The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has asked the U.S. House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure to hold an oversight hearing on the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, calling the regulation “critically flawed” and asking for an evaluation of the “serious difficulties their constituents are experiencing” because of the rule.
In a letter to the to the committee, OOIDA said the impact of the rule “has been much broader than anticipated and major concerns have been validated by FMCSA’s [Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration] patchwork of temporary waivers, exemptions, and ‘soft enforcement’ deadlines that have only caused more confusion across the country.”
The most recent exemption debate occurred this week regarding livestock haulers as a 90-day waiver issued in December is scheduled to expire on March 18. Three senators raised the livestock issue with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao during an infrastructure funding hearing this week held by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
“I’m very concerned about this issue,” Chao said in response to a question from to Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS).
One pending waiver request with DOT would offer livestock haulers a five-year exemption from the ELD mandate. The secretary hinted another shorter-term waiver was more likely, and stressed this was a problem with the Hours-of-Service (HOS) rule that needs a permanent fix through legislation.
While the ELD waiver does not change existing HOS rule, livestock haulers have long said the mandate did not consider the hauling of living animals. They are currently exempted from HOS if traveling with a 150 air-mile radius of the location where animals were loaded.
OOIDA noted that, prior to what it called the “$2 billion ELD mandate” taking effect last December, it and more than 30 other industries impacted by the rule shared "serious concerns" that FMCSA, law enforcement and the regulated community were not prepared for implementation.
Since the mandate took effect, OOIDA said truckers routinely communicate “substantial troubles” related to devices, including several vendor-wide systems failures, faulty GPS tracking, inaccurate recording of duty statuses, engine disablements, speed irregularities, and “abysmal customer service” from ELD makers.
The letter goes on to state that FMCSA has taken no steps to remedy these mounting issues or even inform truckers their devices may not be compliant. Instead, the agency is relying on vendors to fix their equipment, OOIDA said.
“All of this points to our conclusion that Congress should really avoid enacting one-size-fits-all mandates such as this on industries as diverse as trucking,” noted Todd Spencer, OOIDA’s acting president and CEO, in a statement.