WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a regulatory proposal that would require interstate commercial truck and bus companies to install electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) to monitor their drivers’ hours-of-service (HOS) compliance.

The DOT said the rule would relieve interstate motor carriers from the need to keep certain HOS supporting documents, such as delivery and toll receipts, which are currently used to verify the total number of hours drivers spend operating a vehicle.

Under the proposal, the rule would require interstate carriers that currently use Records of Duty (RODS) logbooks to document drivers’ HOS to use EOBRs. The rule would not require short-haul interstate carriers that use timecards to document HOS to use EOBRs.

Carriers that violate this EOBR requirement would face civil penalties of up to $11,000 for each offense. Noncompliance would also negatively impact a carrier’s safety fitness rating and DOT operating authority. In April 2010, FMCSA issued a final rule that mandates EOBRs for interstate carriers with serious patterns of HOS violations.

The DOT said the proposed rule would affect approximately 500,000 carriers and added that those interested can provide comments on the proposed rule at regulationroom.org during the next 60 days starting Feb, 4.