The FMCSA is currently accepting public comments on a proposed exemption to the ELD mandate. This exemption suggested by the OOIDA (Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association) asks that small trucking carriers and drivers with a proven history of safety should be allowed to continue to use paper logs instead of ELDs.
Class A Drivers has heard from many truck drivers about the problems and flaws with the new ELD mandate. This is an issue we care passionately about so we submitted our own public comment. You can read our comment and see our receipt for proof below.
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COMPLETE PUBLIC COMMENT FROM CLASS A DRIVERS TO THE FMSCA:
Hello my name is Nick Marconato and I am the Director of ClassADrivers.com. Class A Drivers is a community of over 300000 truck drivers. We have listened to them and reviewed their comments.
We feel their concerns are legitimate and the FMCSA should hear from us. As a result we fully support the OOIDA’s proposed ELD exemption for small trucking carriers and independent drivers with a proven record of safety.
We believe that ELDs are not a one-size-fits-all solution and drivers should be able to use paper logs instead of the faulty onerous electronic devices. If this is not possible we support a revision of the ELD regulations to incorporate more flexibility and a better driver experience.
First we believe the current mandate is not improving road safety because it has been creating a lot of stress for truck drivers and the mandate deadline fell at a terrible time of year with poor weather conditions.
Many drivers tell us that they are driving faster and more aggressively than before the mandate. Why? Because the ELD always reports them as being on-duty which means that they have less driving time for their Hours of Service.
As a result truck drivers are rushing and racing through traffic. Drivers don’t even feel as if they can pull over and take a nap if they are sleepy. This makes people less safe – truckers and everyone else on the road too.
We urge the agency to move up the study and publication of the Motor Carrier Safety Progress Reports to the month of January 2018 rather than waiting until March 31st 2018. If the roads are less safe we’d rather know earlier than later. If the roads are more dangerous we must roll back the ELD mandate at least in the short term.
Second the technology is faulty. Drivers and trucking company safety directors don’t know what to do with malfunctioning devices that have either hardware or software problems.
These devices ultimately come from private companies with poor customer service and no understanding of Hours of Service regulations. Any troubleshooting with ELD devices forces drivers and companies to sit through long response times to get anything fixed.
Other device problems that we have heard at Class A Drivers consist of: the ELD changing data by itself; its inability to determine the right location through its GPS link; freezing after updates; locking up the phone and draining its battery; and faulty yard move and personal conveyance features.
Third driving time is incorrectly recorded. Since the FMCSA has required the ELD to register speeds of 5 mph or more drivers are finding it a challenge to move from a fuel island after fueling or from a staging area at a shipper. The ELD takes what should be recorded as “on-duty not driving time” and registers it as “driving time.”
Registering driving time that is spent at a refueling station is a major distortion of a driver’s Hours of Service and a large flaw of the ELDs is that drivers can’t edit the data. This flaw even affects sleeping truck drivers.
In cold weather some drivers must start their vehicles to stay warm inside their trucks even when they are on break. But when they start the truck the ELD places them back on-duty or even worse the ELD says that they are driving. A sleeping driver could wake up in HOS violation mode.
Fourth many drivers also have concerns about their privacy rights. In addition to the ELD device in the truck monitoring every aspect of the driver’s working day the ELDs also have access to data on the driver’s phones. Some drivers have complained that enforcement personnel have accessed this data during an inspection and this is a clear violation of their rights to privacy.
We have the following questions when it comes to this ELD mandate:
• Why wasn’t the mandate delayed until ELD companies could test and provide more reliable products?
• Why weren’t more real on the job scenarios examined and incorporated to enable drivers to meet HOS regulations?
• Since many ELDs have proven themselves to be unreliable why are carriers and drivers still faced with being cited by DOT?
It is possible that in a perfect world the ELD mandate could work. In a world of flawless devices perfect weather and accurate reporting maybe the devices could serve the purpose of enforcing HOS regulations. In the present however there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
Drivers from agriculture haulers to reefer drivers hauling produce from local drivers who are experiencing many stops to owner-operators trying to anticipate or postpone their drive in an attempt to escape bad weather conditions have expressed major problems with the ELD mandate.
On behalf of Class A Drivers and 300000 truck drivers and industry professionals we ask that the FMCSA grants an exemption to truckers with a proven record of safety.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.