FMCSA Denies Cudd Energy Services Request to Use Paper RODS versus ELD
The FMCSA Decision
CES requested an exemption from the ELD requirements for its specially trained drivers of specially constructed CMVs used in oilfield operations to allow drivers of these infrequently driven CMVs to complete paper RODS instead of using an ELD. FMCSA regulations prohibit these drivers from using the short-haul exceptions to the HOS rules. CES believes that the exemption would not have any adverse impacts on operational safety because drivers would remain subject to the HOS regulations as well as the requirements to maintain paper RODS.
FMCSA reviewed the application and the 8 comments submitted. None of the comments supported the exemption. On June 16, 2018, FMCSA denied AESC's application for exemption because the Agency could not ensure that the exemption would provide the requisite level of safety.
Cudd Energy Services (CES) Request for ELD Exemption
Cudd Energy Services (CES) (incorporated as Cudd Pressure Control Inc., USDOT 211908 and Cudd Pumping Services Inc. USDOT 962805) is requesting an exemption from the requirement in 49 CFR 395.8(a)(1)(i) that motor carriers ensure their drivers use ELDs in place of written records of duty status (RODS) to record their duty status for each 24-hour period. According to CES, the exemption would be applicable to CES' operations in which specially trained drivers of CMVs specially constructed to service oil wells are utilized. The exemption is requested for 5 years and would cover a total of approximately 939 drivers and 1,858 CMVs.
CES' services utilizing special equipment are performed in an environment where connectivity and driver access to the vehicles both affect the use of an ELD system. Due to regulatory wording in 49 CFR 395.1 (d)(2), these drivers are not eligible to use the provisions of Section 395.1(e)(1) for 100 air-mile short-haul operations. Therefore, the drivers would normally be required to be operating vehicles equipped with ELDs.
CES reports that it intends to install equipment that would enable tracking of its vehicles when communication capabilities exist, but would not meet AOBRD or ELD standards. They state that this tracking would provide an increased level of safety. CES listed AOBRD/ELD issues that it claims could prevent a driver from logging into an ELD system such as poor cellular service in certain oilfield locations and when companies prohibit cell phones and electronic equipment exclusively while operations are in progress. According to CES, “If drivers are required to use the ELD, Cudd feels the efforts involved in administering the documentation to show why paper logs were utilized beyond the eight-day threshold, tracking all repairs purely due to communication loss, and manual editing of RODS, would become counterproductive, not cost effective and does not contribute to the safety of the driver, equipment, or motoring public.”
CES asserts that due to the low exposure of these vehicle in traffic, compliance with current paper log provisions would ensure compliance with driver fatigue reduction intentions of 49 CFR part 395.