by Hal Mattern
A nonprofit organization representing commercial motor vehicle safety inspectors is asking Congress to reject an effort to exempt small operators from the federal electronic logging device mandate.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), long a critic of the growing number of ELD exemptions, sent a letter to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in March expressing its opposition to the Small Carrier Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act.
The bill, which would exempt commercial operators with fewer than 10 vehicles from the mandate, was first introduced in 2018 but failed to pass. It resurfaced this year as H.R. 1697 and was referred to as the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
CVSA Executive Director Collin Mooney said in the letter to the House committee that the bill, “along with any other effort to exempt segments of the motor carrier industry from the use of ELDs, would negatively impact highway safety and add significant complication to the enforcement of the ELD mandate and hours-of-service regulations.”
Mooney said a small-carrier exemption would apply to 89.4 percent of all commercial motor vehicle operators. He added that it would be nearly impossible during a roadside safety inspection to verify the number of vehicles a carrier operates.
“Accurate application of this exemption would be very difficult to enforce roadside, which would encourage abuse of the exemption,” Mooney wrote.
This wasn’t the first time CVSA has expressed opposition to ELD exemptions. In December, Mooney sent a letter to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which implemented the mandate, saying the exemptions are creating “confusion and inconsistency in enforcement, which undermines the foundation of the federal commercial motor vehicle enforcement program—uniformity.”
“Granting these regulatory exceptions only serves to inhibit law enforcement and industry’s understanding of and compliance with the rules,” the letter stated. “In addition, every exception and change to regulations requires additional training for inspectors, resulting in an unnecessary added expense and the potential for a higher level of confusion surrounding the applicability of the regulations.”