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  • DATVF.VNU
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  • DATVF.VSU
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  • DATVF.VWU
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  • ITVI.USA
    12,193.510
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  • OTRI.USA
    19.070
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  • OTVI.USA
    12,187.120
    -17.950
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  • TLT.USA
    2.680
    0.000
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  • WAIT.USA
    159.000
    19.000
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    2.026
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  • DATVF.CHIATL
    1.929
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  • DATVF.DALLAX
    1.332
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  • DATVF.LAXDAL
    1.321
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  • DATVF.SEALAX
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  • DATVF.PHLCHI
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  • DATVF.LAXSEA
    2.159
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  • DATVF.VEU
    1.717
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  • DATVF.VNU
    1.536
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  • DATVF.VSU
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  • DATVF.VWU
    1.563
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  • ITVI.USA
    12,193.510
    -16.270
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  • OTRI.USA
    19.070
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  • OTVI.USA
    12,187.120
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Driver issuesNewsTrucking Regulation

FMCSA denies ELD exemption to small trucking companies – again (with video)

A group representing trucking and other companies with 50 employees or less has been denied an exemption from the federal electronic logging device (ELD) mandate.

The exemption, filed by the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC), received nearly 2,000 comments after it was posted in June 2018, with the vast majority – roughly 95 percent – in favor of the exemption.

However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) asserted that SBTC’s application failed to provide evidence that safety would not be compromised under the exemption.

SBTC, which claims to have a membership of over 12,000 individuals and groups, did not “explain how you would ensure that you could achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained by complying with the regulation,” according to the FMCSA’s decision, scheduled to be posted on July 17.

SBTC also did not meet the statutory requirement to describe “the specific countermeasures the person would undertake to ensure an equivalent or greater level of safety than would be achieved absent the requested exemption,” FMCSA stated. “SBTC proposed no countermeasures at all.”

In its application, SBTC asserted that ELDs, which were required to be installed and in use starting on April 1, 2018, are tools used to determine compliance with existing hours-of-service regulations, and that the ELD mandate itself is not a safety regulation per se.

“Therefore, it is our position that this rule does not itself impact safety, and that the level of safety will not change based on whether or not our exemption application is approved. That would require a change to the [hours-of-service rules],” SBTC contended. The exemption would have allowed motor carriers with fewer than 50 employees to maintain their current practices that have resulted in a proven safety record.

Because smaller trucking companies would continue to track their hours of service through paper logs, and that this method has been sufficient since the 1930s, SBTC argued, “we believe the level of safety is already assured by the pre-existing Hours of Service rule as opposed to this ELD enforcement mechanism rule.”

Officials from the Washington, D.C.-based coalition were not available to comment.

A similar ELD exemption request filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) was denied by FMCSA in July 2018. OOIDA’s request was for five years and would have covered small businesses as defined by the Small Business Administration, which are those having average annual revenue of $27.5 million or less.

Most of the support for SBTC’s application came from smaller independent operators, while safety groups and those representing larger trucking companies generally opposed the request.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA), for example, disagreed with SBTC’s assertion that the ELD mandate did not itself constitute a safety regulation, because granting an exemption would allow fleets with 50 or fewer employees to use paper logs to record their on-duty time.

“This would allow for the potential of falsification of records of duty status (RODS) while leaving no controls in place for enforcement,” ATA argued in its comments. “The technical specifications and requirements of ELDs ensure the accuracy of a drivers’ RODS, and reduce the likelihood that a driver is operating beyond the federally established limits.”

Carriers using automatic onboarding recording devices (AOBRDs) were grandfathered in when the “soft” ELD mandate went into effect in December 2017, and were given until December 16, 2019, to comply. However, the latest weekly survey conducted by FreightWaves and EROAD, released on July 15, found that 23 percent of fleets with one to five trucks have yet to make the switch.

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John Gallagher, Washington Correspondent

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.

81 Comments

  1. I am refusing to comply and starting a movement to get all truck drivers to do the same since nobody else is taking on these beaurocrats and corporate whores. They cannot fire us because they absolutely need us! It’s up to us truckers to stop this tyranny and abuse of us truckers. Who do they think they’re dealing with? Contact me and we’ll put an end to the ELD foolishness.

  2. I’ve been driving trucks since 1977, I ran my butt off, 800 to 1000 miles a day, from 14 to 20 hours a day, one thing I Love in trucking is the ELD’s, now I drive anywhere from 300 to 770 miles a day and no more than 11 hours a day!
    I think anyone who operates a commercial vehicle should have a ELD in their vehicle, because the trucking companies can’t make you run illegal any longer!
    I still make a great check every payday!

    So deal with the new era of trucking, because it’s here to stay!

    1. Its Completely Unsafe & Now You Have MORE Gov. Where They Dont BELONG & Have No Idea What Its Like Out There On The Road – Its Utter BULLSHIT- If You Don’t Have Balls Enough To STAY Compliant On Pper Logs w/ Alil Give w/ Your Employer/Boss Then Get Off The Road or Switch Company’s- THIS WHOLE ELD IS FUCKING JUNK-

  3. So far we have seen an increase in trucking companies shutting down in ,2019. Some of which (especially in California) are due to not being able to cover the rising costs of mandated truck upgrades, increase in fuel costs and lower freight pays. Therefore we have less trucks making deliveries. Have they not thought about the reprocitions? No trucks means no food, fuel, clothes, home items,etc….being delivered. Trains can only go so far. So are they ready to start forking bailout money to keep these companies going? They bailed out the automotive industry, which delivers cars/trucks by semi. Keep keep putting restrictions on trucks and see how quickly the United States turns into a third world country because we can’t have an economy without trucks.

  4. I have not seen any reports or documentation that the ELD’s have made the roads any safer. I seriously doubt that it has. This is just another form of government interference trying to get rid of owner operators and small trucking companies. It’s easier for government to control several big companies then thousands of owner operators and hundreds of smaller trucking companies. With the help of the ATA and the lying MEGA CARRIER’S they are going to try to achieve this.

  5. Why doesn’t fmca explain how putting 18 year olds behind the wheel of an 80000 lb truck, does not compromise safety on the roadway. Furthermore, allowing autonomous semi trucks on the road. White speak with forked tongue.

    1. FMCSA won’t do that because the ATA told them they can’t. The ATA members need those 18 year olds to drive their trucks because they can’t find any more dummies over 21 that will do it. And since they are “self insured” they can afford it. If I even wanted to (which I don’t) put my 20 and 18 yr olds on the road, I wouldn’t be able to afford the insurance. For the mega carriers it doesn’t cost them a dime more. If they are going to be self in sured then that money should be locked up to where they can’t use it to operate also. Shoot if I could set aside the 30k I spend in insurance and use it for day to day operations that would be awesome because next year I would have another 30k and before long I could buy a bunch of trucks and just keep growing. Oh wait!! No I don’t want that! But the point is that is what they are doing while we actually do pay out they are not which is a huge disadvantage for the small guy. That’s why we need $2+/mile to survive and if they get a $1 they are fine with that. They don’t have to pay the driver much of it and they pre buy their fuel at deep discounted pricing and pay no insurance. Not to mention get wholesale pricing on trucks, trailers, tires and on and on. And honestly I am OK with that but don’t over regulate me and try to make me be like them.

  6. The eld mandate is a dangerous tool causes drivers to take chances they normally wouldn’t. drive faster than they would in bad weather conditions. Push push push. ding and the race is on. Racetrack trucking. fighting the clock all day long but all that aside fact is it doesn’t promote any real safety just the opposite. but it should be a choice not the government forcing citizens to purchase a product and service. It’s all about money and control. somthing I’d like to see. An accurate number on were all of our road use tax money goes including fuel license fees and fines. Also how fmcsa and Congress can allow mega carriers to be self insured. When its been documented it allows them to do business at a lesser cost. also grants for training when they do such a piss poor job of training all this money the mega carriers get is our tax dollars so they’re using our money to run us out of business. That’s not free market system that’s our government picking winners and losers and as for accidents properly trained and paid drivers and training for general public how to operate around semi trucks rules of the road and personal responsibility is the only way to reduce accidents on our roadways

  7. Gotta love how business has to prove safety will not be impacted, when there is ample evidence ELD’s have not done anything to increase safety or decrease accidents.

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