FMCSA issues guidance on ELD compliance, gives agri transporters temporary waiver

Based on a March 9 policy announcement by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Old Dominion Freight Line has withdrawn its petition for a waiver on the electronic logging device rule. (Courtesy: OLD DOMINION)

WASHINGTON — Old Dominion Freight Line has withdrawn its petition for a temporary exemption to allow alternate electronic logging device phase-in period after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued guidance March 9 that rendered the request moot.

Old Dominion requested the exemption November 28, 2017, in order to give the carrier up to at least another year from the ELD mandate to install ELD-compliant software and to run its fleet’s automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs) in the meantime.

The modified exemption has allowed Old Dominion’s AOBRD/ELD provider, PeopleNet, to complete the development of the software necessary to integrate ELD data with the company’s fleet management and safety systems to fully meet the mandate requirements.

FMCSA was considering the request to be on behalf of all motor carriers in similar situations concerning the integration of PeopleNet’s ELD software into all its fleet management systems.

Sources told The Trucker that up to 250,000 units similar to Old Dominion are in use in the industry today.

The March 9 guidance, developed by FMCSA after consultation with carriers in the same situation as Old Dominion, allows a motor carrier that installed and required its drivers to use an AOBRD before December 18, 2017, to run compliant AOBRD software until December 16, 2019, according to Joe DeLorenzo, FMCSA’s director compliance and enforcement.

“That is exactly the policy announcement that gives us the flexibility we need to transition from our AOBRD-based fleet and safety management systems to the ELD platform and software and be able to utilize the grandfather period originally granted to early adopter fleets,” said David Congdon, Old Dominion’s vice chairman and CEO.

In a related development, the agency Tuesday announced additional steps to address what it called “the unique needs of the country’s agriculture industries” and provided further guidance to assist in the effective implementation of the ELD mandate without impeding commerce or safety.

The FMCSA revealed an additional 90-day temporary waiver from the ELD rule for agriculture-related transportation, including livestock transporters.

Additionally, during this time period, FMCSA will publish final guidance on both the agricultural 150 air-mile Hours of Service exemption and personal conveyance.

The FMCSA said it would continue its outreach to provide assistance to the agricultural industry and community regarding the ELD rule.

“We continue to see strong compliance rates across the country that improve weekly, but we are mindful of the unique work our agriculture community does and will use the following 90 days to ensure we publish more helpful guidance that all operators will benefit from,” said FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez.

DeLorenzo told reporters on a conference call Tuesday that the compliance rate was hovering at 96 percent, based on data provided by law enforcement officers throughout the country.

He noted that the agency had asked officers to document when they inspect a truck that is not ELD compliant, even though the truck will not be put out of service until April 1.


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