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5-Year Exemption Would 'Gut’ ELD Rule, Truck Safety Groups Say

February 01, 2018, by David Cullen

The Trucking Alliance, which consists of motor carrier members, contends that granting a 5-year exemption to smaller carriers would 'gut' the ELD rule. Photo: Knight Transportation
The Trucking Alliance, which consists of motor carrier members, contends that granting a 5-year exemption to smaller carriers would 'gut' the ELD rule. Photo: Knight Transportation

Is there such a thing as granting too big an exemption to the electronic logging rule? That’s the gist of joint comments submitted to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration by a safety advocacy group composed of motor carriers and a highway-safety lobby.

The joint comments pertain to a request filed with the agency back in November by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association for a five-year exemption to the electronic-logging device rule for motor carriers “considered to be a small transportation trucking business.”

OOIDA’s request “would gut the long-settled electronic logging device rule by allowing nearly all trucking companies to delay compliance,” said the Alliance for Driver Safety and Security (aka the Trucking Alliance) and the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (“Advocates”) in a Feb. 1 press release.

Their statement goes on to characterize OOIDA’s request as “a transparent attempt to bypass Congress and the courts by regurgitating discredited arguments which seek to advance special interests at the expense of road safety for all motorists.” 

While the five-year exemption request was filed over two months ago, it is but one of several exemptions either issued by FMCSA or requested of the agency since the ELD mandate kicked in on Dec. 18. For example, just two days before word of these joint comments was released, the agency said it is considering a request by one motor carrier for a one-year exemption from electronic logging rules as having been made “on behalf of all motor carriers in similar situations…”

Click here for our story on exemptions tied to PeopleNet AOBRD issue

According to the OOIDA request, filed with FMCSA on Nov. 21, the self-certification of ELD vendors is discussed as a key issue for OOIDA: “FMCSA has stated that they do not know if the self-certified ELDs listed on their website fulfill regulatory requirements in the mandate. At present, none of the 193 devices listed have been validated by the agency or any unbiased, third-party testing program.”

It is OOIDA’s contention that a five-year exemption would provide “necessary time for ELD manufacturers to be fully vetted by the agency, which would alleviate small-business motor carriers from learning that they purchased a device that could damage their vehicle’s electronic control module or be hacked.”  

Is the Rule a Matter of Settled Law?

Nonetheless, the Trucking Alliance and the Advocates essentially argue that the ELD rule is settled law: “In addition to being mandated by Congress as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) the rule was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 2016. It also has the support of law enforcement, public health and safety groups, truck drivers, and trucking companies.”

The two groups also hold that ELDs are “a proven technological fix to the rampant problem of falsified paper log books, also known as ‘comic books’ in the trucking industry because of how easily they can be manipulated and falsified… [and] are a known remedy for the well-documented public safety hazard of driver fatigue.” 

Advocates and the Trucking Alliance went on to state they have been “strong, early supporters” of the ELD rule and that “OOIDA’s exemption application, as well as the seven others submitted to the FMCSA, are largely based on debunked claims that have been previously rejected during the legislative and rulemaking processes.” 

One Rule for Every Truck?

“When it comes down to whether this or that segment of the trucking industry should abide by rules that can reduce large truck crashes, the government should have one standard and that is ‘a truck is a truck is a truck,’” said Lane Kidd, managing director of the Trucking Alliance.

“We shouldn’t allow outliers to skirt public safety regulations,” he continued. “Trucking companies have a moral and ethical responsibility to keep the public’s trust, that they are operating as safely as possible, and ELDs are a huge step in achieving that objective.” 

“Especially with truck crash deaths rising, this minimal, proven, effective technology should be in use in every truck immediately,” said Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. “OOIDA’s exemption request is just a smokescreen that attempts to re-litigate a closed case and undermine the effectiveness of the ELD rule.” 


  1. 1. Scott [ February 01, 2018 @ 06:49PM ]

    No Trucks No Stuff

  2. 2. Carolyn Miller [ February 01, 2018 @ 08:00PM ]

    🛑 #ELD is killing your loved ones & already cost more than 26 lives govn claimed to save! 👀 at megas whos used ELD for yrs! $2 Billion Obama overreach Americans need to know & help put END to Govern CORRUPTION! #eldorme

  3. 3. Dave Wise [ February 02, 2018 @ 03:28AM ]

    Could it be possible that truck crash deaths are rising because of ELD's? drivers being forced to race a 14 hour clock in the name of safety makes absolutely no sense to me. I manage a small private fleet of 9 drivers. Everyone of them tells me they are driving faster and more stressed because the clock is ticking, One minute over the clock is a violation, that is so lacking in common sense it blows my mind that FMCSA can't see it.

  4. 4. Claus Holtrop [ February 02, 2018 @ 03:47AM ]

    It is laughable these special interest groups claim e-logs are about safety. Its about eliminating competition and leveling the field for the mega carrier's, look if the technology work for you great, but don't force the rest of us into your one shoe fits all systems, it doesn't . The one thing it does is make trucks travel at higher speeds trying to get some work done regardless of the conditions, but remember its all about saftey . Just keep repeating that.

  5. 5. Marvin [ February 02, 2018 @ 05:34AM ]

    Could another cause of rising accidents be that experienced drivers are leaving and being replaced by people that can't find their butts unless the computer tells them where it Is? And yet a larger cause being the distracted drivers in smaller vehicles? The definition of "Safety" depends on who benefits financially from it! If several lives are sacrificed for the final outcome of government control then it's no big thing.....right? (History has shown that to be a true fact.) Nonetheless the cancerous government will continue to eat away at everything until (as Lane Kidd says in the article) "everyone is equal".

  6. 6. monroe boyce [ February 02, 2018 @ 07:30AM ]

    as usual the"elephant" is ignored-wait times, both loading and unloading & construction delays, it's about eliminating competition by making it difficult for the independent driver to operate

  7. 7. Randy Worth [ February 02, 2018 @ 08:12AM ]

    A truck is a truck is a truck is correct, a trucking company is a trucking company is a trucking company is not. The one size fits all approach only fits the large over the road carrier so they eliminate backroom log audits. Small carriers have been saddled with an expense that they cant recover and a loss of productivity.

  8. 8. J Stephens [ February 02, 2018 @ 09:22AM ]

    For the folks that have not been paying attention to the electronic log story over the last decade, one of the main reasons that we have an industry wide ELD mandate is because OOIDA took the 2010 AOBRD rule that went after carriers with bad safety records to court and had the rule thrown out in 2012. Now it’s suddenly the safe and prudent thing to only go after the bad actors. A carrier evidently can still be called safe and compliant with a conditional safety rating according to the exemption request. This exemption does not have a thing to do with safety, it’s just a play to keep OOIDA’s membership appeased. The honor system does not work when it pertains to HOS compliance, just look at how many folks lost their profit margin when they couldn’t hide driving hot on their hours that have commented in favor of this special interest cut out / exemption request. When the dust settles the ELD rule will be right there with mandatory drug testing in making this industry safer for everyone involved.

  9. 9. Richard Davis [ February 02, 2018 @ 03:03PM ]

    If these so-called safety groups really wanted safety on the roads, they would advocate for higher freight rates, better driver pay and drivers being paid for everything they do. No more, that's just part of the job, no more free hours at loading docks or anywhere else. Instead, they want to put more restrictions on the driver, make his job more harder, stressful. They seem to think this is a one-size-fits-all industry, which it is not. Where was the " proven effective technology " of ELDs at in NJ? Oh!!!, that's right, it was in the truck, yet it didn't stop the accident. FMCSA, proves this is not for safety with every exemption they hand out. FMCSA, proves this is not a one-size-fits-all industry with every exemption they hand out. Paper logs are in 15 minute increments where ELDs are " EXACT " meaning drivers will be more in a rush ALL the time. Trying to save every precious minute. What happens when people, not just drivers get in a rush? Bad things seem to happen. Drivers may skip things they normally do. Like get out and check their truck/trailer, load, tires, get out and stretch walk around to relax. Drivers will have to drive faster, if possible. No more taking your time, you never know when you may need a few extra precious minutes that day or later in the week. For you people that still don't get it. With paper logs, if you arrive somewhere at say 9:52, you log 9:45 legally. With ELDs, you log 9:52. You lose 7 precious minutes. Every change of duty status, that could or will happen.

  10. 10. Richard Davis [ February 02, 2018 @ 03:25PM ]

    J. Stephens, no other way to put it, your not real bright. Was that nice enough? Your going to blame OOIDA on these ELDs, that shows you intelligence or I should say lack of. You have the same old talking points as other clueless people. That everyone drives illegal with paper logs. You think ELDs will make things safer. The truck in NJ had an ELD from what I have read, didn't make it or the people around it safer. You keep driving your company truck { if you even drive }, let the company tell you when to eat, sleep and everything else you do. Sounds like you are one of those that need to be told, can't think for yourself.

  11. 11. Paul [ February 02, 2018 @ 05:13PM ]

    I’ve been sick and off work since before the eld rule was put in power. I’m recovering and we have been on the road on vacation in our motorhome for the last couple weeks and I’ll tell you right now, drivers are driving faster. In parts of Texas the speed limit is 80 for cars and trucks....I’ve been running 70-75 in my coach and they pass me like I’m tied to a post! There is NO doubt...the trucks are running faster. So could someone please explain to me how speeding up the trucks makes us safer...please!!

  12. 12. Dean Hughson [ February 03, 2018 @ 07:00AM ]

    A truck is a truck is a truck is absurd as a none stop 14 hour clock.

    Let your law makers know your thoughts.

  13. 13. R. Badtke [ February 03, 2018 @ 07:57AM ]

    Once again the mega carriers are trying to brainwash everyone into thinking that ELDs will make our roads safer. A prime example is J. Stephens. Just because some one runs paper logs doesn't mean they run like a wild man and break all the rules. Since the ELD mandate I notice drivers are driving faster and taking more chances. This makes our roads safer? I have been trying 2 different ELDs and neither of them work properly. One of them was affecting my cruise and the other one would even hook to the dash link at times. This is what happens when you let companies self certify. How about if I do my own DOT physical? These CEOs of the big companies say the public will feel safer knowing that everyone has an ELD. Really? Ask someone in the public if they even know what an ELD is.

  14. 14. David Hull [ February 03, 2018 @ 11:54AM ]

    The Dec. 18, 2017 mandate - should have been the enforcement date. Now we have a period of many excuses of most very weak reasons. Bottom line, exemptions should not be made to for groups that feel that just don't need ELD's, and if we/the group have them we will all go broke. Paper logs for the majority of drivers has been a big bonus in "cheating" on the logs and HOS. If exemptions are made for groups as OOIDA, who's members are all safe drivers, who state they should not have to use ELD's, then the level playing field for all drivers would be the removal of all ELD's. The rule has been beat to death. Supreme Court, US Congress, Appellate Courts among the few have ruled. Let's obey the "Rule" and understand that things change.

  15. 15. Richard Davis [ February 03, 2018 @ 12:27PM ]

    David Hull, another company driver that can't do anything without someone telling him when and for how long he should do something. You are like the other mindless and spineless people out there that have the same old talking point " if you don't want ELDs, you must be cheating ". I really doubt the majority of drivers cheated on their paper logs. See, ELDs are exact, meaning if you arrive at a place at 9:52, that is the time logged on your ELD. On paper logs, if you arrive at 9:52, you log 9:45, legally, because that is the only way you could do it because paper logs are in 15 minute increments. You lost 7 minutes with your ELD. That will happen or could happen, every time you stop or have a change of duty. ELDs doesn't make it a level playing field, another tiresome talking point, like they are for safety. The only way to make it a level playing field for a guy with 1 truck compared to a company with 1,000, is to set a minimum freight rate per mile. Don't see where people think ELDs, will make it level.

  16. 16. Craig Clark [ February 03, 2018 @ 12:29PM ]

    I am currently running ELD's in an ungoverned truck. Thank God. I now see why these Large companies in the governed trucks speed in construction zones and school zones. I witness this everyday. The large companies are running these drivers out of their comfort zones and they are the most unsafe drivers on the road. SWIFT for example. That have ELD's and governed trucks yet they are always in crashes. It's the inexperienced poorly trained drivers that are in a hurry being pushed by a dispatcher over an ELD. Yet the Large companies lobby groups have the Money to convince the people that are really idiots about how trucking really needs to be done. And again. Lane Kidd shouldn't be allowed to speak. His opinion shouldn't matter to anyone that doesn't want to be controlled in every aspect of our lives.

  17. 17. Tommy Z. [ February 05, 2018 @ 05:10AM ]

    Swift, FedEx pulling doubles, Prime, on and on...daily they fly by me in construction zones, etc. trying to beat the clock.
    Why don't these congressmen accept the fact that 75% of the issue lies on the shippers and receivers non-existent efforts to get trucks loaded and unloaded in a timely fashion, instead of trying to falsely convince the public that it's in the name of safety and compliance?
    There is zero interest in leaning on the ones responsible for the delays, meaning the shippers and receivers.
    I had some potato head dock mgr tell me before Christmas (after spending 4 hours to get backed in to load, ) that the next time i brought a trailer to him that needed to be swept out, he'd refuse to load it and fine me. Got news for that bozo...

  18. 18. Henry [ February 05, 2018 @ 12:07PM ]

    Precious 7 minutes?? If you drive 1 (one) mph faster and you drive for only 7 hours you have made up that 7 minutes so I don't think that this is a very good argument. If you drive and get somewhere at 7:59 do you log it as 7:45 or 8:00 I am not a firm believer in ELD's but I think that all of the commentary is a bunch of bull as there are a LOT of drivers that run illegally or run 2 log books. Its not like a driver has to run 80 instead of 660 to make up the difference.

  19. 19. Richard Davis [ February 05, 2018 @ 02:17PM ]

    Henry, Sounds like to me YOUR answer to the problem that ELDs cause in lost time, is to drive faster. That is what you said, drive faster to make up for the time you lose with ELDs. You lose time on every change of duty or could. Not just 1 time, unless you don't stop only on your 30 minute break. So you driver faster all day to make up for lost time. That's what I said drivers will have to do. I actually don't think there are a lot of drivers that run 2 log books now a days. Old talking point. And you think drivers should just roll over and take it, rather than comment on it. Get a spine/backbone. You just admitted that a driver just needs to drive faster to make up for lost time with ELDs, so how do you know how fast he may need to drive. The point was, that ELDS will cause drivers to have to drive faster, you said it.

  20. 20. Chris P [ February 06, 2018 @ 05:42AM ]

    Point is most smaller companies don't drop and hook. Time wasted at shippers and recievers do to faults of loaders and unloaders cause times upto 6-7 hours per day to be wasted. Hence driving hours are significantly lost due to 14 hour rule.
    Everyone seems to blame the wrong problem with new system. ELDs are simply logs, that I have been using for years.
    What needs to be changed or removed is the 14 hour rule. I can work with everything else. What the FDOT didn't put into the equation was traffic time, loading and unloading times, and breakdowns times.
    My average speed I would drive before ELD requirements kicked in was 65-70. Now in attempts to make it close to where I need to be to keep appts, I have to drive faster and that isn't creating a safe environment per the main reason the system was implented

  21. 21. Bill Hood [ February 10, 2018 @ 11:01AM ]

    How many comments on here go right to the point of why we have the mandate - HOS are the same on paper or ELD. But wait, we are hearing that now people are being rushed and driving faster on ELDs.
    What does that tell you? What we all know. Drivers had little concern with HOS.
    THAT is why we are seeing the mandate. You can point a finger at whoever you want, you still have three point back at you.

  22. 22. Amber Meadows [ February 13, 2018 @ 01:30PM ]

    The problem we are facing right now in my company is we aren't even a trucking company. I work for a service company and on occasion we have to drive for 2 days to get to our job site. This is now going to cause us to not be able to help our customers (mines, power plants, quarries, anything place that has a conveyor belt system) for emergency break downs. Most of our business is on emergency basis, and there are not conveyor belt service companies in every state. To be honest, most people have no clue at all or have even heard of our job. We are lost at what to do now.


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