Hundreds of truckers react to potential ELD changes

September 29, 2022

Mark Schremmer

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Mention the ELD mandate to truck drivers, and you’re likely to get their attention.

That was the case when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding potential updates to the regulations for electronic logging devices. The agency has already received more than 700 comments on the notice.

On Sept. 16, FMCSA requested feedback to 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.

The ELD mandate, which requires most truckers to use an electronic device to record their hours of service, took effect in 2017. The mandate was unpopular for many truck drivers, who contend that tracking the time to the second causes more stress for drivers and unsafe conditions. After the mandate took effect, many truck drivers reported seeing an increase in trucks speeding through parking lots to get stopped in time and trucks parking in unsafe locations because the driver was out of time.

Many of the comments came from truck drivers who want the agency to end the mandate altogether. Even more asked the agency to not end the ELD exemption for trucks with pre-2000 engines.

Applicability to pre-2000 engines

As part of the notice, FMCSA asked truck drivers for feedback on the original mandate’s decision to exempt trucks with pre-2000 engines.

“Should FMCSA reevaluate or modify the applicability of the current ELD regulation for rebuilt or remanufactured CMV engines or glider kits?” the agency asked.

Many truck drivers argued that the agency shouldn’t change the rules after telling them their older trucks would be grandfathered in.

“It is too late in the game and unfair now to require owners of pre-2000 engines to be mandated to use ELDs,” Daniel Cohen wrote. “FMCSA has already made enough of a mess of the ELD regulations to try to fix it.”

Jason Davis told the agency that there is no reason to change the rules for such a small percentage of trucks.

“Going after pre-2000 engines is also a pointless endeavor,” Davis wrote. “Ninety-nine percent of fleets run equipment that is less than five years old, with most pre-2000 trucks relegated to hobby use or limited (farm) use or situations where a log of any sort may not even be required. FMCSA needs to take their boot off the neck of the trucking industry and treat us as the professionals they like to refer to us as. Let us operate our equipment the best and safest way we know how to, without government nanny devices restricting our productivity and means of earning while forcing us into potentially dangerous situations and driving habits.”

OOIDA also is against ending the pre-2000 exemption.

“Modifying this provision would be pulling out the rug from drivers who have maintained older vehicles or have invested in glider kits,” said Jay Grimes, OOIDA’s director of federal affairs. “Unless FMCSA wants to repeal the costly and unnecessary ELD mandate altogether, they should not change the pre-2000 engine rules.”

ELD certification

The agency wants input on whether or not the agency should establish a certification process for ELDs. The current process enables ELD companies to self-certify.

“If a certification process is established, how should existing devices be treated?” FMCSA wrote.

Many truckers want self-certification to end.

“The agency should not only establish a certification process for ELDs, shame on you for not having them to begin with,” Thomas Oswald wrote. “Self-certify is a joke. This is a money-grabbing thing for companies to invest in.”

How to comment

Truckers still have plenty of time to weigh in on all of the possible revisions to the ELD rules. The deadline to comment is Nov. 15. 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.