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Small-business truckers request exemption from ELD mandate

By Contributing Writer
Posted Nov 21st 2017 10:54AM

Grain Valley, Mo., Nov. 21, 2017) The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has submitted an exemption request to a federal regulation requiring trucks to be equipped with electronic logging devices.

“Small-business truckers that have already proven their ability to operate safely should not be subject to purchasing costly, unproven and uncertified devices,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA. “

The request was submitted to the agency that regulates motor carriers, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration.

OOIDA has requested at least a 5-year exemption for motor carriers classified as small businesses according to the Small Business Administration and with a proven safety history with no attributable at-fault crashes, and who do not have a Carrier Safety Rating of “Unsatisfactory.”

Among the numerous concerns cited in the request, the issue of self-certification of vendors is one of the biggest issues brought up by OOIDA.

FMCSA has stated that they do not know if the self-certified ELD’s listed on their website fulfill regulatory requirements in the mandate. At present, none of the 193 devices listed have been validated by the agency or any unbiased, third-party testing program.

“Most small-business motor carriers can ill afford to make these purchases only to learn later that the ELD is non-compliant. Yet they are required to do so or risk violation,” said Spencer.

Another major concern expressed by OOIDA in the exemption request includes cybersecurity.

At two recent cybersecurity conferences, a leading research firm released a summary of their findings after analyzing three ELD providers currently listed as self-certified on the FMCSA website. Their general conclusion was that all three devices did very little, if anything at all, to follow best practices and were open to serious compromise.

A five-year exemption would provide necessary time for ELD manufacturers to be fully vetted by the agency, which would alleviate small-business motor carriers from learning that they purchased a device that could damage their vehicles electronic control module or be hacked.

OOIDA is a member of a diverse coalition of industry representatives that has spoken out against the mandate. OOIDA supports a bill proposed by U.S. Representative Brian Babin (R-TX-36) that would delay the ELD mandate for two years. Babin’s bill, H.R.3282, the ELD Extension Act of 2017, would extend the current implementation date from December 2017 to December 2019.

The ELD mandate is estimated to cost impacted stakeholders more than $2 billion, making it one
of the most expensive federal transportation rulemakings over the last decade. This is a massive
unfunded mandate that provides no safety, economic, or productivity benefits for most ensnared by the mandate.

Commercial truck drivers are restricted to a limited number of working and driving hours under current regulations. The FMCSA’s mandate requires that truck drivers use ELDs to track their driving and non-driving activities even though such devices can only track movement and location of a vehicle. OOIDA contends that requiring electronic monitoring devices on commercial vehicles does not advance safety since they are no more reliable than paper logbooks for recording compliance with hours-of-service regulations.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the only national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 160,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the Greater Kansas City, Mo., area.

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