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  • Henry Seaton

OOIDA seeks ELD exemption for small carriers with flawless safety records

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) on November 21 petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for an exemption from the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate for carriers that meet the definition of a small business and that "can document a proven history of safety performance with no attributable at-fault crashes." Another condition is that the carrier cannot have an unsatisfactory safety rating, although in practice this condition is not very important because carriers cannot continue to operate unless they correct an unsatisfactory rating in a matter of a few weeks.

OOIDA's petition uses the Small Business Administration's threshold for a small business in truck transportation: $27.5 million or less in annual revenue. Under this standard, more than 90% of motor carriers are small businesses.

The association argued that the ELD rule was based on a flawed premise, namely that increasing compliance with hours-of-service (HOS) regulations will reduce the risk of fatigue-related crashes. It cited a 2016 National Academy of Sciences report that found that fatigue is very difficult to define and measure objectively. The report also concluded that HOS regulations can only limit hours spend driving and work and cannot mandate rest.

OOIDA also cited the crash rates of large carriers that use ELDs, arguing that "it is clear that merely installing ELDs does not achieve safety benefits." The group also pointed out that none of the ELD solutions listed on the FMCSA website have been validated by the agency or any unbiased third-party testing program.

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Many serious legal risks will go unnoticed unless you are watching for them. Don't take chances.

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