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SBTC to FMCSA: Reconsider denial of ELD exemption application for small carriers

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The Small Business Transportation Coalition said it believes that the exemption from the ELD rule for motor carriers with fewer that 50 employees would not have any adverse impacts on operational safety as motor carriers and drivers would remain subject to the Hours of Service regulations as well as the requirements to maintain paper records of duty status. (Courtesy: J.J. KELLER)

WASHINGTON — The Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) has asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to reconsider its application for exemption from the electronic logging device rule. The exemption application was denied by the agency on July 17.

The SBTC says it is a network of over 15,000 transportation professionals, associations and industry suppliers who seek to promote and protect the small business players in the transportation industry.

The FMCSA said the SBTC had resubmitted its application for exemption from the ELD requirements for all motor carriers with fewer than 50 employees, including, but not limited to, one-person private and for-hire owner-operators of commercial motor vehicles used in interstate commerce.

SBTC said it believed that the exemption would not have any adverse impacts on operational safety as motor carriers and drivers would remain subject to the Hours of Service regulations as well as the requirements to maintain paper records of duty status (RODs).

In a Federal Register notice published Tuesday, the FMCSA is requesting public comment on SBTC’s application for reconsideration.

In its original application for exemption that was denied by FMCSA, the SBTC said the ELD rule is not a “safety regulation”’ per se as the FMCSA had concluded.

Rather, the SBTC said, the ELD rule is a mechanism intended to enforce a safety regulation by regulating the manner in which a driver records and communicates his compliance. That is, it is merely a tool to determine compliance with an existing rule that regulates over-the-road drivers’ driving and on duty time.

The FMCSA said it received more than 1,900 comments on the SBTC’s original application for exemption, most of which favored granting the exemption, but the agency denied the application and listed these reasons for denial:

  • Failing to provide the name of the individual or motor carrier that would be responsible for the use or operation of CMVs under the exemption
  • Failing to provide an estimate of the total number of drivers and CMVs that would be operated under the terms and conditions of the exemption.
  • Failing to explain how an equivalent level of safety would be achieved.

In its request for reconsideration, the FMCSA said the SBTC provided responses.

According to SBTC, the reason for not providing an estimate of the number of drivers and CMVs that would be operating under the exemption is that SBTC is a trade group, not a single carrier. The SBTC argued that a trade group would not know the number of employees eligible for the exemption.

The SBTC deferred that question to the agency because FMCSA is the custodian of MCS-150 industry data and the SBTC believes that it has identified the percentage of carriers that would be affected by the exemption but does not know a way to extrapolate the number of drivers from the estimated 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S. without deferring to FMCSA for that information.

To ensure an equivalent level of safety, the SBTC suggested a return to paper logs.

“Paper logs were deemed sufficient to ensure adequate levels of safety for generations, more than 80 years,” the SBTC said in the application for reconsideration. “And the FMCSA has already issued numerous exemptions that require carriers to revert to tracking their Hours of Service using paper logs in lieu of ELDs.”

The agency said the SBTC supported its argument with the belief that ELDs have caused reckless speeding and pose national security threats.

The SBTC said it was urging the FMCSA to look carefully at the unintended consequences of the ELD rule when deciding whether or not to grant the exemption. SBTC also suggested that FMCSA temporarily grant the exemption “if for no other reason than to press the pause button while the FMCSA studied these “unintended consequences and their adverse effects on safety. “We contend this would indeed achieve a greater level of overall safety than the current status quo.,” the SBTC said.

To submit comments online, go to www.regulations.gov and put the docket number FMCSA-2019-0239′ in the “Keyword”’ box, and click “Search.”’ When the new screen appears, click on “Comment Now!”’ button and type your comment into the text box in the following screen. Choose whether you are submitting your comment as an individual or on behalf of a third party and then click submit.

 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. JAMES LAMB

    November 10, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    To file a comment in support of the SBTC ELD Exemption Application (Round 2), click this link: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=FMCSA-2019-0239-0001 A simple comment like “I support the SBTC’s ELD exemption request” is all you really need to say.

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Werner Logistics recognized as Enterprise Business of Year at tech celebration

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Members of the Werner Logistics team include (front row) Rajan Bhattarai, Stacey Richter, Marina Brown, Vajra Anugu, Lavanya Gudimetla, Kim Smith, Padmaja Ravipati and Manoj Eedara; (back row) Andy Damkroger, Ronnie Thomas, Johnny Boykin and O’Brien Chin.  (Courtesy: WERNER ENTERPRISES)

OMAHA, Neb. — Werner Enterprises, a transportation and logistics provider, has been recognized as the Enterprise Business of the Year at the 2019 AIM Tech Celebration.

Werner associate Marina Brown was also named the Tech Champion of the Year.

“Werner Logistics continues to show our ability to differentiate the Werner portfolio with creative and innovative solutions,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Derek Leathers. “It is especially important to acknowledge our talent and culture because without them none of these groundbreaking achievements are possible.”

Leathers said Werner Logistics was named Enterprise Business of the Year for its outstanding application of technology. Other criteria included innovative product/project deployment, groundbreaking ideas or implementations or an outstanding return on technology investment.

The Tech Champion of the Year Award is a special recognition conferred by the Tech Celebration award committee to an individual or group who has contributed their time and talents to AIM and other tech community initiatives to develop tech awareness and skills in others. Brown is an Application Development Manager at Werner.

The AIM Institute, headquartered in Omaha, is an innovative not-for-profit that grows, connects and inspires the tech talent community through career development and educational programs. Through these efforts, the AIM Institute improves thousands of lives across the Silicon Prairie.

Werner Enterprises was founded in 1956.

For more information, visit www.werner.com.

 

 

 

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FTR’s September Shippers Conditions Index Stays in Positive Territory

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September Shippers Condition Index is unchanged over August but forecast indicate upward trend.

Bloomington, Ind.– FTR’s Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) for September remained unchanged from August at a 6.4 reading. All measures included in the SCI were positive with less favorable fuel pricing offsetting more favorable freight volume, capacity utilization, and logistics cost factors.

FTR projects the Shippers Conditions Index to trend towards neutral through 2020 as freight demand softens and capacity utilization firms. The potential impact of a global reduction in the sulfur content of marine fuel due to IMO 2020 remains a wildcard.

Todd Tranausky, vice president of rail and intermodal at FTR, commented, “Shippers’ place in the freight market remains solidly positive as the year moves into its final quarter. We expect shippers’ position in the marketplace to slowly deteriorate in 2020 as capacity tightens and freight demand recovers.”

The November issue of FTR’s Shippers Update, published November 7, 2019, details the factors affecting the September Shippers Conditions Index. Also included in November is an analysis of trucking failures, the total number of carriers operating and the effect on overall capacity.

The Shippers Conditions Index tracks the changes representing four major conditions in the U.S. full-load freight market. These conditions are: freight demand, freight rates, fleet capacity, and fuel price. The individual metrics are combined into a single index that tracks the market conditions that influence the shippers’ freight transport environment. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. A negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions. The index tells you the industry’s health at a glance. In life, running a fever is an indication of a health problem. It may not tell you exactly what’s wrong, but it alerts you to look deeper. Similarly, a reading well below zero on the FTR Trucking Conditions Index warns you of a problem…and readings high above zero spell opportunity. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment. Double digit readings (both up or down) are warning signs for significant operating changes.

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ATA For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index declines 0.3% in October

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ATA’s tonnage data is dominated by contract freight, which is performing significantly better than the plunge in spot market freight this year. (The Trucker file photo)

ARLINGTON, Va. —  The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index declined 0.3% in October after rising 1% in September. In October, the index equaled 118.1 (2015=100) compared with 118.5 in September.

“October’s tonnage change, both sequentially and year-over-year, fits with an economic outlook for more moderate growth in the fourth quarter,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The ongoing slowdown in manufacturing activity also weighed on truck tonnage last month.”

It is important to note that ATA’s tonnage data is dominated by contract freight, which is performing significantly better than the plunge in spot market freight this year.

September’s reading was revised up compared with our October press release.

Compared with October 2018, the SA index increased 1.7%, the smallest year-over-year gain since June. The index is up 3.9% year-to-date compared with the same period last year.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 125.4 in October, 8.4% above the September level (115.7). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.77 billion tons of freight in 2017. Motor carriers collected $700.1 billion, or 79.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.

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