OOIDA request for a small business ELD exemption gets thumbs down by FMCSA


An OOIDA request for an exemption from the ELD rule for small carriers–by definition just about the entire OOIDA membership–has been denied by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

OOIDA—the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association–said Tuesday in a prepared statement that the request, first submitted in late November, had been denied.  The notice from FMCSA, dated July 2, was not immediately available.

The request for the exemption was for five years and would have covered small businesses as defined by the Small Business Administration. In the November 21 petition to FMCSA, the exemption request was for drivers that would meet the small business definition, who didn’t have a carrier rating of “unsatisfactory,” and could “document a proven history of safety performance with no attributable at-fault crashes.”

In the original petition, the lack of certification of many ELD devices was raised as a significant issue by OOIDA. It still is an issue, according to the organization. “Most small-business motor carriers can ill afford to make these purchases only to learn later that the ELD is non-complaint,” OOIDA executive vice president Todd Spencer said in the statement. Giving a five-year exemption would allow that certification process to be completed, OOIDA said.

OOIDA also said in essence that the agency was not consistent. “For months, the FMCSA has been granting exemptions to other organizations, some not even actually in trucking, but relying on trucks for their business,” Spencer said.

FMCSA has granted five-year exemptions; the Motion Picture Association of America received one earlier this year. More significant exemptions have been shorter term, like the 90-day exemption–now completed–for haulers of agricultural products, and an exemption for livestock haulers that goes to the end of the federal fiscal year on September 30.

According to the original OOIDA petition, the federal Small Business Administration defines a small transportation business as having average annual revenue of $27.5 million or less. “For the majority of owner-operators and independent drivers, that figure is significantly less,” OOIDA said in its petition.

A competing group for the attention of independent owner/operators, the Small Business in Transportation Coalition, jumped on the OOIDA denial and said drivers should now get behind SBTC’s own efforts on an ELD exemption. The period for comments on the SBTC request closes July 5.

That ELD exemption asks for relief for “small private, common and contract motor carriers with fewer than 50 employees,” according to the comments page set up on the site.

The SBTC petition says the “ELD rule is not a ‘safety regulation’ per se as the FMCSA has concluded. Rather it is a mechanism intended to enforce a safety regulation by regulating the manner in which a driver records and communicates his compliance.”

In a LinkedIn post published by SBTC President James Lamb, he rips the OOIDA approach in its exemption request. His argument is that by requiring the exemption under the OOIDA approach to be based in part on safety record, it would have put too much pressure on the inspector in the field. But if the exemption is tied to mere size, an inspector can easily determine if a truck that has been pulled over is from a company that fits under the 50-employees-or-less guideline sought by SBTC.

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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.

One Comment

  1. I hope carma comes back on fmcsa these hos are causing to much stress on o/o.where is the freedom to run our buisiness

  2. Until any of the challenges and/or requests are granted, the ELD mandate is the law of the land. Some can continue to fight it as it is their right to do so while at the same time trying to minimize the cost by taking advantage of some discounts that carriers such as Progressive are offering. Thank you for listening/reading.

  3. In Russia, Vladimir Putin is former Colonel of the KGB, and he is ruled as a king and God of Russia. I am HAPPY I am in USA. I was born in Soviet Union in 1967 and I have terrible experience to live there. That ELD control by FMCSA will bring United States to second Soviet Union. AMERICA IS FREEDOM COUNTRY!!!
    United States

  4. The ELD is only designed to make enforcement personals job easier and in return it has made all the men and women in the trucking industries jobs a lot harder and more stressful. The small group of enforcement personal does not even come close to the over shadow of the personal stress and anger that has affected us as drivers because we are unable to work our job in a practical and efficient way as possible in a constantly changing twisting and turning industry which we all have our hands tied so enforcement personals live will be easier and less stress on them. Why don’t the FMCSA come up with a better training for there personal instead of putting a tracking device in every truck so they can steal hard working trucker and trucking company’s blind every day. The ELD does not explain why the violation accrued just that it did. It could be like in the past with the paper logs that we just need a extra 15 minutes to get the job done any person with any intelligence would use that 15 minutes get to there delivery point specially if it means they also get to go home to there family. The ELD is a Government money grab and our fine Government joke don’t give a sh* t about the the American people any more or the truckers that help make this country run smooth everyday. Congress just proved that again when there excuse was it would be to hard on the enforcement personal and again I say what about the truckers and how hard it is for us to navigate the ELD BS. Government employee first and screw every hard working American in every industry. Congress sucks ass ever since they put in the ELD we need a lie detector device on every person in Congress so we can track every lying thing that comes out of there mouth see how stressful there life becomes. The part of the story about they need to study to see if truckers are leaving the industry because of the ELD. I can save you a lot of effort they are and there are a lot more that are trying to get there affairs in order so they can leave unless something rappedly changes. I bet by the time you do your study the industry will loose another 10,000 drivers and your not going to get that many people lining up wanting to be a truckers. It takes a certain kind of person and we all know the young people now days are not those kind of people. So keep running all the good drivers off see were the country is at after your special study. Maybe you can get your special enforcement personal to learn to drive truck being they like the ELD so much and it makes there lives so much easier. To replace the real good drivers that hate them just remember you will need double the drivers to do the work of the drivers you have now that are leaving the industry now. Congress will never admit there wrong no matter how bad the country gets over the ELD Mandate. Good luck America the rising of goods and services is only going to get worse unless something changes and only a few people in Congress understand that and there looked at as black sheep of the group so Good Luck

  5. All the O/O’s and small fleet companies have to be organized and centralized before they regulate us till death. With small membership fee. Then, if our organization say – strike, than it would be 1,000,000 truck strike and not sorry 22 trucks somewhat year ago in Washington. 1 day. 2 days. Week. It doesn’t matter. Let a big companies deliver in new Jersey and new York rat wholes, one dock in the grass receivers. They are not. They deliver in a big walmart lots, becose their 3 month drivers will going to destroy or the rat whole receiver dock or the equipment. Our organization should be rich enough to afford to hire the group of constitutional attorneys from ACLU to not to negotiate (sorry OOIDA, you prove to be worthless, when ATA can continue to side with the mega carriers) but sue the government for unconstitutional, discriminatory and illegal HOS regulations.

  6. Now’s the time, while there’s a shortage & pay increases, for truckers to unite & protest the laws that affect our livelihood. A 30 min brk is a joke & who needs it unless for bathroom breaks. Parking is a joke when states continue to close rest areas or you run after dark. Companies governing Trks @ 62-67 when the speed limit 70 & school buses are blowing your doors off. This only causes clusters of companies trucks until you play leap frog up-( heavier fly down & lighter fly up). New Trks with bells/whistles that alarm if your too close, if someone’s in your blind spot, hard braking event, and the Trks automatically bow up & jab the brakes when some DA can’t merge in the flow of traffic at the speed limit! Here’s a tip for all the (4 wheelers) cars– when you merge in to the flow of traffic, most of us are already doing the speed limit, it’s easier & safer for you to gun it a little bit to merge ahead of us than for us to get rear ended because you cause us to stop in the flow of traffic. PS- worst mistake auto mfgr’s made– day running lights– these idiots don’t know they don’t have any tail lights because DRL’s are for incoming traffic only!! So when you’re run over from behind, you should’ve had your headlights on, NOT DRL’s!!! ?????⬇️