TCA and our for-hire carrier members have repeatedly affirmed our support for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. Unfortunately, others in the trucking industry continue to seek exemptions to avoid complying with the rule.
The most recent example of this comes from the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC). The group filed its initial exemption request with FMCSA back in early 2018, asking that companies with fewer than 50 trucks be exempted from the ELD mandate. The public was given the opportunity to file comments, and after review, FMCSA denied the SBTC request. Their primary basis for doing so was because the petition did not demonstrate that an equivalent or greater level of safety would be achieved through granting the exemption.
Now, FMCSA has just closed out another round of public comments on yet another iteration of the SBTC exemption request. After FMCSA denied the first request, SBTC resubmitted it to the Agency in an attempt to resolve the issues noted with the initial petition. TCA filed comments in opposition to the first petition and we have also filed comments on round two.
TCA maintains that only through strict adherence to the ELD mandate can FMCSA ensure compliance with the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations and mitigate any potential for cheating, which was rampant in the era of paper logbooks. Contrary to popular belief, the ELD mandate itself was never intended to improve safety. It can’t – the ELDs are just little technology-filled boxes inside trucks which do not have any impact on the actual safety performance of the driver. Rather, compliance with the ELD mandate removes the potential for drivers who are in violation of HOS to continue posing a threat to the motoring public, thereby improving safety. Also, the data generated by ELDs is helping to justify much-needed changes to the HOS regulations, further contributing to safety advancements.
TCA will continue to fight against exemptions to the ELD mandate. Each and every carrier, regardless of size, must play by the same rules in the name of safety. When the ELD mandate comes into full effect later this month, we are confident that the data will prove this mandate is a meaningful step in the right direction.