GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. – Small-business truckers will continue to be subject to the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate in the U.S. after an exemption request was denied by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA).
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) made the exemption request eight months ago, before the ELD mandate came into effect Dec. 18, hoping to help small business truckers avoid what it calls costly and unnecessary upgrades.
The request was seeking a five-year exemption for motor carriers classified as small businesses according to the Small Business Administration and with a proven safety history with no attributable at-fault crashes, and who do not have a Carrier Safety Rating of “Unsatisfactory.”
“We are puzzled and disappointed at the response from the agency. For months, the FMCSA has been granting exemptions to other organizations, some not even actually in trucking, but relying on trucks for their businesses,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA.
The group is concerned about the ability of ELD providers to self-certify, saying most small business owners can’t afford to purchase devices and later find out they’re non-compliant with the mandate. A five-year exemption would have allowed owner-operators to purchase ELDs after manufacturers a chance to become market-tested.
A so-called “soft” rollout period for the ELD mandate ended April 1, drivers not compliant with the new regulation after that date face fines or other penalties including being put out-of-service.