- The Trucking Alliance, a coalition of freight and logistics companies, is calling on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to eliminate all exemptions for electronic logging devices (ELDs) for all trucks engaged in interstate commerce, according to a new policy statement from the group.
- The hours of service regulations allow for a number of exemptions, and drivers who were exempt from keeping paper logs are not required to use an ELD.
- The group is also calling for state legislatures to require electronic logging devices be used in intrastate commerce, which falls outside of the FMCSA's jurisdiction.
The goal of the ELD mandate was to reduce traffic accidents caused by truck driver fatigue aided by falsified paper logbooks that allowed drivers to flout the hours-of-service rules. ELDs are digital devices connected to the truck's engine that record the driver's status according to existing hours of service regulations.
The trucking group cited statistics showing that hours of service violations are down 46% so far. The FMCSA estimates 1,844 large truck crashes and 26 fatalities will be saved each year due to the ELD mandate.
However, the alliance asserts that ELD exemptions for large segments of the industry could still allow some drivers to skirt the rules with paper logs, leaving them at a higher risk for accidents.
The federal ELD regulations call for states to develop their own ELD regulations by February 2019. States such as Texas and Florida with hours-of-service rules the same as the federal rules have already set deadlines for ELD implementation. States with less restrictive regulations such as Alaska and California are still developing their timelines, the Trucking Alliance said.
Meanwhile, current regulations grant exemptions to drivers in short-haul operations, moving livestock and agricultural commodities within 150 air miles of the farm or ranch. Also, the FMCSA has granted waivers to a variety of groups including rented and leased trucks, trucks driven for motion picture or television production, and a five-year delay to allow UPS to implement ELDs on a site-by-site basis for its fleet.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association sought a delay to allow small trucking companies to continue to operate with paper logs for five years, but the FMCSA did not grant the waiver. In May, a bill was filed in the U.S. House of Representatives for a permanent ELD exemption for carriers with 10 or fewer trucks, one of several measures introduced to provide exemptions for small fleets.
The trucking association's statement points out the ELDs do not change the current hours of service regulations but accurately record the driver's activities. Data gathered through the recording devices could provide a scientific basis for updating regulations to better reflect the realities of a driver's daily work life.