Here’s what drivers say about ELDs, exemption request

Updated Jan 21, 2018

Truck drivers and others continue to express their opinions — mostly unhappy ones — about the federal rule requiring most trucks to be equipped with electronic logging devices.

The deadline for ELD installation occurred almost exactly a month ago on Dec. 18. But, but objections continue.

The Owner Operators Independent Drivers Association has asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to exempt small businesses (defined by the Small Business Administration as those with up to $27.5 million a year in revenue) who have no at-fault crashes on their record and who have a “Satisfactory” or “Conditional” from the ELD mandate.

The FMCSA is accepting public comment until Feb. 1., and can be made online.

At this point, more than 2,000 comments have been made. Here’s a random sample of some of the comments made so far.

Ralph Parks: Yes we need exemption! But, as we all obviously know FMCSA and Congress are Hell bent on putting small business truckers out of business. You people are going to do whatever you want regardless of what real people in the business with years of experience have to say. So really why bother? It’s kind of like talking to a fence post.

Joe Sprung: I’ve been on the road as a owner-operator since Jan. 1, 2006. I’ve logged over a million miles and have a perfect safety record and minimal other violations. I feel that requiring me to purchase and run an ELD is totally unnecessary and unfair. Why should I be punished for the actions of others? The vast majority of trucks crashing and being unsafe on the road are those trucks from large fleets already running ELDs trying to control there rookie drivers.

Les Mauldin: OOIDA is a great organization, but the effort to delay the ELD law is not in the best interest of their members. The ELD is a more accurate way to record duty status than the paper log is. The sooner the entire industry is using ELDs, the sooner we can have data to correct the defects in the HOS and to pinpoint the weak links in our supply chain. Granting this waiver will just keep that data hidden.

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Daniel Femstad: I am an independent owner-operator, one truck operation. I feel no exemptions are needed from ELD. The ELD runs the exact same hours of service rules as paper. The same hours of service rules we have used for years. The only reason to avoid an ELD is to continue to falsify paper logs. The ELD cost is extremely affordable compared to the cost of operation of a truck. Any cost is easy made up in less paperwork. The ELD makes roadside inspection much more convenient. And assures law enforcement that the data is accurate and untampered. I have been personally running an ELD since May of 2017. It works great for a small carrier. It cuts paperwork office time and makes recordkeeping much more efficient. By exempting some carriers from ELD you would be in effect punishing the law abiding, and rewarding the carriers that would falsify paperwork, lie and mislead law enforcement.

Ron Seaver: This mandate will not make the roads a bit safer. It will cost lives from drivers pushing before there clock runs out. The infrastructure is not in place to park these trucks. Delay this mandate . If … companies wish to run them then let them. This should not be forced on anyone. I’ve been driving for 40 years and know when to stop. Better training by those mega fleets would do more to help than anything else.

Bill Levesque: I personally don’t agree with any exemptions. Just because you are a smaller company with a good safety rating should not exempt you; it doesn’t mean you are a better driver. As an industry we have had several years to be prepared for the mandate. And, a lack of preparedness shouldn’t exempt anyone. The burden of the mandate is minimal compared to the cost of safety. If companies waited until the last minute to get an ELD and are having trouble with the equipment because they didn’t do enough research, is not a good reason for an exemption.

Allen Livingston: I am the owner of a small trucking business in Alabama. The ELD’s Has cost my company thousands of dollars that it shouldn’t have. Paper, ink, time, etc.  I also see it as invasion of privacy! Tracking people without proper reason! My company has a great safety record and very few if any violations! I have drivers with minimum 10 years experience! No accidents that are driver faults! One that was a Lady texting and driving! I feel that the exemption for small fleets and owner-operators will be very helpful! Please consider looking into this! ELDs offend me!

Zach Jones: As a driver of over 12 years. Though relatively young in the industry I’ve seen a progressive move in eliminating a person’s ability to use common sense. If faced with the decision to leave a few hours early to beat a storm or traffic or just leave extra time for problems, and to avoid the heightened number of dangers inclement weather and being in a hurry brings, the common sense decision is to do just that to leave yourself extra time. When you then put a computer on a truck that tells a driver when he can and can’t work you are now not only forcing him into more dangerous situations so that he can get his work done you put him in a heightened state of rushing to beat the clock so that he can get his work done and stay on schedule for the next day and beyond. We need to be teaching common sense not making robots which has the exact opposite effect that is being intended. It’s usually not hard to spot a driver on ELDS they are the guys still doing 75mph when the roads may or may not be icing over.

Dave Van Haitsma: I own a 40-truck fleet that my family started in 2000. We have not had a chargeable accident in 17 years, we should not be forced to do something we do not need or want. I am a firm believer that how our company acts and performs is a direct reflection on the management team and a reflection of what is important to me. Safety has always been a high priority to us and our drivers. I look for the best and I pay them accordingly because they are the best in our industry in their professions and appearances. If I operate in an unsafe manner and my CSA scores reflect it that is a direct a reflection of management and we should be made to use ELD’S . When we operate in a safe manner it should be optional if I think the ELD is right or beneficial to my company. The way you are pushing this has nothing to do with safety. Correct the fleets that need it. Let the rest of us decide if this new technology is something we want or need.

Jaime Terrazas: I’ve been driving trucks for 26 years without any accidents. This ELD mandate is very stressful and forces you to drive when tired in rush hour traffic and unsafe weather conditions. As an owner-operator it’s having a big effect on my finances also. This ELD is in no way for safety! Exempt us owner-operators and small fleets with good driving records. Don’t force this mandate on us safe and professional drivers!

Nathaniel Denham: I have been driving over the road as a owner-operator for the past 40 years , with over 4 million miles of safe driving. But since ELDs have been implemented I have almost been ran over walking across truck stop parking lots by drivers that are racing against the clock. They’re also racing through construction zones trying to make up time anywhere they can. This regulation has created safety hazards, not promoting safety at all. It also has created a economic impact on my family and my customers. This regulation is forcing drivers to drive when they really should take a nap when that moment hits them. I know for myself everyday is different, our body reacts different each day. Also in the course of the day there are so many things that happen that delay us, that enter fear with our schedule. So I’m asking you to grant us with the exemption that the OOIDA has asked for. Thank you.

Robert Manley: Any small company with 10 trucks or less should be exempt. Period! Also, the new hours of service is a disaster and needs to be replaced with the old hours of service. The problem in trucking is that we have people outside the business who keep trying to fix something that isn’t broken. I left trucking after 30 years because of government overregulation. You can’t make a living anymore. And every state looks at truckers as a source of revenue; they prey on us. Our government is not supposed to be preying on us so that they can reappropriate our money.

Brent Breedlove: As a small business owner, we constantly fight to compete with the “big guys”. Ninety percent of the year we are a local company. We’re well within a 100-mile radius of home. But that other 10 percent, there’s already so many expenses and laws to abide by. The ELD definitely hurts companies, especially the added expense to a small company. If a company can prove their safety, why should they need an ELD?

Doug Grant: I own a small eight-truck company. ELDs are going to be a major expense that I’m not sure I will pay. My drivers are not machines. They should be able to drive when they want, stop and eat when they want. If they feel tired in the middle of the day they should be allowed to take a nap without losing drive time. Since December 18 it has been really hard to find a place to park for the night. Unless you quit before 5 p.m. You are encouraging speeding, racing the clock with ELDs. You don’t even want to take time for bathroom breaks. I think it would be very wise to put off ELDs for small fleets until you work out better rules.

Brian Swinehart: I have been trucking for 20 years with over 2 million safe miles. I should not be forced to change my driving habits and sleeping routine that (have) kept me safe. … In the month that I am forced to use the technology I have been more fatigued and unsafe. If things don’t change, I will be leaving the industry that I love and live for. I am a third generation driver in my family and I have lost income and time at home because of this regulation.