FMCSA grants another ELD exemption, two more waivers

January 16, 2018

Greg Grisolano


Federal regulators are announcing another five-year exemption and two more 90-day waivers from the electronic logging device mandate.

In a trio of news releases issued Jan. 12, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced its intention to grant limited waivers to petitions filed by the Truck Renting and Leasing Association and Old Dominion Freight Lines for a 90-day waiver of the ELD rule.

At least 18 exemption requests have been filed by various industry groups, with FMCSA already granting a handful of such requests or allowing limited waivers, moves which the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association say show that the industry and the agency weren’t ready for the mandate.

“Instead of doing the responsible thing and delay the ELD mandate, FMCSA moved forward with a rule that simply wasn’t ready,” said Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s director of government affairs. “The multitude of exemption requests clearly illustrates numerous issues with the rule, but rather than address those issues, FMCSA is continuing to pick winners and losers. It’s not the way government should work.”

OOIDA, which advocated for a two-year delay rather than rolling out the mandate last December, has requested a five-year exemption to allow small trucking carriers who 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.

Truck rentals exemption
TRALA’s limited waiver was requested for truck rentals not exceeding 30 days. The agency stated that the waiver “will avoid business disruptions for carriers required to employ short-term rentals, regardless of the reason, and allow businesses renting CMVs to continue their work to reconcile the ELD requirement with the needs of their individual customers.”

TRALA received the first exemption to the ELD mandate after the FMCSA agreed to allow paper logs for trucks rented for eight days or fewer.

The waiver also states that carriers who attempt to replace one rental CMV with another on 30-day cycles or who attempt to renew a rental agreement for the same CMV for a period beyond 30 days will be regarded as violating the waiver. This waiver expires 90 days after publication in the Federal Register.

FMCSA also granted a limited waiver to Old Dominion and other similarly-situated motor carriers who are having issues with integrating PeopleNet’s ELD software into fleet management systems. According to the request from Old Dominion, the company is working with PeopleNet on a software update that would eliminate certain features and limit the auto-duty driving status change threshold to 5 miles and the geo-fencing of yards to a 0.5-mile radius. This waiver expires March 18.

Motion picture exemption
The agency also announced a five-year exemption for the Motion Picture Association of America. The exemption allows drivers of commercial vehicles providing transportation of passengers and property to and from a theatrical or television motion picture production site to use paper logs instead of ELDs. The exemption will affect approximately 6,500 commercial vehicle drivers.

Among supporters of the application, Teamsters Local 399, which has 4,500 members in the motion picture and television industry, stated that the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers “spend millions of dollars, year after year, decade after decade, keeping themselves and Teamster drivers in compliance throughout the United States.”

“Paper logs for our industry have been practiced, preached and perfected with safe and accurate results for multiple studios, production companies and thousands of drivers in the motion picture industry that are employed by them,” the Teamsters comments stated.

In its explanation for granting the exemption, FMCSA wrote that MPAA members are already required to submit their records of duty status information within 24 hours, instead of the 13-day period allowed by law. Those records are reviewed by a third-party auditing company. Those attempting to operate under the waiver are required to carry a copy of it in the cab.