As the U.S. Department of Transportation presses ahead with implementation of a rule for electronic logging devices (ELDs), members of Congress are seeking assistance from the mandates.
In an official letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Rep. Ted Yoho (R., Fla.) asked Chao to provide livestock haulers with a longer-term waiver from the ELD rules.
"I would ask that the (Department of Transportation) issue an exemption for livestock haulers for a period of five years but no less than two years, which would allow stakeholders and policy-makers to make further adjustments to these requirements," Yoho wrote in the letter.
The new ELD rules were set to go into effect on Dec. 18, 2017, but livestock groups helped secure a 90-day waiver for livestock haulers.
Another letter, co-authored by Reps. Steve King (R., Iowa) and Brian Babin (R., Texas) and signed by 24 members of the House, was sent to Cathy Gautreaux, deputy administrator of the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in support of the ELD exemption for small trucking businesses with exemplary safety records.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. sought the waiver and is “reasonably constructed to ensure only motor carriers defined by the Small Business Administration as a small trucking business would qualify for relief from the $2 billion mandate, the letter said.
“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, but as the Department of Transportation begins examining the numerous applications for exemptions and waivers, it’s important we weigh into that process,” said Rep. Kristi Noem (R., S.D.), who signed the letter. “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,” she said.
Noem co-sponsored legislation to delay the ELD mandate for two years to provide additional time for impact studies.
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,” the letter noted.