GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — In a letter addressed to the leadership of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has requested the committee to “urgently conduct an oversight hearing on the critically flawed implementation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s electronic logging device mandate.”
OOIDA said it was making the request on behalf of its 160,000 members and “countless more small-business truckers.”
The letter was signed by Todd Spencer, OOIDA acting president and CEO.
“Among the fundamental responsibilities of Congress is to maintain vigorous oversight of the federal agencies it tasks with implementing new regulations, especially those that will have a significant impact on American businesses and the nation’s economy,” Spencer wrote.
“This ensures the accountability of federal regulators and provides transparency that public funds are utilized in a responsible and efficient manner. When a federal agency has failed to effectively implement a Congressional requirement to the extent FMCSA has, it is the obligation of elected officials to examine the agency’s actions and determine what administrative or legislative remedies are needed.”
Spencer said prior to the mandate taking effect in December 2017, OOIDA and more than 30 other industries impacted by the rule shared serious concerns that the agency, law enforcement and the regulated community were not prepared for implementation.
These concerns have been validated, Spencer said, as FMCSA has granted a patchwork of temporary waivers, exemptions and “soft enforcement” deadlines that have only caused more confusion across the country.
“The range of problems associated with the mandate are illustrated by the number and diversity of industries requesting exemptions from its requirements, including those submitted by entities who helped convince Congress to enact the regulation back in 2012,” Spencer said. “As we warned, the impact of the rule has been much broader than even its most ardent supporters anticipated.”
Exemption requests have even been filed by manufacturers of ELDs currently on the market — and still listed on the FMCSA website as available for purchase — who have discovered their devices are not fully compliant, he said.
“These compliance issues came as no surprise to the truckers who have been forced to use ELDs,” Spencer said. “Since the mandate took effect, truckers have routinely shared with us substantial troubles they’ve experienced related to devices, including several vendor-wide systems failures, faulty GPS tracking, inaccurate recording-of-duty statuses, engine disablements, speed irregularities, abysmal customer service from manufacturers, a worsening truck parking crisis and many more.”
Spencer decried that the FMCSA had taken no steps “to remedy these mounting issues or even inform truckers their devices may not be compliant. Instead, the agency is relying on vendors to fix their equipment.
“Truckers are left wondering why the federal government allowed ELDs to be self-certified by manufacturers in the first place and what is being done by regulators to develop greater certainty for all stakeholders.”
He said members of Congress were calling the OOIDA offices to find out how the mandate is impacting their constituents.
Furthermore, Spencer said state legislatures across the country are considering resolutions calling for the federal government to repeal the mandate, as well as legislation prohibiting its enforcement within their borders.
“Clearly, this federal requirement is having a dramatic impact on the state and local level,” Spencer said. “OOIDA believes the time has come for your Committee to exert its oversight authority and conduct a hearing on this important matter to help alleviate current problems and avoid any future difficulties.”