FMCSA Focusing on Truck Drivers’ Hours of ServiceJanuary 11, 2019
Since December of 2017, when the deadline to comply with the electronic logging devices (ELD) mandate was passed, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has received 10 petitions from trucking groups who are seeking exemptions from the rule.
Regulators have demonstrated a willingness to revisit the (HOS) rule, and may consider giving truck drivers some leeway when it comes to how they use their ELDs. However, they are not willing to make any changes to the mandate itself.
As a result, the FMCSA rejected the petitions from groups that included the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the Power and Construction Association, the Association of Energy Services Companies, and the National Electrical Contractors Association.
Rejected Petition Details
The OOIDA petition, one of the 10 petitions that were rejected by the FMCSA, suggested that all small businesses should be exempt from the mandate. However, according to the FMCSA, none of the petitioners, including the OOIDA, explained how their solution would achieve the same level of safety as the ELDs.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) was quoted as saying that after closely reviewing each of the applications, none provided sufficient merit to warrant an exemption. The Small Business in Transportation Coalition also sent a petition, for which they are awaiting a decision; but it is highly unlikely that it will be accepted.
A small number of exemptions were approved by the FMCSA for the Truck Leasing and Rental Association, UPS, and the Motion Picture Association of America, who had applied for ELD exemptions or short-term waivers.
Majority of Truck Drivers are Compliant
In the upcoming year, the FMCSA will focus its attention on HOS rules. According to the FMCSA Administrator, the trucking industry is hoping for more flexibility, rather than longer hours. In addition, he said that close to 99 percent of drivers who are required to use ELDs are compliant.
In roadside inspections that occurred between April and October, less than one percent of the truck drivers in over 1.4 million inspections received citations for failing to have the required ELD. The most recent roadside data is from October, which revealed that only 1.6 percent of drivers were not in compliance with the ELD rule.
The last time there was a serious review of the hours of service was in 2004. HOS violations have gone down by close to 50 percent in the past year, which is a promising sign.
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