Private Motor Carrier

State attorneys general warned about enforcement confusion of ELD mandate

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has requested top officials from each state seriously review potential problems anticipated with enforcement of an impending federal trucking mandate requiring electronic logging devices on large trucks. The letter from OOIDA to all state attorneys general is copied to representatives in each state for the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program, a federal grant program that provides financial assistance to states.

The letter from OOIDA says that public statements made by FMCSA, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, various state enforcement agencies, and others show there is a widespread misunderstanding of the legal obligations imposed upon carriers and drivers under the ELD regulations. In particular, OOIDA is concerned about potential misinterpretations of the mandate’s exemptions for older model trucks.

“The FMCSA website offers confusing and contradictory information on what models of trucks are obligated to employ ELDs under the rule,” said Todd Spencer, Executive VP.

The letter describes how OOIDA contacted over 15 states’ commercial motor vehicle enforcement agencies to ask if there was consensus on how to enforce this ELD exemption. “There was none,” says the OOIDA letter. “The states have taken positions that range from following the plain language of the rule, to following FMCSA’s guidance, to an approach similar to CVSA’s and, in some cases, to taking no position yet.”

The letter and an accompanying document points out that the mandate increases the amount of data available to law enforcement, suggesting that states should adopt new statutes to protect privacy of drivers and limit the use of data to hours of service compliance determinations only. The ELD mandate is estimated to cost impacted stakeholders more than $2 billion annually, making it one of the most expensive federal transportation rulemakings over the last decade.