Truckers ask agency to end ELD mandate

November 8, 2022

Mark Schremmer

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration wants feedback from truckers about how it can improve the ELD mandate. In response, hundreds of truck drivers have told the agency the biggest improvement would be to remove the mandate altogether.

Many point to the statistics. Full enforcement of the electronic logging device mandate began in 2018. Since 2017, fatality crashes have risen by 14.5%.

“Mandating ELDs in the first place was supposed to improve safety,” Jon Miller wrote. “But it did the opposite. So why is the whole ELD mandate not just scrapped? It was never about safety.”

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.

“For starters, there has been no statistical evidence to prove truck drivers are safer with an ELD than without,” Nicholas McCabe wrote. “ELDs have caused more havoc in the industry than any other rule or regulation.

In September, FMCSA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding possible changes to the ELD regulations.

The agency wants feedback on 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 public has through Nov. 15 to comment on the notice. As of Nov. 7, the agency had received 962 comments.

ELD mandate for pre-2000 engines

The current mandate does not require trucks with pre-2000 engines to use an ELD. The agency wants to know if that exemption should be reviewed.

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

Many of the comments were from truck drivers urging the agency to keep the exemption for older trucks.

“Why are you even considering this now?” Gary Scott wrote. “Are there that many ELD-exempt trucks that are causing a serious safety hazard? Or are you simply overreaching into small business? Most of the ELD-exempt truck owners are experienced drivers with a long safety record. They don’t need the government trying to micro-manage them, and they don’t want to race a computer clock to perform the same task that they have been doing safely without an ELD.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposes any attempts to remove the pre-2000 exemption.

“It’s clear the ELD mandate has not been the silver-bullet solution for improving highway safety that federal regulators and other supporters claimed it would be,” said Jay Grimes, OOIDA’s director of federal affairs. 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.