Ever since the ELD rule went into effect on December 18th, 2017 – and even before then – the FMCSA has been granting waivers, exemptions and delays for certain companies and segments of the industry. So, while Old Dominion being given a 90-day compliance waiver seems like business-as-usual, the reason given in the FMCSA notice might be anything but.
In their delay request, Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. claimed that the company is having difficulty adjusting to the new ELD software from their provider, PeopleNet. Because of those difficulties, they feel they should be given a delay of 90 days to get everything sorted out.
Several other carriers and trucking groups like OOIDA have made similar requests: ‘Give us a delay on this regulation until we and the ELD providers can get everything working properly and figure out how to use them safely and efficiently.’ Many of those requests were denied or are in comment period limbo.
There are many factors that go in to the FMCSA deciding on a request like this. One major factor is safety equivalency – if a request is approved, will it result in “a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained in the absence of the waiver.”
Since Old Dominion is already equipped with Automatic OnBoard Recording Devices (AOBRDs) and has been since 2011, FMCSA determined that they would be no less safe running without ELDs.
But the second criteria, whether approving the waiver “is in the public interest,” is where things get interesting.
According to FMCSA, if the waiver was not granted, Old Dominion’s operations would be interrupted. And for a company that large, an interruption would not be in the public interest.
“In the case of Old Dominion, the company has 228 service centers located throughout the Nation and operates a fleet of more than 8,500 power units. The company employs more than 10,000 company drivers. It is in the public interest to avoid disruptions to Old Dominion and other carriers’ operations and, subsequently, a disruption to the movement of a significant amount of freight. “
According to its website, OOIDA counts 160,000 truckers among its members, “who collectively own and/or operate more than 300,000 individual heavy-duty trucks and small truck fleets.”
Despite that however, OOIDA’s request for a waiver on behalf of small trucking companies still has not received a decision.
You can join the 1,000+ people who have already commented on OOIDA’s waiver request, by commenting on it here.