Independent drivers request ELD rule exception

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) recently filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for a 5-year exception to the Congressionally-mandated electronic-logging device (ELD) rule.

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OOIDA has more than 160,000 members who operate more than 240,000 individual heavy-duty trucks.

OOIDA requested the exception for motor carriers classified as small businesses by the Small Business Administration. The carriers also must have no at-fault crashes and must not have a Carrier Safety Rating of “Unsatisfactory.”

“Small-business truckers that have already proven their ability to operate safely should not be subject to purchasing costly, unproven and uncertified devices,” Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice president, said.

ELDs are used to track driving and non-driving activities. They do not track hours of service, so OOIDA said they are no more reliable than paper logbooks.

OOIDA’s biggest concern is the negative economic impact of purchasing ELDs. It is estimated the mandate will cost the trucking industry $2 billion to implement.

FMCSA has said it does not know if the 193 ELDs listed on its website comply with regulatory requirements, and none have been tested by unbiased third parties.

OOIDA is also concerned about cybersecurity and said ELDs can be compromised.

A five-year exception would allow the FMCSA enough time to evaluate ELDs.