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.

Officially this will be known as a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, but for simplicity call it EOBR3.

EOBR1 is the rule that would have required frequent hours of service violators to use EOBRs starting next July. It also outlined the technical standards of the rule.

EOBR2, which is still in progress, proposes to expand EOBR1 to include practically all carriers, and is supposed to answer questions about the technical standards in EOBR1.

But last August, EOBR1 was thrown out by an appeals court, which agreed with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association that rule failed to prevent the use of EOBRs to harass drivers, as is required by law.

And as the agency worked on EOBR2, it realized that there were technical issues in EOBR1 that still needed to be resolved.

So the agency now has decided that it needs to hold public listening sessions on the harassment issue and on the technical questions before proposing a revised rule. A schedule for the listening sessions will be available soon, the agency said in an announcement posted in yesterday's Federal Register.

In addition, the agency has asked the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee to come up with recommendations on how to deal with the harassment question.

These recommendations will supplement the technical recommendations the committee made last month.