OOIDA: Not all states have authority to enforce ELD mandate

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | 8/29/2017

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has filed a petition to limit state enforcement of federal regulations until states are brought into full compliance with a federal funding program.

The petition, filed Tuesday, Aug. 29, alleges that there are 26 states that have not incorporated the electronic log final rule into state law. The petition contends that until that happens states are not authorized to enforce the mandate.

The problem doesn’t stop with the upcoming electronic logging mandate. It applies to many, many more federal regulations.

The background
The FMCSA administers the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program grant program. Participating states in that program receive $168 million in grants to fund enforcement of the federal motor carrier regulations. Participating states are required as part of the program to incorporate the federal regulations or their equivalent into state law. 

States have three years to incorporate new regulations into their respective state codes. However, according to OOIDA, enforcement is prohibited until the new federal law is an official part of the state laws on the books.

The problem
There are too many states out of compliance with the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program and that results in enforcement of “nonexistent state laws” in some states.

In 2016, 95 percent of motor carrier and driver enforcement violations were issued by MCSAP participating states, according to OOIDA’s petition.

“We are concerned about numerous states issuing citations for the violation of nonexistent state laws,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer.

For example, Delaware has not updated its incorporation of the FMCSRs since 2006, while Arizona last updated in 2012 and Kansas in 2013.

Specifically, the petition points out there are 26 states that have not adopted the electronic log final rule. Highlighting the scope of the situation, OOIDA also lists 20 states that have not adopted the 30-minute rest break rule, which was finalized in October 2013.

“That means that new regulations and amendments to old regulations promulgated by FMCSA since the last incorporation date for these states are not part of state law,” Spencer said.

“We know that state enforcement officers lack the training and equipment to operate in an ELD environment. This lack of preparedness should come as no surprise given that half the states have not even adopted FMCSA’s ill-conceived ELD rule into state law.

“No state law enforcement should be implementing the ELD mandate until they adopt the mandate into state law and train and equip their enforcement personnel to enforce it properly.”

‘Reset button’
The OOIDA petition calls for the agency to freeze funding to the states participating in the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program that remain noncompliant.

“Participating MCSAP states should cut their exposure to litigation for improper enforcement practices by limiting enforcement actions to provisions of the (federal regulations) that they have actually adopted into state law,” OOIDA’s petition states.

“It is clearly time to press the ‘reset button’ on MCSAP and start restoring order to this untidy mess.”

In addition to a freeze in funding to the noncompliant MCSAP partner states, OOIDA’s petition calls for a “freeze in the status quo,” particularly with respect to the ELD mandate, until it restores order to its administration of this MCSAP program.

Copyright © OOIDA