Small Business Truckers Request ELD Exemption
To delay the mandate for purchasing and installing electronic logging devices on all commercial trucks, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is asking the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) for a five-year exemption. Under the current federal mandate, all commercial trucks were to be equipped with electronic logging devices (ELD) by December 2017. These electronic logging devices record a driver’s hours, along with pertinent information that ensures the truck driver is following federal safety mandates.
The OOIDA claims that vendors selling the electronic logging devices are not required to be certified, which raises concerns that the equipment purchased from these vendors may prove to be inadequate. The OOIDA claims that small business truck drivers cannot afford the expense of purchasing and installing ELDs on their fleets that may prove to be non-compliant soon. Moreover, issues with cyber security of the ELDs have not been sufficiently addressed, and OOIDA believes that they are at risk for being hacked.
According to the OOIDA, the five-year exemption period would allow the FMCSA to work with the ELDs on the market to determine if they are compliant. Any security issues can be identified and resolved during this period as well. OOIDA claims that while FMCSA requires all ELDs to be registered with them, they do not require a validation process from the manufacturers of the products. This leaves truck drivers with the burden of ensuring that records of their hours of service are accurate and secure, but also poses a risk to the truck’s electronic control module being compromised.
Exemption Requests Favor Safe Drivers
The OOIDA’s exemption request pertains only to those small business truck drivers that have a proven track record of safe operation. For eligibility to be included in the exemption, the truck driver must be classified as a small business, have a clean driving record with no at-fault crashes, and maintain a Carrier Safety Rating of satisfactory.
There is a current bill proposal by U.S. Representative, Brian Babin, from Texas, that seeks an overall delay in implementation of the ELD systems from December 2017 to December 2019. If the OOIDA’s exemption request is granted, implementation for small business truck drivers would extend to December 2022.
The FMCSA recently stated that the mandate will proceed as scheduled, but that there will be a grace period for trucks found to be without an ELD system on board. Drivers are required to have paper logs of their hours of service through April 1, 2018 and will receive citations for non-compliance. At this point, no trucker will be placed out of service as long as they have the proper documentation on paper.
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