In order to accurately track truck drivers’ hours of service, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced the Final Rule of the ELD mandate, which states that commercial truck drivers must equip their vehicles with electronic logging devices (ELDs) by Dec. 17, 2017. The FMCSA believes that the implementation of ELDs will result in safer roads with less truck accidents, as it will be harder for truck drivers to lie about the number of hours they have spent on the job.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) recently submitted an exception request to the FMCSA, stating that small-business truck drivers with stellar driving records and no at-fault accidents should not have to purchase ELDs, which can be cost prohibitive for smaller carriers.
The OOIDA, which is a member of a coalition of industry representatives that has spoken out against the ELD mandate, has requested that carriers that are classified as small businesses, and that do not have a Carrier Safety Rating of “unsatisfactory”, should be exempt from the ELD mandate for at least five years.
According to the Executive Vice President of OOIDA, small-business truckers generally have excellent driving records and have proven that they can safely operate their vehicle, while meeting the hours of service requirements. ELDs can be expensive, and the devices are unproven and uncertified.
ELDs must be registered with the FMCSA, which does not impose strict validation guidelines for product manufacturers. Therefore, one of the biggest issues that OOIDA has, which is cited in the request, is the self-certification of vendors. An OOIDA rep points out that it is unfair to require small-business motor carriers to purchase ELDs only to find out later that they are non-compliant. This puts them at risk for violations that are beyond their control.
Cybersecurity is another issue cited by OOIDA in its request for exemption. Even though the FMCSA has instructed vendors to develop systems that are secure, the burden of compliance falls on the motor carrier. The five-year exemption period would allow the agency to ensure that the ELD manufacturers have been thoroughly vetted. This would help carriers avoid purchasing a device that could damage the truck’s electronic control module, making it vulnerable to hacking.
Enforcement officers will be checking whether commercial drivers have the appropriate logs and are in compliance with hour of service requirements. If a truck driver is caught using paper logs instead of ELDs between now and April 1, 2018, they will receive a citation. After April 1, they will be placed out of service. The OOIDA’s request has yet to be approved or denied.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Truck Accidents
If you or a loved one has been seriously or fatally injured in a truck accident, contact a Baltimore truck accident lawyer at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. To set up a free, confidential consultation, call 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent truck accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.