The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is making a push for exemptions to the FMCSA mandate for electronic logging devices, which went into effect at the end of 2017. OOIDA claims that independent operators and small trucking companies will be severely impacted by the mandate and could stand to lose a lot of revenue.

The Timing Was All Wrong

The ELD mandate hit its deadline in the middle of last December, at the height of the holiday shipping season. Once the new year hit, the trucking industry entered its two historically slowest months. For independent drivers and small fleets, this means the impact of purchasing and installing electronic logging devices may not “pay for itself” with the revenue earned in this period, after overhead costs. The exemption proposed by OOIDA would make it unnecessary for owner operators and small fleets to need ELDs, or at the very least, they might receive an extension to a date when it is more financially feasible.

OOIDA Claims Precedent Has Already Been Set

To bolster their push for exemptions, OOIDA points to exemptions already laid out by the FMCSA. The agriculture industry, which typically transports goods directly from farms to customers and distributors, is not required by the FMCSA to use electronic logging devices. Similarly, local drivers in the agricultural industry, or those businesses that deliver perishable goods within a certain radius do not have to adhere to the restricted hours laid out by the ELD mandate. OOIDA claims that owner operators who do not make long hauls, serve local businesses, and do not have to deal with national ratings, should not be subject to the restrictions of electronic logging devices.

Soft Enforcement

As things stand, the FMCSA has stated that strict enforcement of the ELD mandate will not start until April. It is possible that by that point, everyone will have enough data to see if mandatory electronic logging devices have made an improvement to the trucking industry as a whole. The hope of the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association is to have their proposal reviewed by then. They submitted the proposal in January of this year, and received a lot of positive feedback. As this develops, the team at Express Freight Finance will post it here.