As the compliance date for the ELD mandate looms ever closer, opponents of the regulation have filed for repeals, delays, and waivers. They’ve mostly come from truckers, small carriers, and trade associations. This past week however, a new ELD opponent appeared in the ring: The state of Indiana.
Curtis T. Hill Jr., the Attorney General for Indiana, has sent an open letter to FMCSA Chief Counsel Randi Hutchinson asking that the ELD compliance date be delayed by 90 days. According to Hill, going forward with the current December 18th compliance date would “place undue burdens on drivers and operators.”
While it may be surprising to see an Attorney General throw his hat in the ring, if it were going to happen, it makes sense that he’d be from Indiana. According to Hill, nearly 200,000 truckers call Indiana home and one in 14 jobs in Indiana are related to the trucking industry. So if the ELD mandate does indeed cause as many issues as some fear, Indiana could feel that impact greatly.
Hill’s letter, dated November 29th, brings up a whole host of unresolved issues, but focuses first on the problem of ELD providers “’self-certifying’ their compliance.” Hill claims that since the government has provided insufficient oversight on which devices are and are not compliant, there’s no way for drivers to know if the “ELD-compliant” devices they’re purchasing do in fact meet federal standards.
Even if the manufacturers are attempting to be above-board about their compliance, there are multiple ways that they can fall short. Hill cites “extremely complex” technical specifications that “can be interpreted differently by individual manufacturers” as well as manuals provided to manufacturers that refer to sections of FMCSA’s website that say only “coming soon.”
The full list of complaints – which you can read in Hill’s letter here – is quite long, but Hill sums it up nicely toward the end saying:
“At present, too many questions surround the mandates with which drivers and operators will be expected to comply. As the deadline for compliance quickly nears, even a cursory perusal of industry trade publications provides clear evidence that many drivers and operators are completely unprepared for the proposed changes.
Recently the FMCSA has granted a few waivers, including a 90-day waiver for some ag haulers. Whether a state attorney general weighing in on behalf of truckers will sway the FMCSA to extend such waiver even further is unclear. According to Heavy Duty Trucking however, FMCSA Director of External Affairs Sharon Worthy said that “FMCSA is operating under a statutorily designated deadline for ELD implementation.”