The Small Business in Transportation Coalition ( Endorses the ‘‘Small Carrier Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act of 2018’’ (HR 5948) Bill

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Transportation industry trade group ( representing small motor carriers and independent truckers applauds proposed legislation that would exempt the smallest players from the electronic logging device mandate.

It is no secret that the real purpose of the ELD Mandate is to attack small business carriers by "driving" up their costs, costs that can easily be absorbed by the large and mega carriers but are burdensome on the smallest businesses. --James Lamb, SBTC President

The Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC), a 501(c)(6) non-profit transportation industry trade group, has announced it has endorsed the proposed ‘‘Small Carrier Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act of 2018’’ (HR 5948), a bill introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives last week that would relieve up to 90% of the trucking industry from the new Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate imposed in December 2017 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency of the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), the group's spokesman and president, James Lamb (@JamesPLamb), said today. The bill exempts motor carriers that own or operate 10 trucks or less.

According to a May 23, 2018 press release issued by the office of Congressman Greg Gianforte (R-MT), Mr. Gianforte and Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN) have introduced the bipartisan legislation to help remove the burden of electronic logs and enable small motor carriers and independent truckers to revert back to paper logs to track their hours of service. According to Federal Regulations codified at 49 CFR Part 395, truck drivers cannot drive more than 11 hours following 10 consecutive off duty hours. Interstate truck drivers around the country have been protesting the new regulation for six months citing the additional cost, unreliability of the new technology, and driver privacy concerns, Lamb said. "As many seasoned interstate drivers have left trucking over the ELD mandate, and the industry cannot replace them fast enough, the supply chain is being adversely affected. As shipping costs rise, consumers should prepare for higher prices," Lamb asserted.

According to the website, the SBTC filed a class exemption application with FMCSA seeking to exempt motor carriers with 50 or less employees on November 20, 2017. That application was later supplemented at the request of FMCSA on February 1, 2018. According to Lamb, the SBTC has filed a "comment" with the U.S. Small Business Administration's Ombudsman asking for help dealing with the FMCSA, pointing to how the agency is required to publish the application in the Federal Register "upon receipt" under Federal Law, which states:

"49 U.S. Code § 31315 - Waivers, exemptions, and pilot programs
(6)Notice and comment.—
(A)Upon receipt of a request.—
Upon receipt of an exemption request, the Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register (or, in the case of a request for an exemption from the physical qualification standards for commercial motor vehicle drivers, post on a web site established by the Secretary to implement the requirements of section 31149) a notice explaining the request that has been filed and shall give the public an opportunity to inspect the safety analysis and any other relevant information known to the Secretary and to comment on the request. This subparagraph does not require the release of information protected by law from public disclosure (emphases added)."

Lamb said he argues in the SBA Comment that FMCSA has not published the application in over six months and skirted the impact of the ELD rule on the smallest players during rulemaking, lumping one man trucking operations into the same category as $28 million motor carrier operations. He said the SBTC's 14,000 dues-paying membership welcomes the new legislation as a means to override the SBTC's exemption attempts at the administrative agency level as a matter of law.

"It is no secret that the real purpose of the ELD Mandate is to attack small business carriers by "driving" up their costs, costs that can easily be absorbed by the large and mega carriers but are burdensome on the smallest businesses. What boggles the mind is that the FMCSA, in its infinite wisdom, has created a regulatory scheme that ignores a Congressional mandate in the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act for FMCSA to establish certification criteria and allows ELD manufacturers to simply "self-certify" their products in furtherance of a program that was created to prevent drivers from self-certifying their compliance with hours of service regulations. That's a lazy short cut. And to suggest that ELD manufacturers are more responsible and trustworthy to self certify than truckers is absurd and downright insulting," Lamb said.

Lamb said the SBTC's registered lobbyist, Laurence Socci of Influence Strategies @Influenstrategy, met with the Honorable Collin Peterson's staff last week to recommend amended bill language to better define a commercial motor vehicle as a self-propelled power unit for the purpose of qualifying for the exemption so that 10 trucks do not become 5. "Otherwise, FMCSA will count trailers as one of the 10 trucks and we are left with an exemption that applies to only 5 tractor-trailers," Lamb said.

For more about Lamb, the SBTC and its issues, click here.

Small Business in Transportation Coalition
1775 I. (Eye) Street, NW, Suite 1150
Washington, DC 20006

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