Heavy Duty Trucking

AUG 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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46 HDT • AUGUST 2014 www.truckinginfo.com standards for the devices and the supporting documents that regulators need to confirm compliance. And it sets requirements to ensure that electronic logs are not used to harass drivers. The proposal was published in late March, and the comment period ended June 26 after being extended 30 days. The individual comments typically focus on the regulatory burden the agency is proposing. James Bennett said he is a 30-year owner-operator with no accidents and is not sure he'll stay in the business if he has to use an ELD. "I do not need an ELD," he said. "It does nothing for me and my op- erations, or my bottom line." Hundreds of owner-operators say electronic logs have the effect of pushing drivers harder during their duty time. "I will have no choice but to drive in traffic, adverse weather conditions, and/or while fatigued because I can't take a nap … because the clock is tick, tick, ticking away," said Ryan Allison. On the other hand, some individu- als support the rule. Charles Bolin said he thinks ELDs should be required on every truck. "I would compare an E-log rule to a rule requiring employers to use electronic time clocks rather than handwritten time cards to prevent payroll fraud," he said. "It makes good business sense and it keeps local companies honest about whether their drivers really qualify for the lo- cal driver logbook exemption." Henry Albert put it this way: "Quite simply, electronic log books bring accountability and compliance to the trucking industry." recording devices that meet existing requirements, ATA said. It also could give current ELD us- ers a break by reducing the violation weight assigned to minor log viola- tions in the CSA safety enforcement system. Or, give carriers additional credit for each inspection in the Safety Measurement System's hours of service category. Another incentive could be to pro- vide a grace period for enforcement of the new rest break requirement, since compliance is more stringently enforced if the driver uses an ELD. ATA suggested a number of im- provements. It said that besides extending the grandfather period for existing de- vices, the agency should allow carriers to use more precise location standards than the ones it has proposed. And the agency should look for a better way to identify drivers. The proposal calls for use of the com- mercial driver license as an identifier, which is an improvement over the earlier approach of using carrier- assigned driver ID numbers, but the agency should look for even better ways to do it, ATA said. ATA disagrees with the idea of re- quiring carriers to get driver approval before editing ELD data. It said car- riers should be able to make changes on their own when, say, correcting errors that don't affect driving or on- duty time rules. ATA also said the supporting docu- ments requirements are excessive and unnecessary: ELDs will ensure com- pliance and eliminate the need for the supporting documents that police use to confirm compliance. ATA also said the agency should look for ways to minimize the impact of the rule on companies that rent and lease equipment. Other trucking comments The Trucking Alliance, a group representing a half-dozen carriers that have strenuously lobbied for the ELD mandate, said the rule will be the most significant change for trucking Most of the major industry interest groups generally support the proposal and filed extensive comments on its details. ATA supports mandate American Trucking Associations said it is confident that ELDs will improve compliance with the hours of service regulations. The group noted that FMCSA data showed strong correlation between compliance with the 2010 hours of service rules and lower crash rates. ATA wants the agency to move quickly, but not so quickly that it opens the rule to legal challenges. "The agency must conduct research and analysis to ensure that a final rule is judicious and defensible." The association also wants the agency to look for ways to promote voluntary adoption. It pointed out that it's likely to take three years to put the mandate into effect — a year to finish the rule and two years' grace before ELDs are required for those who use paper logs. Regulatory delays or litigation could push that out even further. Meanwhile, carriers that already have ELDs or that move quickly to install them will be at a competitive disadvantage against carriers using paper logs, ATA said. Paper logs, for instance, record time in 15-minute increments, while ELDs are precise to the minute. "These inequities ultimately penal- ize early adopters and will discourage other fleets from installing ELDs be- fore the final deadline to do so, espe- cially under the new, more restrictive hours of service rules," ATA said. The agency could encourage voluntary adoption by extending the "grandfather" period for automatic "The agency must conduct research and analysis to ensure that a final rule is judicious and defensible." – American Trucking Associations SPECIAL REPORT

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