If you are an owner operator, I’m sure you have read and heard so many things on the FMCSA’s ELD mandate that your head might be spinning by now. The vast majority of people in the owner operator trucking industry have been following the news and preparing for the inevitable ELD mandate. On the other hand, there are still those who are waiting for divine intervention to stop the new law that will go into effect on December 18th, 2017. Well, now it’s not only owner operator trucking companies who are asking for an exemption to the mandate, but large shippers too. UPS just applied for an ELD exemption, and the FMCSA is requesting your comments on the matter.
With less than six months away from the mandate deadline, Atlanta-based shipping giant United Parcel Service (UPS) is requesting an exemption to the mandate. One of the exemptions UPS is requesting is to have the option to transition from “grandfathered” automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) to ELDs on a site-by-site basis. This exemption would give them the option to continue using automatic onboard recording devices on trucks purchased after the December 18th deadline instead of an ELD.
As of now according to Section 395.15(a) of the ELD final rule, a “grandfathered” AOBRD is any device the motor carrier or owner operator installed in the vehicle BEFORE the rule compliance deadline. The device must meet all the requirements of the 49 CFR 395.15, and they may continue to use it no later than December 16th, 2019. This would allow UPS to buy new equipment and install an AOBRD instead of an ELD until the end of next year.
Another exemption UPS is requesting is to allow drivers to change their duty status manually. The current mandate requires that ELD’s to record a change in duty status whenever the driver is not in the vehicle. UPS officials cite that drivers perform multiple other duties away from their trucks and they also use different trucks. If a driver is required to use both an ELD and an AOBRD to track driver duty status, then none of the two systems would reflect a comprehensive log of the driver’s hours of service. Having an ELD change their status automatically would make it impossible to comply both with the requirement to have the ELD record tractor data and maintain pay guidelines for drivers. Therefore, they are asking for an exemption that will allow drivers to change their duty status manually.
Allowing for these exemptions would open a can of worms and it would implicate giving other companies the opportunity to apply for exemptions based on their individual needs. Owner operators who have voiced their opinions on the issue think that if UPS gets an exemption, then everyone should get it too. Others state that companies like UPS, FEDEX where responsible for pushing the hardest to pass this mandate through the ATA, and now they are asking for exemptions.
This is a corporation requesting the FMCSA to make an exemption to a mandate based on their operational needs in order to prevent disruptions and inefficiency. For more information on the issue visit the FMCSA’s website and search for “82 FR 26832”.
The FMCSA is requesting comments until 07/10/2017. Owner operator truckers who want to have their voices heard can submit their comments bearing the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2017-0054 using any of the following methods:
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