Driver issuesNewsRegulation

An angry OOIDA official expresses his frustration at the FMCSA ELD exemption denial

  Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

All of the frustration at OOIDA after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration denied its request for an ELD exemption came pouring out of Doug Morris Thursday an interview on Sirius XM Road Dog Trucking.

Morris is the Director of Safety and Security Operations for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. He was interviewed about the FMCSA denial by Mark Reddig on LandLine Now, a show that is owned by OOIDA, like its namesake magazine.

The interview took place just a few days after the FMCSA denial of an OOIDA request that any companies that meet the Small Business Administration definition of small business be exempted from the ELD mandate. (While there have been comments that the definition is revenue of no more than $27.5 million, this link from the SBA itself notes that the definitions can be fluid.). The exemption request was filed in late November, and sought a five-year exemption from the rule.

Here are excerpts of his comments, verbatim except for minor changes for clarity, with FreightWaves observations in italics:

–We worked on this a long time. We already had litigation out there. We had folks working on the Hill trying to get legislation through, and it seemed like everything had kind of come to a stop. We decided, well, let’s try to file an exemption request. We had been working on it for some time actually. We decided that we would go for the SBA’s definition of small business.

–We submitted the request. The letter (denying the request) was signed June 16 from the administrator (Raymond Martinez), denying your request for small business carriers. If you look, June 16 is actually a Saturday, but we didn’t receive a letter until Monday or Tuesday of this past week. It’s kind of strange and we talked to the FMCSA folks, and they say it’s not unusual for the administrator to come in and work on a Saturday because they are so far behind. I know one of the folks over there said he already had received over 400 emails in regard to this. So obviously they are very busy over there.

–Quite honestly I don’t think they really want any exemption requests from the ELD mandate. They are lock, stock and barrel behind this thing. They have been spoon-fed for years from the (American Trucking Associations) and mega carriers and Congressional staff who work with the ATA lobbyists. They’ve been spoon-fed information they think the ELD mandate is the silver bullet to save 26 lives (a reference to an earlier cost-benefit analysis by FMCSA on the number of lives the ELD mandate will save because of presumed less fatigue and higher safety.)

(Referring to an earlier five-year ELD exemption granted to the Motion Picture Association of America): I think the MPAA filed theirs right at the right time and they had the right folks to get it done. We tried our best. We had lobbyists and attorneys but the MPAA can really make FMCSA and the DOT look really bad if they want to. It is a small group and it goes before a panel and they decided, let’s just give this an exemption. For what reason, I don’t know.

–Because there have been other small groups out there who have been denied. They’re saying, “you can’t prove that this is going to be safer by granting this exemption request and how can you prove that?” You just can’t.

–But they speak in double tongues. We talk the way it is.  Our board is (made up of) members who have been truck drivers with 750 years of driving experience. Look to see the other associations. How many years of driving experience do they have? How many small business carriers are on their board?

–We are trying this and that. I have got a little assignment for people out there. (He then instructs people on how to reach this link, which takes you to a more than 500-page bundle of documents relating to the ELD rule). Go through there and read it. If you don’t feel like reading the whole thing, just go (search for OOIDA) and see what we did. This thing has been going on since the 1980’s.

Talking about other trucking associations, with the American Trucking Associations called out specifically: Their comments are kind of inflammatory. They say they didn’t care about drivers’ rights, they wanted to monitor that truck. See who is actually out there who is working for you and who is working against you.

–If they (an apparent reference to other association members) really knew the whole truth about what was being told to most of the Congressional staffers, they wouldn’t even support most of the associations.

Asked for comment from FreightWaves, the ATA issued the following statement: “ATA is pleased that FMCSA has once again rejected an attempt to delay or subvert this important safety regulation. The specious arguments of ELD opponents have now been soundly rejected by the agency, by Congress and the courts and we hope that we can now move on the next phase of this issue: ensuring compliance with the ELD requirement and exploring common sense changes to the underlying hours-of-service rules.”

Show More

John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.


  1. Regarding the statement: "We had been working on it for some time actually."

    The SBTC first submitted its ELD exemption application to FMCSA on November 20, 2017 and announced same to the public.

    OOIDA magically submitted theirs the very next day. Frankly, we don’t believe they were working on theirs prior to November 20, 2017 one bit. It appears they threw what they could at the wall in haste to see if it would stick. It did not.

  2. We are losing are economical rights and freedom!! No ELD!! Just as soon let the Government drive your truck. I call it a shake down they use safety as a excuse but in reality to most of our regulations we have to deal with it’s all about revenue . Shake down the workingman . I don’t know any other business that’s has to feel their business threaten on a daily basis like we have to put up with . .We are always getting pulled over getting fined ,and points against us for the smallest stupidest thing ever that could be debated if it is or isn’t proper and absolutely has nothing to do with safety . Why I ask why they can’t keep things simple and that makes sense and that’s fair . Like If the truck has good brakes, tires ,and the turn signals brake lights work let the truck go and anything else should be a warning to fix And don’t pull me on side the road putting my life in danger And others to do that either …..

    1. What do you expect… this mandate is a corruption filled p.o.s by a corrupt congress and corrupt fmcsa who are both paid very well by the ultra corrupt A.T.A!!!

  3. I don’t care who filed first . Stop nitpicking each other and get the job done. The ATA is for the big carriers they don’t give a damn about the little guy. Work together!!!!!! If it gets done i don’t care who gets the credit.

  4. It looks like two are against each other, ATA and OOIDA.

    Which has the larger membership? Seems ATA is more politically connected…

    This article leaves me with more questions…

  5. The last part of the article literally says:
    "we can now move on … and exploring common sense changes to the underlying hours-of-service rules.”
    So it took "highly professional and knowledgeable in the trucking lawmakers, attorneys, insurances, investors 15 years to start to consider some "common sense" HOS changes ?
    Whatever do you like more.
    The O/Os live loading/unloading everage time is 6-8 hours against big carriers 15 min drop&hooks and the big carriers 15 min driver out of hours repower.
    The better fuel, insurance, repair, equipment prices deals for the big carriers in comparison to the smaller fleets and O/Os.
    When brokers sale the loads to the small carriers and O/O’s on the auction bid basis, the big carriers are the biggest brokers by themselves.
    The bigger carriers have more flexible time potential and can easily comply with practically any convinient for DOT’s inspections HOS regulations.
    When in the O/O’s and the small fleets case with all adversary factors as weather, traffic, detentions they (O/O’s and the small fleets) kept as a hostages to the 70-34-14-11 HOS regulations.
    Or the 70-34-14-11 HOS regulations kept as a gun at the
    O/O’s and the small fleet’s temple.
    Whatever do you like more.

  6. How many people are going to be seriously hurt or killed, to save those 26 lives. Drivers are pushing harder and harder to beat the clock. It’s going to take alot of people getting killed before anything will be done. I drive more tired and a little faster, because of the elds. I don’t have a choice.
    As i see it we, the drivers, are being forced to violate the 4th and 5th amendments. And lets not forget the 28th. Where is our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness that we are entitled too? We are being regulated right out of what we love doing. When the trucks stop, so does the nation.

  7. We r treated like prisoner n our own trucks when was it Constitution say that the government can tell someone what to do with something that they paid for they want to talk about safety n its worst now than it was because people are chasing a clock it’s a polical bullshit

  8. This is not freedom in this country ..FMCSA why would you put us hard working truck drivers under so much pressure by forcing us to hammer down on the fuel Pedal just to make it to a place before or time run out. This has nothing to do with safety" what you guys created is a dangerous situation for the driver and the people around.

  9. U said it right they have idea about small businesses and Truck driving.. if someone does research I’m sure there have been more deaths and more tickets giving out during the ELD stupid situation then on paper.. Dealing with a bunch of fuck nuts.. There’s money being exchanged behind the seince from theses big trucking companies so we small business owner will disappear all we have to do is shut trucks down for a couple of days and hand the sufferings down to the American people and tell the story to them and why we shut down and let them bitch and raise hell because there not getting what they need to survive and then maybe these nut jobs will listen.. T-bone over n out!!

  10. These Elds have nothing what so ever to do with safety!!! they are all bout money an politics!! They force you to drive when ur tired…. Those people in white house have no clue what it’s like out here or what we go thru as drivers.

  11. So it’s all true. The ATA was behind this all along. So sad.. Traitors to the industry, you should be ashamed of yourselves, ATA.

  12. I myself don’t see making drivers drive when traffic is bad as safe.Nor do I see driving when you need a nap just because a box say you have to go sometime a brake make you safe .And farmers has crops to get out and the 14hr rules don’t work so farmers are losing their crops.

  13. The Only to to fight this is by Shutting Down for 5 or more days. All grocery warehouses are on JIT Delivery. Just In Time, a 3 day supply of FOOD. The shut down has to be for more than 3 days. August would be the next best time for one. Christmas is shipped starting in August. Please stand up and Fight for Your Freedom.

  14. The big problem I have is the 14 hour.I don’t think that when you take your 30 min break it should come out of your 14 hour time your not doing anything related to work that’s your time. Let’s say you get to a pick up 2 hours early you go off duty while you wait that comes out of your 14 hour time to then loading or unloading once your docked you have nothing to do but sit and wait and most drivers sleep during that time so why should my 14 hour clock keep running don’t think it is fair to take time from my work day any other company that takes a lunch break or 30 min or an hour they have to clock out then back in and if they work 12 hour shifts that means they are there 12 and a half to 13 hours and millions of people do it every day. Just don’t think my 14 hour clock should keep running during my mandatory 30 min break or during loading or unloading if I’m not doing anything that has to do with work except waiting that’s my time

  15. I for one own my own business with one truck. I myself have been on a eld system of one type or the other since 2013 I have no problem whatsoever with the eld or the 11,14 or 70 hour rule but I know that I don’t run cheap. It cost money to run a truck and I make damn sure I make a profit or I won’t turn that key. In fact the last 8 days I resat my hos 3 times and only ran 1328 miles all away from the house. It’s up to you the driver to either be a slave to these greedy sob or to wise up and say no to cheap paying loads.
    I stopped being a Ooida member when they wanted to rise my truck insurance just because I wasn’t with Dart ( a mega O/o lease/op company) any longer that’s when I knew Ooida was just like the AtA and didn’t give a rats as* about the small guy as they always claimed and withdrew my membership with them. No one cares about the small business person so you gotta care enough to makes sure you get what your worth or just sit that load will pay sooner or later you just got to wait and be patient.
    I turned down a load paying about) 1.58 a mile which is ok I guess for some but I wanted more a hour later a load popped up paying $2.55 a mile with the dead head included which I had to wait till Monday to load it which is fine with me I don’t mind being lazy & sitting resetting my hours for more money. WORK SMARTER NOT HARDER we work hard enough already so relax enjoy life & refuse that cheap freight ( only applies to the o/o that gets on the load boards or paid by percentage it doesn’t apply to the ones that’s being ripped off by the mileage pay- which I don’t see why anyone in their right mind would work by the mile)