WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may well be caught between a rock and a hard spot.
Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. has requested an exemption from the electronic logging device requirement in order to give the carrier time to install ELD devices running on automatic on-board recording device (AOBRD) software in commercial motor vehicles added to the company's fleet for up to one year from the December 18, 2017, ELD mandate compliance date.
If granted, this modified ELD phase-in period will allow Old Dominion's AOBRD/ELD provider, PeopleNet, to complete the development of the software necessary to integrate ELD data with the company’s fleet management and safety systems to fully meet the ELD mandate.
FMCSA considers the request to be on behalf of all motor carriers in similar situations concerning the integration of PeopleNet’s ELD software into fleet management systems.
The agency will accept comments on Old Dominion’s request through March 2.
Old Dominion said it has 8,500 power units and employs more than 10,100 drivers.
The carrier said it began equipping its vehicles with PeopleNet AOBRDs in 2010, and by 2011 the entire fleet was equipped with devices which meet the necessary requirements.
Data from the AOBRDs feed directly into the company’s fleet management and safety systems, enabling its dispatchers to know precisely where each of its drivers is at any given time and how many hours he/she has available under the federal Hours of Service rule.
This functionality is not required by the AOBRD rules under 49 CFR 395.15 or the ELD requirements under Subpart B of 49 CFR art 395.
The application says that currently, the PeopleNet AOBRD software allows carriers to
configure certain specifications.
If the settings were not adjustable, the PeopleNet AOBRD would be similar, but not identical, to the FMCSA’s ELD technical specifications.
Old Dominion said it has configured its settings in the PeopleNet AOBRDs it uses.
However, certain AOBRD software changes must be made by PeopleNet, including:
Sources told The Trucker there are as many as 250,000 similar units in use in the industry today.
The eyes of the industry will be on the FMCSA as it considers this request because it is also considering a request from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) for a five-year exemption for smaller carriers with a good safety record.
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.
Last week OOIDA said 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 FMCSA asking the agency to support OOIDA’s pending application for an exemption from the ELD mandate for small trucking businesses with “exemplary safety records.”