SikhsPAC ELD exemption request opens for public comment

January 25, 2018

Greg Grisolano


Another exemption request from the mandate requiring drivers to use electronic logs to monitor their hours of service is slated to open for public comment.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that it will accept the public’s input on an ELD exemption request for drivers who are members of the SikhsPAC and the North American Punjabiz Trucker Association to be exempt from the mandate. The exemption applies to members who haul fresh produce and have small trucking businesses.

SikhsPAC is a political action committee representing American Sikhs.

The comment period will close 30 days after notice is published in the Federal Register. The agency is expected to post the notice on Friday.

Last November, Sikh truckers joined a growing list of industry groups filing for exemptions from the ELD mandate. In a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, the groups asked for a one-year delay on enforcement, in addition to a waiver and exemption.

“We would be pleased if FMCSA decided that this exemption applied to all truckers,” SikhsPAC representative Linda Chezem said in a phone interview on Thursday. “We like the idea of fairness and equal treatment for all.”

FMCSA’s notice acknowledges the other requests made by the groups, and states that those issues are being addressed through a separate process.

Among the concerns raised by the groups in their letter are a lack of available ELD devices on the market which are able to factor in existing hours of service exemptions used by produce haulers, and questions of reliability of certain app-based ELDs to properly function in rural areas with limited or no broadband internet connectivity.

“The current ELD retail marketplace does not accommodate the needs of our impacted industry segment,” the group stated in its petition. “The devices are not able to factor in existing HOS exemptions currently being utilized by fresh produce haulers and the SikhsPAC small truckers who are members of the other impacted industry sectors.”

The petition also raises issue with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s decision to let ELD device manufacturers self-certify compliance with the mandate, and whether or not devices would be fully functional in rural areas that lack broadband internet.