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FMCSA denies ELD exemption to small trucking companies – again

The Small Business in Transport Coalition (SBTC) represents a group of trucking companies; each brand in the group has fewer than 50 employees. There are currently over 12,000 organizations and individual members. The SBTC recently filed for an exemption from the federal mandate for electronic logging device use (ELD). The exemption would make allowances for these smaller brands and remove some of the burden of complying with demands better suited to larger organizations.

An Exception to ELD Rules for Small Firms

The requested exemption was for brands with fewer than 50 employees and that maintained a strong safety record. Brands with a proven track record of safety would be allowed to continue with their successful paper logging practices instead of opting for ELDs.

The exemption request was filed over a year ago, in June 2018. An overwhelming majority of the comments shared about the exemption were positive (95% of users agreed with the exemption request). The request from SBTC details the reasons a smaller brand should be relieved of the obligation to install ELDs, stating that these tools were for tracking hours of service, not overall safety.

ELD Exemption Request Denied

Despite the strong support from trucking brands and other small businesses, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration denied the exemption. According to the FMCSA, the application did not provide enough evidence that safety would be maintained under the exemption.

The reply from the FMCSA, issued this week, says that SBTC failed to  "explain how you would ensure that you could achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained by complying with the regulation,". The decision, along with the explanation, was delivered on July 17th.

In addition to the concerns about safety, the FMCSA listed a lack of countermeasures designed to ensure safety as a barrier to moving forward.

How the Denial Impacts Trucking Brands

For companies with fewer than 50 employees and a strong history of safety, the addition of technology to shift away from the traditional paper logging model means additional expense. Without the exemption, ELD technology needs to be purchased and installed and drivers will need to be trained to use it properly. 

Similar ELD exemption requests from other groups have also been denied; brands with existing AOBRDS have until December 2019 to make the switch to the now-required ELD technology. 

We are dedicated to serving the needs of the independent and small business trucking company and will continue to track both exemption requests to ELD law and the details you need to know to operate legally and safely, no matter where the road takes you.Follow us for the latest news, tips and innovation for the trucking industry, and to find your next big rig or heavy equipment. 

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