ELD exemption for pre-2000 trucks should remain, OOIDA says

September 19, 2022

Mark Schremmer

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Last week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding possible changes to the electronic logging device mandate.

The agency wants feedback in five areas, including ways to address ELD malfunctions and the device certification process.

However, the part of the notice that caught the attention of many truck drivers was about the mandate’s applicability to pre-2000 engines. The current ELD mandate, which took effect in 2017, includes an exemption for trucks with pre-2000 engines.

FMCSA is not proposing a rule change at this point but wants feedback from the public on whether or not the exemption should be renewed.

“Many vehicles with pre-2000 engines and most vehicles with rebuilt pre-2000 engines have engine control modules installed that could accommodate an ELD,” the agency wrote. “Should FMCSA reevaluate or modify the applicability of the current ELD regulation for rebuilt or remanufactured CMV engines or glider kits?”

More than 250 comments have already been filed to the docket. Many of the comments were from truck drivers urging the agency to keep the exemption for older trucks.

“I would like to oppose the rule of installing ELDs in pre-2000 trucks,” Jasman Gill wrote. “I mean, how many are actually left out there?” I’m a single owner-operator, and all these rules and regulations are killing us. It’s beneficial for the mega carriers. Be considerate of us. We already deal with a lot of consequences.”

Others pointed out that highway safety has not improved since the ELD mandate went into effect. In addition, FMCSA has allowed hours-of-service waivers under an emergency declaration since March 2020. The agency told Land Line in August that it was aware of only two crashes involving carriers operating under the declaration. Neither yielded major injuries.

“Adding ELD devices to pre-2000 engines and gliders isn’t going to make the roads any safer,” Thomas Barber wrote. “The FMCSA already has plenty of data showing that since the implement of ELDs, accidents have gotten worse. Forcing drivers to sleep when they are not tired and drive when they are isn’t the way to be safe.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association fought the ELD mandate and contended it would not improve safety.

“As we approach five years since the original implementation date, it’s clear the ELD mandate has not been the silver bullet solution for improving highway safety that federal regulators and other supporters claimed it would be,” said Jay Grimes, OOIDA’s director of federal affairs.

The agency wants feedback in five aspects of the ELD regulation in which it is considering changes:

  • Applicability to pre-2000 engines.
  • Addressing ELD malfunctions.
  • The process for removing an ELD from FMCSA’s list of certified devices.
  • Technical specifications.
  • ELD certification.

Grimes said the notice opens the door to improving some aspects of the ELD mandate but noted that OOIDA opposes any efforts to end the exemption on older trucks.

“The latest notice from the agency is an opportunity to improve the technical shortcomings of the final ELD Rule that have caused operational and compliance problems for thousands of drivers,” Grimes said. “Additionally, this is a chance for FMCSA to finally establish a legitimate ELD certification process so motor carriers do not have to invest extra capital constantly replacing faulty ELDs.

“However, the agency must not attempt to alter the current rules regarding pre-2000 engines. Modifying this provision would be pulling out the rug from drivers who have maintained older vehicles or have invested in glider kits. Unless FMCSA wants to repeal the costly and unnecessary ELD mandate altogether, they should not change the pre-2000 engine rules.”

How to comment

The public has through Nov. 15 to comment on the notice. To do so, click here or go to the Regulations.gov website and enter Docket No. FMCSA-2022-0078. LL

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Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.