March 1, 2024

FMCSA considering ELD exemption from ‘inactive’ trucker

Federal regulators are considering an ELD exemption for a truck driver who claims his money would be better spent on other safety issues.

Arbert Ibraimi, a Chicago-area owner-operator, is requesting that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration relieve him of the ELD requirement until Oct. 9  because buying an ELD “is virtually only practical for companies that have multiple CMV’s,” he wrote in his October 2023 application, posted by FMCSA on Thursday. Ibraimi stated he would use paper logs to record his hours of service in the meantime.

Because he is a “one-man operation with limited funds,” the money, Ibraimi wrote, “could be invested in the safer operation of the organization by investing it in the monitoring of high safety standards” and “a safety management control system that the company would benefit more from in its beginning stages, e.g., training on current safety topics” such as automatic emergency braking.

In explaining how he would ensure an equivalent or greater level of safety if he were granted an exemption — which is required in an FMCSA exemption request — Ibraimi did not address the safety benefits of ELDs compared with paper logs or with his other planned safety investments. “Since it’s only the owner that will be driving the CMV, the operational safety impact will be virtually identical and manageable,” he stated.

Ibraimi could not be reached for comment. The U.S. DOT number provided in his application registered as “inactive” in FMCSA’s safety database, and the company name, GTLM Transport Inc., was not found in the system.

FMCSA did not comment on the specifics of Ibraimi’s application. The agency confirmed there are three ELD-related exemptions currently in effect, to members of the Motion Picture Association, the Truck Renting and Leasing Association, and the American Pyrotechnics Association.

The ELD rule went into effect in December 2017 (December 2019 for carriers that had already been using ELD-style equipment) and allows only limited exceptions, including for short-haul carriers and for those operating pre-2000 model-year trucks.

The cost to comply with the rule, particularly for small-business operators, was considered extensively by the agency. Prices for a range of ELDs recently rated by Forbes Advisor were $100 to $250, or free devices that charged a $20-to-$25-per-month service fee.

FMCSA revokes five ELDs

In a related notice, FMCSA announced it had revoked five ELD models from its list of registered ELD devices for failing to meet minimum functional specifications:

Source: FMCSA

Carriers have up to 60 days to replace the revoked ELDs with compliant devices. “Beginning April 28, 2024, motor carriers who continue to use the revoked devices listed above will be considered as operating without an ELD,” FMCSA stated.

The agency said it will place the ELDs back on the list of registered devices and inform the industry if the companies correct the deficiencies.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.

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