Independent truckers continue efforts to delay ELD mandate

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. – An independent truckers’ association that has been fighting the electronic logging device mandate in court and in the media is now arguing that recent requests for exemptions prove there is no safety benefit to ELDs.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is arguing that a surge in requests for exemptions – some of them approved by federal officials – is one of many reasons the upcoming federal regulation requiring trucks and buses to be equipped with ELDs should be delayed.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s ELD mandate is scheduled to take effect on December 18.

“The reasons cited in the requests are not unique to just a single company or one sector of the trucking industry,” Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA, said in a news release. “Many of those same concerns apply to all affected by this one-size-fits-all mandate.”

As of early November, OOIDA said, 12 organizations had filed exemption requests and 31 organizations had requested a delay.

“In one instance, they denied the request, and in a couple of others, they granted the requests, but in none of these did FMCSA’s decisions show any consistency in reasoning,” Spencer said.

In its denial to one group, the agency said that the request did not demonstrate how, without using ELDs, they would maintain a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level achieved without the exemption, the news release said.

But in granting exemptions to two other groups, the agency made no mention of safety.

“It’s the Nightmare on ELD Street,” Spencer said. “Confusion and concern surround this issue. The best solution is an alternate ending to the frightening scene by way of a delay.”

The timing of the announcements comes at the heels of a recent push by a coalition of companies and organizations to delay the electronic logging device mandate.

OOIDA has contended that a delay is necessary until FMCSA addresses numerous unresolved issues identified by impacted stakeholders. There are significant technological and real-world concerns that have not been addressed by FMCSA, the association contended.

“These concerns include the certification of devices (or lack thereof), connectivity problems in remote areas of the country, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and the ability of law enforcement to access data,” OOIDA said in its release.

“The ELD mandate is estimated to cost impacted stakeholders more than $2 billion, making it one of the most expensive federal transportation rulemakings over the last decade,” Spencer said.

“This is a massive, unfunded mandate that provides no safety, economic, or productivity benefits for those ensnared by the mandate. This is another example of a costly regulation imposed on small-business truckers that has no bearing on safety.”

OOIDA sued FMCSA in an effort to block the ELD mandate, but lost the case when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to reconsider a lower court’s ruling rejecting the association’s suit. The association also lobbied Congress to pass a bill delaying the rule for two years, but the bill failed.

OOIDA listed the following companies and organizations that had requested exemptions but had yet to receive responses: G4S Secure Solutions Inc.; Hub Group Trucking, Inc.; Motion Picture Association of America; National Pork Producers Council; Power and Communication Contractors Association; Western Equipment Dealers Association; and YRC Yellow Freight Corporation.

FMCSA has responded to requests by these companies: MBI Energy Services, Inc. (Denied); Pipe Line Contractors Association (Denied); Truck Renting and Leasing Association (Partially granted); and United Parcel Service (Partially granted).

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