A pair of OOIDA board members were on site in two different cities last week for two sessions of FMCSA’s hastily announced “road show.” Among the agency’s topics was electronic logging devices.
OOIDA Life Member Chuck Paar, of Mount Jewett, Pa., drove 300 miles to attend the agency’s session on Aug. 15 in Collegeville, Pa. Land Line contributing editor John Bendel also provided coverage of the event.
When given the opportunity to speak, Paar said he gave his qualifications – including his 44 years in trucking – to voice his opposition to the ELD mandate as being unnecessary and costly.
“By (FMCSA’s) own studies and statistics, those companies that have started using ELDs have seen no increase in safety benefit,” he said in an interview with Land Line Now. “The human factor and common sense has been taken out of the equation.
“Until those people who are making the rules, who are implementing the rules, and who are enforcing the rules, get back to realizing who we are… you will not see an improvement in safety or compliance, which by the way are not synonymous,” Paar said.
Paar said FMCSA’s response to his comments suggested “they did not expect nor did they want trucking input.”
“Their mind is made up. They’re not backing up on this one iota,” he said. “Their rubber-stamped response is ‘We didn’t make the rule. We were charged with implementing it and enforcing it... We are just following the law that Congress put forth.’”
OOIDA Life Member Lewie Pugh said he had a similar experience in Denver at FMCSA’s final road show event on Aug. 17.
Pugh was one of a handful of drivers who were able to attend the event, which also included members of the law enforcement communities.
“I was happy they allowed us talk. They allowed us to answer questions, which I think was a good deal. They gave us all a chance to talk,” he said.
Pugh said the event included a Q&A with Bill Quade, FMCSA associate administrator for enforcement. Those questions included whether or not an hours-of-service change would be forthcoming to allow greater flexibility with ELDs (Pugh said that answer was a resounding “no”); and a clarification that the exemption for pre-2000 trucks goes by engine year rather than model year.
Another question that came up in Denver was why FMCSA is allowing manufacturers to self-certify their own logging devices rather than having the agency certify them.
Pugh said FMCSA’s response was that self-certification is an industry norm, and that if a manufacturer is found to be producing a noncompliant ELD, they must notify all their customers. Drivers will have eight days to get it a recalled device replaced or fixed. Large carriers will be able to file for an extension on the eight-day period if they have too many trucks to get it fixed in that time period.
Paar and Pugh are both members of the OOIDA Board of Directors.
News reporter Mary McKenna contributed to this report.
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