The truck driving industry has gone through many changes due to regulatory mandates, and one of the most sweeping moves yet will take place this December.
As paper logbooks are left behind in favor of electronic logging devices, the consensus in the freight industry is that not all are in favor of this move. While some large carriers and trucking organizations have agreed with safety advocates on the merit of the bill, others claim it will cause more problems than it fixes.
The purpose of the mandate was to stop drivers from falsifying logs in order to exceed their allowed hours of service. But the complaints continue to pour in, with some complaining about privacy concerns and others warning of a move to push smaller players out of the industry.
Though the protests continue to roll on, drivers haven’t received the full repeal they’ve been hoping for. However, one organization was granted an exemption on the grounds that their business structure warrants it.
The Truck Renting and Leasing Association (TRALA) has received an exemption for short-term truck rentals. Trucks that are rented for a period of eight days or less will not be required to use ELDs. TRALA officials had noted the ELD mandate could spell trouble for their organization, originally campaigning for a 30-day exemption period.
The original proposal was rejected, as lawmakers deemed the period too long. They also noted it could provide drivers with more chances to violate HOS rules.
The eight-day period was decided on according to a condition of the ELD mandate. Drivers are tasked with reconstructing their on-duty status for the current day and one week prior in the event their device malfunctions.
Jake Jacoby, TRALA’s president, said: “We’re not thrilled with the decision, but it’s better than nothing. But for short-term rentals, the vast majority are more than eight days, and certainly more than 95% of them are for 30 days or less.”
Groups that are in favor of the exemption include the Truckload Carriers Association as well as the American Trucking Association. Those in opposition include the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association.
Some of those on the opposing side may see short-term exemptions as a sign that the ELD mandate will pass for the vast majority of the industry in its current form. For self-employed drivers and smaller fleets, this is seen as a major setback and even a potential job killer.
TRALA has many members, including U-Haul, Enterprise Truck Rental, Ryder System, and more. The organization has approximately 500 companies as members, operating over 5,000 commercial renting and leasing locations for thousands of consumers across North America.
TRALA officials have mentioned their desire to speak with FMCSA officials to get the deadline extended to the original proposition of 30 days. While officials have declined to comment on the prospective change, a TRALA petition in March drew over 400 participants, and showed a 95% approval rating for the exemption to electronic logging devices in short-term rentals.