The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Dozens of Congressmen Go to Bat for OOIDA ELD Exemption Request

February 02, 2018, by David Cullen - Also by this author

Twenty-five Congressmen have wriiten to FMCSA in support of OOIDA's request for a five-year ELD exemption for certain motor carriers.
Twenty-five Congressmen have wriiten to FMCSA in support of OOIDA's request for a five-year ELD exemption for certain motor carriers.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has garnered the support of over two dozen Congressmen in the form of a letter from them to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that encourages the agency to grant OOIDA’s pending application for a 5-year exemption from the electronic logging device mandate for small trucking businesses with exemplary safety records.

Specifically, OOIDA has requested at least a 5-year exemption for motor carriers classified as small businesses, according to the Small Business Administration, and that have a proven safety history with no attributable at-fault crashes, and that do not have a Carrier Safety Rating of “Unsatisfactory.”

Click here for our story on oppositon to the OOIDA exemption request

The Feb 1 letter to FMCSA by Reps. Brian Babin (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA) and co-signed by another 23 Representatives, calls OOIDA's request “responsibly constructed” as it focuses “only on carriers defined by the Small Business Administration as a small-trucking business” and that have “a record of no at-fault crashes would be exempted. 

“By sustaining impeccable safety records, the motor carriers that would qualify have already demonstrated the use of an ELD will do nothing to improve their operations,” continue Babin and King. “Futhermore, OOIDA's request would prevent small trucking businesses, who operate on the slimmest of margins, from maintaining costly fleet management devices that provide them no economic or productivity benefits.” 

The Congressmen also make something of an all-for-one and one-for-all argument, pointing out that “FMCSA has already granted several requests for exemption from the ELD mandate. Clearly, the agency is capable and willing to provide relief for industries who have demonstrated that exemptions will not decrease safety. In this regard, OOIDA's application for exemption is unquestionably consistent with those previously granted and merits the agency's approval.”

In addition, Babin and King note that they view OOIDA’s request as “wholly consistent with the Trump Administration's goal of providing relief from costly and burdensome federal regulations to American small businesses.”

Reading the Political Tea Leaves

It should be noted, too, that, at least in the letter, they give no indication that they currently support or would support or introduce any ELD-related legislation at this time. That begs the question of whether the Congressmen’s advocacy is the vanguard of a groundswell of support within the Republican-controlled Congress to amend or discard the ELD rule that was put on the books during another majority GOP Congress. 

Given that much of the trucking industry’s lobbying power was behind getting the ELD rule put in place in the first place and everything else that’s on Capitol Hill’s plate for the rest of this year— including immigration reform and infrastructure spending— it’s highly doubtful any legislation to reform the ELD rule will make any headway in 2018.

What is even more certain is that if the Democrats take back control of just one chamber or even just sharply cut the Republican edge in the House in this year’s midterm elections, trucking won’t see any safety regulations getting rolled back for at least the next two years, if not longer.

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

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  1. 1. Brad Welton [ February 02, 2018 @ 03:21PM ]

    I agree with this request whole heartedly! Why should small trucking companies be forced into regulations that they have strived hard to prevent. They are already safe.... Eld takes away any wiggle room and places you behind the wheel when you are tired because ya can't afford to stop and take a nap while you are on the clock. Let's face reality here, small trucking companies are verily scrapping by to stay in business as it is... By the time ya get done paying driver's, all the expenses, etc. There is nothing left over to support your family... Most of these companies are trucking for a living. We don't use trucking for additional income, we use it as our income to support our families. Not addition income but our only income. We need flexibility to survive. Let's face it, there are no rich small trucking companies! We do what we can to survive in the business!

  2. 2. Jeromy [ February 03, 2018 @ 01:12AM ]

    25 congressmen out of 535. Impressive.

    As far as the "why should safe drivers have to use an ELD?"....that's the same as asking "why should safe drivers have to use a log at all?"

    That is a pointless argument.

  3. 3. Chad [ February 05, 2018 @ 05:10AM ]

    How about a reimbursement for all of us that spent money to buy the elds. Now they’re going to pass a law saying we don’t need them. Government wasting our money again!!!

  4. 4. Kenny Scott [ February 05, 2018 @ 05:29AM ]

    If the ELD backing ATA say the ELD is for Safely . Why are their big members cranking up there trucks. UPS and others our running above speed limits everywhere. Safety is safety correct but I believe they oppose speed limiters I call that bullshit. With Truckstops getting more crowded it is becoming very aggravating that the ATA LTL carriers our blocking up pumps and parking switching trailers, get your own dam lot and quit blocking pumps and parking so we can save time. The ATA has one Theme making money no matter about safety. If you are long time trucker you know most of their companies our cheap pay and rip off lease purchase and 100 percent turnover . Shippers and receivers continue to do nothing different and are a huge reason for eld. God Bless our Truckstops who are making more payed parking for $18 a night because of ELD. Poor law enforcement they have not a clue, can u imagine dealing with a non English speaking driver about his eld. Over all there will be more crashes and death over the eld , it’s just like herbies it just keeps giving.

  5. 5. John Costley [ February 05, 2018 @ 05:56AM ]

    Wow. Finally, some politicians finally showing a little common sense and some support for blue collar workers. Lets hope it gains some traction and they repeal the whole mess.

  6. 6. CA Trucker [ February 05, 2018 @ 08:05AM ]

    Too little too late. Republicans passed this law over two years ago. I waited until the last possible minute and then bought all the ELDs. So where does that leave guys like me? I spent the money.

    Those that need "flexibility" and didn't spend the money undercut the others.

    Bad situation.

  7. 7. Richard Davis [ February 05, 2018 @ 02:26PM ]

    Well, Ca Trucker, If they was to put it on hold for 5 yrs. I'm sure you could keep using yours so you don't lose that money. It probable won't mean that small companies can't use ELDs.

  8. 8. CA Trucker [ February 05, 2018 @ 02:36PM ]

    No way baby. Someone recently told me that misery loves company. You are all coming with me.


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