The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing that all interstate trucks and buses be equipped with electronic onboard recorders to track driver hours.

The rule would apply to all carriers now required to maintain Records of Duty Status (aka logbooks), which amounts to some 500,000 commercial carriers. The rule would not apply to short-haul interstate carriers that use timecards to document hours of service.

The agency at the same time is proposing to relieve interstate carriers from certain supporting documents requirements for hours of service compliance.

Motor carriers will be given three years from the effective date of the final rule to comply with these requirements.

"We cannot protect our roadways when commercial truck and bus companies exceed hours-of-service rules," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "This proposal would make our roads safer by ensuring that carriers traveling across state lines are using EOBRs to track the hours their drivers spend behind the wheel."

Under the proposal, violations of the 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, the agency said.

"This proposal is an important step in our efforts to raise the safety bar for commercial carriers and drivers," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "We believe broader use of EOBRs would give carriers and drivers an effective tool to strengthen their HOS compliance."

The proposal can be found at The agency will be accepting comments as soon as the proposal is published in the Federal Register.