FMCSA approves Werner’s exemption during ELD transition

July 6, 2020

Mark Schremmer

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has accepted an hours-of-service exemption request from Omaha, neb.-based Werner Enterprises, allowing the company’s drivers to leave certain data fields blank during the transition to a new electronic logging device provider.

FMCSA’s notice of approval is scheduled to publish in the Federal Register on Tuesday, July 7.

The agency published a notice in April that Werner had requested the exemption, because the company was switching to a new ELD supplier, Platform Science. Werner, which is headquartered in Omaha, Neb., has about 10,000 drivers and 8,000 power units.

Werner asked that five specific data fields required within the ELD outputs be excluded in the record of duty status files accessed through the in-cab ELD unit during the first eight days each of its drivers makes the transition to the new provider.

According to the exemption application, the files generated by the current ELDs used by Werner include all of the required information, and the Platform Science ELDs also include the required information. However, Werner said incompatibilities between the two providers will cause five data elements to not be available during the transition. The company said its entire fleet will be affected.

The affected fields are:

  • Co-driver information.
  • Odometer elapsed.
  • Engine hours elapsed.
  • Engine hours total.
  • Odometer total.

“Consequently, during the first eight days a driver is operating a Werner vehicle equipped with the new Platform Science ELD, the electronic return to duty status file accessible in the vehicle will not include the five data elements specified for the full required time prior to the installation of the new ELD,” the notice stated. “However, all other information needed to determine compliance with the hours-of-service rules will be available.”

Werner said the inspector would review the electronic return of duty status via FMCSA’s eRODS software, which would detect the missing data elements in the Platform Science ELD presentation of the previous eight days.

The company said the remaining data elements would provide a means for identifying noncompliance with hours of service.

FMCSA received six comments in favor of the exemption and 12 against.

The American Trucking Associations was among the proponents for the exemption.

“The application merely presents a specific means to allow the interoperability of two ELD systems – not to exempt its drivers from the broader ELD requirements that ATA has long supported,” ATA wrote.

Opposing comments came from individuals.

“Absolutely no exemption should be granted to any carrier. Especially one that pushed for the ELD mandate,” Michael Crites wrote. “They need to be held responsible for not having their act together. If this was any other carrier, they would be held liable. Many other outfits have done exactly what was required of them. This is a (multimillion) dollar company. They have no excuse for this.”

Previous exemptions coverage

In May, Extreme Logistics, which specializes in hauling fireworks, was given an annual exemption granted for the Fourth of July season. Another request, from PTS Worldwide, which transports highly sensitive cargo for the Department of Defens, was denied.PTS Worldwide was asking for its team drivers to be allowed to split the 10-hour sleeper berth requirement into segments of either 4 and 6, 5 and 5, or 6 and 4 hours.

Mark Schremmer

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.