cost estimate was actually higher than the one in its 2010 final rule (which was subsequently vacated by the court), because the 2011 rule focused on the least expensive device determined to be compliant.
“The agency chose to base its calculations on the higher cost device in the 2011 NPRM because it did not believe that a sufficient number of the cheapest units would be available for a broad industry mandate, which would cover approximately 2 million units.”
The Market Has Changed
FMCSA used Qualcomm’s Mobile Computing Platform 150, or MCP 150, to calculate that $2 billion cost in its 2011 proposed rule. It retails for approximately $1,775.
The agency now says it believes the market has changed since 2011, with new vendors entering the market with electronic logging devices without as many added bells and whistles that are useful for fleet management.
“The availability of these cheaper devices should significantly decrease the estimated cost of the rule compared to that of the 2011 RIA,” the agency says.
For example, Qualcomm’s new MCP 50 retails for about $900, the FAQ notes. “Other vendors are advertising EOBRs at even lower prices, although not yet in sufficient numbers to meet a broad industry mandate,” including Continental’s VDO Roadlog, which retails for about $500; a device from J.J. Keller available by lease for a $199 initial fee plus a monthly fee. Other smaller vendors offer EOBR devices that can run as an application on a smartphone.
EOBRs in CSA hearing
In a hearing before the House Small Business Committee Wednesday about concerns on the FMCSA’s CSA enforcement program, Rep. Jeff Landry, R-La., jumped on FMCSA Deputy Administrator Bill Bronrott for the agency’s pending electronic onboard recorder mandate. Landry recently attached an amendment to a House appropriations bill that would not allow the DOT to spend money in fiscal year 2013 on event data recorders, sought by OOIDA.
Landry demanded a commitment from Bronrott that FMCSA will not move forward with the rule, a commitment the agency official was unable to make.
Landry said the rule will cost $2 billion. Bronrott replied that it will save at least that much, but Landry suggested that instead of requiring carriers to get recorders “maybe we should just pay those people not to get on the road.”
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The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the first-ever federally proposed guidelines to encourage automobile manufacturers to limit the distraction risk for in-vehicle electronic devices….
2/17/2012 - EPA Challenges Navistar Engine Claims
The Environmental Protection Agency believes that Navistar violated engine certification requirements and may file a complaint that could lead to a fine. The agency signaled its intent in a certified letter to Navistar Jan. 30,…
2/16/2012 - Truckstops Fight Amendment in Highway Bill
(UPDATED) Truckstop and convenience store interests are opposed to a provision of the House transportation bill that would allow states to privatize interstate rest areas….
2/15/2012 - Nearly 70 Transportation Associations Sign Letter Opposing Tolls
Sixty-eight transportation associations signed a letter to the Senate opposing the use of tolls on the U.S. Interstate Highway System in the Senate’s version of the Surface Transportation Bill (S. 1813)….
2/15/2012 - Highway Bills Face Uphill Climb in Congress
The Senate and House are taking their highway bills to the floor this week in the face of daunting odds. Passage of this key infrastructure legislation, which sets policy and funding levels, is going to be a near thing at best, given the politics of the bills and considering the March 31 deadline. …
2/15/2012 - ATA Suing to Overturn Hours of Service Rule
American Trucking Associations is suing to overturn the new hours of service rule. ATA is asking the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to set aside the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rule as arbitrary and capricious….
2/14/2012 - FMCSA Plans a Third Proposal to Answer EOBR Questions
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration decided to take a step back from its pending electronic onboard recorder rules and begin a supplemental process to resolve legal and technical problems….
2/14/2012 - Obama’s 2013 Budget Calls for Major Transportation Funding
The White House budget for the fiscal 2013 includes a $476 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill to invest in highway, bridge and mass transit projects through 2018….
2/13/2012 - New York DMV to Waive Road Tests for Veterans Applying for CDLs
As part of his “Experience Counts” campaign to help returning veterans get jobs in New York State, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo implemented two initiatives, one of which waives commercial driver’s license road tests for veterans with qualifying driving experience….
2/9/2012 - Senate Committee Clears Highway Funding Measure
The Senate Finance Committee Tuesday evening passed a bill to provide funding for a two-year highway program.
The measure is a $9.6 billion bundle of transfers and revenue offsets that no one on the committee particularly liked as a solution to the highway funding shortfall but a majority accepted because failure to act would doom the highway bill….
2/7/2012 - Senate to Vote on Highway Funding Proposal
Today the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on revenue provisions to supplement the Highway Trust Fund and pay for the Senate’s proposed highway bill.
Passage of the measure will put in place a key provision for the Senate’s plan to reauthorize the federal highway program with a $109 billion, two-year bill. The House, meanwhile, is working on a $260 billion, five-year bill. …
2/6/2012 - House Highway Bill Clears Committee on Party-Line Vote
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee did its job last week, reporting out a bill that would reauthorize the federal transportation program for five years at current funding levels. It was a squeaker, though, and the outlook for Congress finishing the job before the current program expires on March 31 is not rosy….
2/3/2012 - House Panel Kills Truck Weight Increase
An increase in federal truck size and weight limits did not survive a House committee vote yesterday. Members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted 33 to 22
to study the increased limit, rather than actually increasing it….
2/2/2012 - House Highway Bill Challenges Hours of Service Restart Provision
In the House highway bill unveiled yesterday, Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., finally revealed what he meant when he said he will challenge the new hours of service rule. The bill could force the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to rewrite the 34-hour restart provision of the rule, which limits the restart to once a week with two sleep periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m….
2/1/2012 - House Highway Bill Would Allow Heavier Trucks
The House of Representatives yesterday unveiled its version of a new highway program that would spend $260 billion over five years. The bill trims the Department of Transportation by consolidating or eliminating programs, gives states a greater say in how they spend federal money and speeds up the project approval process….
1/31/2012 - EPA Sets Penalties for Emissions Non-Compliance
Navistar Inc. may have to pay penalties of up to $1,900 per engine if it cannot meet heavy diesel emission standards, according to a new Environmental Protection Agency rule….
1/30/2012 - Hours of Service: Did FMCSA Find a Sweet Spot?
Almost no one is happy about the new hours of service rule. Maybe that means the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration made the moves that will lead to stability, at long last.
Or maybe not….
1/30/2012 - BTS Releases Interactive State Transportation Facts and Figures
The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics released State Transportation Facts and Figures, an interactive web transportation mapping application that allows customers to find and download state-by-state transportation data, comparisons and rankings….
1/26/2012 - Carriers Responding to New Health Care Costs
More than 80% of carriers report that recent health care changes will adversely affect them, according to the recent fourth quarter national Business Expectations Survey by Transport Capital Partners….
1/26/2012 - FMCSA Clarifies Push-to-Talk Guidance
FMCSA released updated FAQs on its new handheld mobile telephone ban to clarify that the use of the push-to-talk function on mobile phones is permitted, under certain limited conditions….
1/26/2012 - House Readies Highway Bill
House Republicans will introduce a highway bill next week, said Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Mica’s announcement followed President Obama’s call in his State of the Union address for funding the highway program with money not spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan….
1/23/2012 - Judge Rejects Navistar Bid for SCR Engine Recall
A federal judge rejected Navistar’s bid to have the Environmental Protection Agency recall 2010 engines that use selective catalytic reduction to meet emission standards.
The judge, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, said Navistar’s arguments for the recall are not persuasive and dismissed the case….
1/19/2012 - Measure Would Allow Truckers to Go 75 mph in Idaho
A senator in northern Idaho wants to allow truckers to drive 75 mph in the state. The current speed limit for semis in Idaho is 65 mph while cars are allowed to drive 75 mph….
1/19/2012 - Booz Allen: America Needs to ‘Reimagine’ Infrastructure
As the nation prepares for Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address, Booz Allen Hamilton, a strategy and technology consulting firm, outlined items it says should be included in any discussion about the country’s aging infrastructure….
1/19/2012 - Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline Proposal
President Obama announced that his administration is rejecting the controversial proposal for the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, which would have transported 700,000 barrels of oil daily from Canada, Montana and the Dakotas to U.S. refineries in Houston….
1/18/2012 - ATRI Updates Online Idling Regulations Compendium
The American Transportation Research Institute has updated the list of idling regulations, both state and local, on its website, atri-online.org….
1/18/2012 - CSA BASIC Fact Sheets Available on the Web
The Compliance, Safety, Accountability(CSA) program released a new Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) fact sheet series on its website….
1/16/2012 - Minnesota Governor Addresses Infrastructure Problems With New Task Force
The day after announcing a $775 million jobs plan for Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton announced plans to establish the Commissioner’s Transportation Finance Advisory Group, a task force that will be responsible for recommending new ways to finance a better state infrastructure….
1/16/2012 - NC Opens More Roads to Doubles
The North Carolina Department of Transportation will now allow the operation of double-trailer combinations on several freeway routes in the eastern part of the state plus the Triangle area….