Deadline to submit comments on OOIDA’s ELD exemption is Feb. 1

January 30, 2018

Greg Grisolano


Drivers and the public have only a limited amount of time left to share their thoughts on a proposal that would exempt small trucking businesses with a history of safe operation from the electronic logging device mandate.

The deadline to file comments on an ELD exemption request put forth by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 1. To date, more than 2,800 comments have been filed on the request.

OOIDA filed the exemption request in November. The Association is asking the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to allow small trucking carriers that do not have an “unsatisfactory” safety rating and can document a proven history of safety performance without attributable at-fault crashes to be allowed to continue to use paper logs rather than ELDs to record hours of service. The requests asks for a five-year exemption.

OOIDA issued a Call to Action earlier in January, asking all drivers to file comments in support of the request. The deadline to file comments is Feb. 1.

The Call to Action notes that the agency “must take public feedback into account as they determine whether or not to grant the exemption” and advises those submitting comments, to “provide specific details and reasoning about how the exemption would improve the safety and efficiency of your business.”

Click here to submit comments directly to docket No. FMCSA-2017-0356.
Click here to read the formal application for exemption notice.

OOIDA has long been skeptical of the purported safety benefits of the devices. The Association notes that many large motor carriers have been using ELDs for years, but a 2011 study done by FMCSA found little research supporting the effectiveness of electronic logging devices in reducing crashes.

The five-year exemption requested by OOIDA would provide necessary time for the agency to fully vet electronic logging devices, which would alleviate small-business motor carriers from learning that they purchased a device that could damage their vehicles’ electronic control module or be hacked.

Commercial truck drivers are restricted to a limited number of working and driving hours under current regulations. The FMCSA’s mandate requires that truck drivers use ELDs to track their driving and nondriving activities even though such devices can only track movement and location of a vehicle. OOIDA contends that requiring electronic monitoring devices on commercial vehicles does not increase safety since they are no more reliable than paper logbooks for recording compliance with hours-of-service regulations.