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Category Archives: Political

ELD exemption for small carriers introduced in U.S. House

Full article can be found here.

 

A bill was filed Wednesday in the U.S. House that would, if passed, exempt the smallest trucking companies — those with 10 trucks or fewer — from compliance with the U.S. DOT’s electronic logging device mandate on a permanent basis.

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New FMCSA head wants ‘productive conversations’ on ELDs, safety

Original article found here.

Nearly a month into his job as FMCSA Administrator, Ray Martinez told an audience at the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) that he looks forward to “meeting great people” and having “productive conversations.”

Martinez addressed the TCA annual convention in Kissimmee, Fla., the morning of Mar. 26. The week before, Martinez spoke to a less friendly audience at the Mid-America Truck Show about the ELD rule.

“I wish (the conversation) could be more productive rather than just anger,” he said about that previous industry meeting. “I am looking for (TCA) for help on how to move the ball forward.”

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States eye bills to suspend ELD enforcement, ask Congress for mandate repeal

Read original article here.
Legislators in at least four states have introduced proposals in recent weeks to stymie enforcement of the electronic logging device mandate, either by suspending funds for enforcement within their state’s borders or by asking the federal government to reconsider the mandate, enforcement for which began in December.

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Map: A state by state look at ELD mandate enforcement

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Courtesy of CCJ sister site Overdrive, the graphic above shows how truck enforcers in each state are handling enforcement of the electronic logging device until April 1. Though the U.S. DOT required nearly all truckers who keep records of duty status to switch to an ELD by December 18, there’s somewhat of a soft enforcement period ongoing until April 1, the date established by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance for when out-of-service orders for non-compliance will begin being issued.

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Drivers meet with Sen. Ted Cruz to talk hours of service rewrite

Wednesday, January 17, a group of truckers took a meeting with United States Senator Ted Cruz in order to press concerns over the Department of Transportation’s electronic logging device mandate and the current hours of service rule.

Originally called for by trucker Dave McCauley after he made contacts with Cruz’s office on a trip McCauley and other haulers made to D.C. early this year, the meeting was also attended by a bevy of owner-operators and drivers regular readers may be familiar with from Overdrive‘s coverage of October demonstrations in D.C. and those in early December around the country.

Topics discussed included related issues of parking and training, but hours and ELDs were central to much of the discussion. Shelli Conaway, speaking Wednesday night in this edition of the Hammer Lane Radio network on Blogtalkradio.com, said Cruz and aides have asked for further information from the participants in order to assess potential legislative efforts in future. The Senator “wants us to come up with general ideas” for revisions to the hours of service, training protocols and parking fixes, Conaway said.

Several truckers in attendance are associated with the Monday Information Facebook group, originally formed to coordinate state-by-state efforts during the grassroots ELD Media Blitz of Dec. 4, 2017. That group said it had put out a call for hours revision ideas and today released a poll on several hours of service options at this link, where truckers can weigh in on their preferable option.Results, later, would be shared with Cruz’s office.
New Hampshire-based hauler John Grosvenor, speaking as part of this broadcast on the Hammer Lane network, said he came away with the impression that while Cruz was generally “very concerned” about issues presented by the ELD mandate, “he’s not as concerned about repealing the mandate as he is about the hours of service rules. …  Something’s got to give.”

Grosvenor endorsed the notion of a “pause button” for the 14-hour on-duty clock, which the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is attempting to study in a Flexible Sleeper Berth Pilot Program that would allow a small group of truckers to utilize a multitude of options between the currently allowed 8/2-hour split to break up the duty day. If such research showed no safety-negative, it could further set the stage for hours of service revisions to allow greater such flexibility.

FMCSA put out a call for commentary on the study plan, which it was then set to deliver for White House Office of Management and Budget approval, in late October and received fewer than 150 comments. The research request remains at OMB awaiting review and approval, said FMCSA external affairs rep Duane DeBruyne. The request “was submitted to on November 29, 2017,” two days after the comment period closed.

The ability to pause the clock with mid-duty-period rest could effectively combat pressure Grosvenor and plenty others see building up on drivers to maximize driving hours no matter the situations ahead. On-highway accidents, weather, unforeseen delays at shipper and receiver locations — “with a continuously running clock,” he said, drivers are more likely to push through and “burn up your time” when otherwise a nap or other break might allow for the situation to resolve itself without hurting the trucker’s productivity — and income in the end.
Meeting attendees continue to urge drivers supportive of these efforts to engage their own representatives locally and/or in the nation’s capital. With an infrastructure bill a definite priority this year, there could be chance for legislative change in truckers’ favor, a point the Senator was said to have emphasized.

Have you been engaged with your rep and/or senators on these or other issues?

 

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FMCSA Grants Agriculture and Livestock Haulers ELD Waiver

Federal trucking regulators have granted a 90-day waiver to agricultural commodities and livestock haulers from installing electronic logging devices in their trucks, and issued a separate clarification on potential miles that are exempt from hours-of-service requirements for agriculture haulers.

In a pair of announcements, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said it is granting the limited ELD waiver in response to a request by the National Pork Producers Council on behalf of eight organizations that represent transporters of livestock and other agricultural commodities.

The ELD waiver for agriculture and livestock haulers, published in the Federal Register on Dec. 20, will be in effect through March 18.

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OOIDA, NASTC to testify in House committee on impact of trucking regs on small carriers

The House’s Small Business Committee on Wednesday will hold a hearing featuring owner-operators and other small business truckers intended to examine the impact federal regulations have on small trucking companies and “explore ways to to provide regulatory relief to the industry.”

Testimony will be heard from Monte Widerhold of B.L. Reever Transport, who’s testifying on behalf of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association; Marty DiGiacomo, owner of True Blue Transportation, who’s testifying on behalf of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies; Stephen Pelkey, CEO of Atlas PyroVision Entertainment Group, who’s testifying on behalf of the American Pyrotechnics Association; and Tommy Phillipou, a partner at DKN Ready Mix, who’s testifying on behalf of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association.

The hearing will take place at 11 a.m. EST at the Rayburn House Office Building on Wednesday, Nov. 29.

“Many trucking companies can be as small as a one-person business and are subject to many of the same federal requirements as large trucking companies, including transportation safety regulations, environmental regulations, worker safety regulations and labor regulations,” the meeting’s notice says.

The session, dubbed “Highway to Headache: Federal Regulations on the Small Trucking Industry,” will feature prepared statements from the aforementioned witnesses, as well as a question and answer session.

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ELD violations won’t ding carriers’ CSA scores until April, FMCSA announces

Carriers who are hit with citations for non-compliance with FMCSA’s electronic logging device mandate will not have points recorded against them in the Compliance, Safety, Accountability carrier scoring system, safety officials said today at a public hearing in Birmingham, Ala. It was previously announced that those drivers also will not be put out of service during that period.

A driver found after the mandate’s implementation, Dec. 18, but before April 1, with no ELD or compliant AOBRD (automatic onboard recording device) will be cited for having no log, but it will have no impact on the associated motor carrier’s Safety Measurement System ranking, said Jon Dierberger, FMCSA field administrator.

That policy originated with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, said Anne Collins, FMCSA’s associate administrator of field operations. CVSA brings together highway safety officials from every state and trucking representatives to set enforcement policies and practices, including the out-of-service criteria.

In August, CVSA and FMCSA said enforcement of ELD-related out of service criteria would be delayed to April 1 as a phase-in for ELDs’ implementation. Officials have also said inspectors will have some discretion as to writing citations as the mandate takes effect.

An AOBRD must have been used in the truck prior to Dec. 18 to be grandfathered in as compliant. As of Dec. 16, 2019, only ELDs that meet FMCSA criteria will be compliant.

In her first public appearance since starting her job Monday, FMCSA Deputy Administrator Cathy Gautreaux addressed the lingering opposition to the ELD mandate.

“FMCSA recognizes motor carriers, particularly independent and small motor carriers, want an extension,” Gautreaux said. As for the agency doing so on its own, “FMCSA cannot arbitrarily change the compliance date of Dec. 18.” The final rule was issued more than two years ago and the ELD mandate changes nothing about hours of service, so at this point there is no reason to change it, she said.

FMCSA has been training state-based trainers since October to have all jurisdictions ready for implementing the ELD mandate, she said.

Gautreaux also outlined three priorities for the agency: improving highway infrastructure, regulatory reform and safe deployment of autonomous vehicle systems.

Highway congestion wastes an estimated $3 billion per year in time and fuel, she said, and highway fatalities have begun to rise again. FMCSA hopes to support public-private partnerships that could help solve the problem.

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Texas Congressman asks Trump to delay ELD mandate via Executive Order

The Texas representative who has been the principal sponsor of the H.R. 3282 ELD Extension Act of 2017 two-year electronic-logging-device mandate delay has written a letter requesting President Trump write an executive order to delay the December 18 mandate enforcement deadline at least until April Fool’s Day next year. April 1 is also the date on which federal and state law enforcement partners have stated they will begin enforcing the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s out-of-service criteria around use of ELDs.

Rep Brian Babin (R-Texas) posted the letter to his Facebook page today.

Babin’s letter says the Congressman consulted the Congressional Research Service to determine if such a delay would be within the purview of the executive branch, concluding it would be. “My preference,” Babin writes, “would be to delay the rule for as long as it takes, but at a bare minimum, I would encourage an initial waiver for all sectors until April 1, 2018.” The Congressman asked for a response from the President by December 1.

The approximately three-month delay, in addition to conforming with the CVSA-approved out-of-service criteria enforcement delay, would eliminate “the very predictable havoc of trying to implement this massive, complicated regulation just a week before Christmas – perhaps the busiest time for the consumer freight network of the year,” Babin writes, later addressing the president directly. “A few powerful interests will tell you that this mandate is good for trucking, and our country, but millions of hardworking people across our country who came together exactly one year ago to elect you president profoundly disagree.”

He went on to cite concerns with the cybersecurity, cost and truck-safety implications of the mandate. You can read the full letter via this link.

As of midday today, November 9, 2017, Babin’s bill had 64 cosponsors, up from around just more than 50 the first week of October, when grassroots ELD mandate protests took place in Washington, D.C., and around the country.

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Likely FMCSA boss Martinez stands behind ELD mandate, hopes to shore up CSA

Raymond P. Martinez, President Trump’s pick to run the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration during his presidency, told a panel of Senators on Tuesday that he does not have plans to delay the agency’s Dec. 18 deadline for compliance with the electronic logging device mandate should he be confirmed to run the agency.

However, Martinez did say he intends to examine how the rule could affect small business truckers, if confirmed. “I have heard this rule could cause serious hardship to some small independent truckers, particularly those in the agriculture sector,” he said. “I want to meet with those involved who oppose the rule to learn more about those concerns.”

Martinez testified Tuesday in front of the Senate’s Commerce Committee as part of his confirmation process. He joined three other nominees picked by Trump to run DOT agencies. The Senate must confirm Martinez via a simple majority for him to take the reins of Washington’s trucking regulatory body. Trump tapped Martinez in September to head FMCSA. Martinez has served as head of New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission under Gov. Chris Christie since 2010, having served in other motor vehicle-related roles most of his career.

He was asked only a handful of questions, two of which pertained to the ELD mandate. “Our goal is not to cripple commerce, but to make our roadways safer,” Martinez said in response to a question from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Cruz asked Martinez that, given the estimated $2 billion price tag associated with industry-wide compliance with the mandate, whether he’d consider delaying the Dec. 18 deadline.

Martinez said he believes “regulatory reform should be an ongoing process,” but that “it’s my understanding with regards to ELDs that they are legally required” ahead of the December deadline.

“In the past, it was paper-based,” he said in response to another question from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), “which means [logs were] very susceptible to fraudulent entries and altered entries.”

Martinez also said he intends to make the agency more data driven, particularly when it comes to targeting high-risk carriers within the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. CSA’s BASIC ratings were pulled from public view by Congress in 2015, and the National Academies of Science this year issued a report to Congress and FMCSA with recommendations on how the agency can reform the program to make it more equitable to carriers and accurate in its assessment of safety risk.

Martinez told Senators he intends to review the report and “make appropriate changes [and] evaluate how best we can move forward” with the program.

“We need to be using sound science,” he said. “The key thing is whether the data we use to compile these assessments are accurate, reliable and fair. If the data is unreliable, we lose credibility with stakeholders and the entities we regulate. And we do a disservice to the public,” he said.

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