The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has requested the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to exempt crash-free small-business truckers for at least five years from the ELD mandate.

The OOIDA made the request a day after the FMCSA’s announcement that it would provide additional guidance on ELD transition and details of a 90-day ELD mandate waiver for ag haulers. Recently, the FMCSA Director of Compliance and Enforcement, Joe Delorenzo, told that the agency would soon post a public notice in the Federal Register on the extension of the ELD deadline for agricultural haulers. A notice with fresh guidelines for ag haulers related to the ELD mandate and Hours of Service rules will also be issued, he added.

If the FMCSA accepts OOIDA’s application, the request would be well past the 90-day extension and will exempt from the ELD mandate carriers that fit the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) definition of a small business. The SBA considers a fleet with $27.5 million or less in gross annual receipts as a small business.

As stated in the OOIDA’s request, the exemption will also cover carriers that “do not have a Carrier Safety Rating of ‘Unsatisfactory,’ and can document a proven history of safety performance with no attributable at-fault crashes.”

The association also said, “the exemption would not have any adverse impacts on operational safety, as motor carriers and drivers would remain subject to (hours of service) regulations.”

In justifying their request, the OOIDA cited various concerns. From worries over cybersecurity to the absence of a comprehensive government or independent third-party vetting of most of the self-certified 200 electronic logging devices on the FMCSA’s registry.

At the moment, it’s not known when the FMCSA will act on the OOIDA’s request. It is extremely unlikely that the FMCSA will grant any ELD exemption like this.

It is important to note that the FMCSA has already stated that ELD violations won’t affect CSA scores until April 1, 2018. Moreover, the CVSA has also confirmed that ELD violations between December 18, 2017, and April 1, 2018, won’t place vehicles out of service.

It should also be remembered that lawmakers, several trucking groups & associations, and President Trump’s nominee to head the FMCSA, Raymond Martinez, have all supported the ELD mandate. Earlier, the FMCSA Deputy Administrator Cathy Gautreaux also supported the ELD mandate compliance deadline and said:

“FMCSA recognizes motor carriers, particularly independent and small motor carriers, want an extension. FMCSA cannot arbitrarily change the compliance date of Dec. 18 … The final rule was issued more than two years ago and the ELD mandate changes nothing about hours of service, so at this point, there is no reason to change it.”

What’s next?

As mentioned earlier, it is unclear when the FMCSA will address the ELD exemption request by the OOIDA.

The ELD mandate compliance deadline is just a couple of weeks away now, it is unlikely that the FMCSA will approve this exemption request.

The compliance deadline is December 18, 2017, and carriers should prepare for that by installing compliant electronic logging devices. If you haven’t installed ELDs yet, try Motive. If you have any questions, call 844-325-9230. Our 24/7 customer support team is always available to help.