Four more ELD exemption requests, including OOIDA’s, open for comments next week

December 29, 2017

Greg Grisolano


Four more exemption requests from the electronic logging device mandate will be available for public comments at the start of the new year.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is expected to publish the exemption requests in the Jan. 2 issue of the Federal Register. The agency will seek public comment on the requests for 30 days after they are published.

Among the exemption requests the agency will consider are exemptions for trash hauling and recycling company drivers, as well as exemptions for two companies that provide oil well services, and a request from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association for a blanket exemption for small trucking businesses that do not have an unsatisfactory safety rating.

OOIDA has requested at least a five-year exemption for motor carriers classified as small businesses, according to the Small Business Administration and that have a proven safety history with no attributable at-fault crashes and who do not have a Carrier Safety Rating of “unsatisfactory.”

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 ELD manufacturers to be fully vetted by the agency, 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 advance safety since they are no more reliable than paper logbooks for recording compliance with hours-of-service regulations.

American Disposal Services
An exemption request filed by American Disposal Services could affect all trash hauling and recycling carriers who operate similarly. The company is requesting exemptions for its 300 CDL drivers who make on average 800 to 1,200 stops per day. The company is requesting the exemption because “there is no ELD that can accurately record driving time when the CMV makes constant short movements with the driver often exiting the vehicle.” Drivers would continue to use paper logs to record duty status changes.

Energy services businesses
Cudd Energy Services and the Association of Energy Service Cos. have filed separate requests for exemptions for their CDL drivers who work in the oil industry.

Cudd Energy Services requests a five-year exemption for its 939 drivers and 1,858 commercial vehicles. The company’s request states that the drivers are ineligible for the 100 air-mile short-haul exemption. The company operates specially constructed vehicles that service oil wells, typically in an environment where “connectivity and driver access to the vehicles both affect the use of an ELD system.” Drivers would continue to use paper logs instead.

AESC also requests a five-year exemption on behalf of well service rig contractors. Calling the ELD mandate “overly burdensome … without providing any safety benefit.” Before the mandate, drivers of well service rigs operated under the short-haul exemption. While drivers must record their duty on paper any day they exceed the requirements of that exception, an ELD would now be required any time a driver exceeds the “8-in-30-day” threshold exemption.

“Well service rig drivers spend very little time on public roads, in contrast to long-haul truck drivers, who spend most of their on-duty hours driving on public roads,” the request states. “Depending on the service required at the oil well, a well service rig spends two to five days parked at a single location or sometimes longer. The oil well serves as the daily work reporting location, and the well service rigs remain stationary at that location until the job is completed.”

To date, the agency has received at least 16 exemption applications for the ELD mandate.

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