FMCSA Denies Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association Inc Request to Use Paper RODS versus ELD

The FMCSA Decision

OOIDA requested a five-year exemption from the ELD rule for certain motor carriers considered to be a small transportation trucking business under 13 CFR 121.201. If granted, the exemption would cover small trucking businesses that do not have a carrier safety rating of “unsatisfactory,” and that can document a proven history of safety performance with no attributable at-fault crashes.

FMCSA reviewed the application and approximately 4,090 comments submitted. An estimated 96 percent of the comments were from owner-operators in favor of the exemption. Approximately 4 percent of the comments were in opposition to the proposed exemption. On June 16, 2018, FMCSA denied the application. FMCSA noted that most of the content of the application challenges the basis of the ELD rule itself, rather than justifying an exemption for a specific segment of drivers under applicable statutory standards. FMCSA noted further that the application provided no consideration of the significant difficulty that would be encountered in trying to identify and validate drivers who meet the proposed exemption criteria, especially during roadside inspections.

Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association Inc. (OOIDA) Request for ELD Exemption

OOIDA reports that it is the largest association representing the views of small-business motor carriers. OOIDA has approximately 160,000 members located in all 50 states and Canada who collectively own and operate more than 240,000 individual heavy-duty trucks.

OOIDA is requesting an exemption from the ELD mandate scheduled to become effective December 18, 2017, for motor carriers that are considered to be a small trucking business as defined by 13 CFR 121.201,[1who do not have a carrier safety rating of “unsatisfactory,” and can document a proven history of safety performance with no attributable at-fault crashes.

OOIDA asserts that the exemption would not have any adverse impacts on operational safety, as motor carriers and drivers would remain subject to the HOS regulations in 49 CFR 395.3, as well as the requirements to maintain a paper RODS under 49 CFR 395.8. The exemption would also allow small-business motor carriers to maintain their current practices that have resulted in a proven safety record. The term of the requested exemption, if granted, is for five years, subject to renewal upon application.

In its application, OOIDA addressed many of its concerns regarding cybersecurity issues, cost, and the lack of validation for ELDs in the marketplace. OOIDA believes that a five year exemption would provide necessary time for ELD manufacturers to be fully vetted by Federal regulators, would allow small-business carriers to determine which device best fits their operation, and provide additional time for law enforcement to analyze which devices fulfill regulatory requirements.

OOIDA concluded: “Many OOIDA members with millions of accident-free miles driving during their career have notified us that they will be retiring as a result of this mandate. These drivers are subject matter experts who have driven an array of trucks in severe weather, traffic and other conditions. If these drivers will remain in the trucking industry as result of an exemption, then that will achieve a level safety equal to, or greater than, the level that would be obtained by complying with the ELD mandate. If the mandates forces these skilled drivers out of the industry, they will be replaced with new, inexperienced drivers that are far more likely to crash which will not achieve an equal or higher level of safety.”

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