Two more ELD exemption requests open for comments

January 11, 2018

Greg Grisolano


An association representing American towing companies and a motor carrier that hauls anhydrous ammonia have become the latest to file for exemptions from the electronic logging device mandate.

Both the Towing and Recovery Association of America – a Washington, D.C.-based group representing towing companies – and STC Inc., a propane and anhydrous ammonia hauler, requested five-year exemptions from the mandate. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is inviting public comment on the requests. The deadline for comments is Feb. 9.

According to its exemption request, TRAA represents about 35,000 towing operations. The group says the ELD rule “creates confusing and burdensome scenarios” of overlapping and conflicting regulations on tow truck operators.

The request states that tow truck operators often switch between interstate and intrastate regulations several times per day and between commercial and noncommercial vehicles throughout their shift. Requiring ELDs would create an “undue burden” and reduce tow truck operators’ abilities to respond to customers and the motoring public, the request states.

While tow truck operators usually fall under the scope of the short-haul exemption for hours of service, occasionally drivers are called on to provide services that would require them to complete a record of duty status.

STC Inc. is a fleet of up to 75 commercial vehicles, hauling propane and anhydrous ammonia seasonally. The company is requesting an exemption to the mandate, arguing that ELDs create an undue financial burden on its business, because its trucks do not operate year-round.

At least 16 other exemption requests have been filed by various segments of the trucking industry. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has a pending exemption request for all small-business owner-operators who have a proven safety record and no at-fault crashes.

Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s director of government affairs, said the latest exemption requests continue to underscore the problems with having a one-size-fits-all mandate for an industry as diverse as trucking.

“It’s not surprising that TRAA requested an exemption because the ELD mandate definitely impacts their members,” Matousek said. “But we’re still scratching our heads regarding TRAA’s decision to completely avoid participating in a coalition of 30-plus organizations last year that was fighting to delay the mandate.”