Just in time for the Super Bowl, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is doing an end run around the ELD mandate and making good on their 2017 promise to continue to fight ELDs post-mandate.
OOIDA today announced that U.S. Reps. Brian Babin, R-Texas, and Steve King, R-Iowa — along with 23 other members of Congress — have sent a letter to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration asking the agency to support OOIDA’s pending application for an exemption from the ELD mandate for small trucking businesses with “exemplary safety records.”
“We thank the representatives, especially Congressmen Babin and King, for recognizing that small-business truckers that have already proven their ability to operate safely should not be subject to purchasing costly, unproven and uncertified devices,” OOIDA Acting President and CEO Todd Spencer said.
The letter says "the best course of action with regards to the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is still to issue a 90-day relief period for all sectors of the trucking industry as your agency [FMCSA] continues to examine and adjudicate the numerous applications for exemptions and waivers."
The letter, addressed to FMCSA Deputy Administrator Cathy Gautreaux, also encourages FMCSA to grant its application "which would provide reasonable relief from the costly and burdensome regulations for many of the trucking industry's safest and most experienced drivers."
OOIDA wants at least a five-year exemption for motor carriers classified as small businesses by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and which have a proven safety history with no attributable at-fault crashes and no unsatisfactory carrier safety rating. The SBA defines a small business as one having less than $27.5 million annual revenue.
The announcement of the letter comes just a day after a group of large trucking companies and an auto safety group submitted joint comments to FMCSA saying OOIDA’s requested exemption would in effect “gut the long-settled electronic logging device rule by allowing nearly all trucking companies to delay compliance.” Click here for the story.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and the Alliance for Driver Safety & Security asserted that OOIDA “seeks exemption for a far larger class of motor carriers, i.e., all those considered to be a small transportation trucking business as defined by the SBA regulations.”
The groups’ joint news release Thursday called OOIDA’s exemption request “a transparent attempt to bypass Congress and the courts by regurgitating discredited arguments which seek to advance special interests at the expense of road safety for all motorists.”
In the letter, OOIDA said its request "is responsibly constructed to ensure only motor carriers defined by the SBA as a small-trucking business would qualify for relief from the $2 billion mandate."
One of OOIDA’s main bones of contention has been that “FMCSA is letting the manufacturers certify themselves,” said OOIDA spokesman Norita Taylor this past fall. “How are you supposed to know what to buy? There’s no way to know if it’s really compliant. And later down the road if something you purchased and installed on your truck, if the FMCSA comes along and says it’s not compliant … you still don’t know if what you’re replacing it with is compliant, either.”
OOIDA has also protested that cybersecurity and other computer technology issues have not been addressed to their satisfaction. “Our understanding is law enforcement is hesitant to hook their system up to a truck’s system, because of viruses,” Taylor told The Trucker late last year.
Collin Mooney, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, told The Trucker around a month after the ELD mandate had gone into effect that he hadn’t heard of any problems from CVSA inspectors looking at ELD data and that the technology was pretty "intuitive."
He said the primary problem was a software issue with state government computers handling ELD compliance but that the issue was “resolved very quickly.”