Tuesday, January 16, 2018

OOIDA asks for ELD exemption for small-business truckers with good safety records


Tuesday, November 21, 2017
by THE TRUCKER NEWS SERVICES

Small trucking businesses with less than $27.5 in annual revenue would be granted an exemption to the electronic logging device mandate under a request made by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. (Courtesy: OMNITRACS)
Small trucking businesses with less than $27.5 in annual revenue would be granted an exemption to the electronic logging device mandate under a request made by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. (Courtesy: OMNITRACS)

 

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. —  The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has submitted an exemption request to the impending federal regulation requiring trucks to be equipped with electronic logging devices by December 18.

“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 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. 

OOIDA has requested at least a five-year exemption for motor carriers classified as small businesses according to the Small Business Administration, have a proven safety history with no attributable at-fault crashes, and 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.

The SBA defines a small business as one having less than $27.5 million revenue annually.

OOIDA’s request comes one day after the FMCSA announced it would grant livestock haulers a 90-day exemption to the ELD mandate.

Spencer said the FMCSA has stated it does not know if the self-certified ELDs listed on the FMCSA 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, he said.

“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,” Spencer said.

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

Spencer said 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,” Spencer said.

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, Spencer said.

OOIDA is a member of a diverse coalition of industry representatives that has spoken out against the mandate. OOIDA supports a bill proposed by Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, that would delay the ELD mandate for two years. Babin’s bill, HR3282, the ELD Extension Act of 2017, would extend the current implementation date from December 2017 to December 2019.

The bill is now tied up in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Spencer said 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,” he said.

Commercial truck drivers are restricted to a limited number of working and driving hours under current Hours of Service 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, Spencer said, adding that 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 HOS.

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