Rep. Kristi Noem this week urged the U.S. Department of Transportation to exempt certain trucking businesses from the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. The mandate requires trucks to be fitted with an ELD to automatically record driving times. In the letter to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Deputy Administrator Cathy Gautreaux, Noem specifically calls for an exemption of small trucking businesses with exemplary safety records. This adds to a number of requests to exempt or delay implementation for certain truckers, including those that carry live animals. Noem is also the co-sponsor of legislation to delay the ELD mandate for two years to allow for additional impact studies.

“I continue to believe the ELD mandate should be delayed for all sectors so we can better understand its impact, particularly on small trucking companies and those that haul live animals,” said Noem. “But as the Department of Transportation begins examining the numerous applications for exemptions and waivers, it’s important we weigh into that process. The exemption we supported would allow small trucking companies to continue serving their communities, while not adversely affecting the safety of the road. By still requiring drivers to comply with the Hours of Service Regulation through paper logs and only applying to companies with proven safety records, this request allows small trucking companies to continue their pursuit of the American Dream.”

Noem’s letter specifically urges the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to grant an application submitted by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. If granted, small trucking companies with exemplary safety records would be exempted from the ELD mandate.

FULL LETTER:

Dear Deputy Administrator Gautreaux:

The best course of action with regards to the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is still to issue a 90-day relief period for all sectors of the trucking industry as your agency continues to examine and adjudicate the numerous applications for exemptions and waivers. We write to you in support of one of those applications today: the ELD exemption of small trucking businesses with exemplary safety records.

We encourage the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to grant this application submitted by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), which would provide reasonable relief from the costly and burdensome regulation for many of the trucking industry’s safest and most experienced drivers.

OOIDA’s request is responsibly constructed to ensure only motor carriers defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as a small-trucking business would qualify for relief from the $2 billion mandate. Additionally, the application stipulates that only motor carriers with a record of no at-fault crashes would be exempted and those with an ‘Unsatisfactory’ safety rating from FMCSA would not be eligible. 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. Furthermore, 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.

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. We believe this request is also wholly consistent with the Trump Administration’s goal of providing relief from costly and burdensome federal regulations to American small businesses. Granting OOIDA’s request would further illustrate the administration’s commitment to delivering regulatory relief that will help sustain economic growth.

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