Mandatory E-Logs to go to White House
The final rule that mandates the use of electronic logging devices in all commercial trucks is now in the hands of the White House for final review. If the mandate is approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the rule will be publicized in the Federal Register as soon as September 30.
Not only will the e-logs be mandated, but the rule will also establish minimum performance and design standards for logging devices, requirements on supporting documents drivers have to retain, and measures to address concerns about harassment resulting from the mandatory use of the devices.
There is opposition against the mandated use of electronic logging devices that comes from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). They state that research has failed to prove the electronic devices improve highway safety or hours of service compliance over the use of paper logs. The devices can’t distinguish off-duty not driving and on-duty not driving activities, which renders the devices useless in determining actual compliance with the regulations.
OOIDA believes that the FMCSA has distorted facts and figures in order to justify the rulemaking and they plan to share it with the OMB before the ruling is over.
Scott Grenerth, director of regulatory affairs for OOIDA, said, “we hope that they will address our concerns. It would be awfully refreshing to see the agency putting in equal effort into addressing driver detention and coercion, rather than just going after every possible way they can tighten down on enforcement.”
Even if the final rule is published at the end of September, Grenerth said implementation would likely take two to three years to phase in and in that time, the agency may have petitions for reconsideration and even legal challenges can develop to fight the mandate.
OOIDA has already prevented a limited mandate that would have required the use of electronic logs by motor carriers with serious hours of service noncompliance. They presented three arguments to the court, which only got consideration through the first argument – harassment via the devices – when it vacated the rule and forced the agency to withdraw the mandate. The other two arguments have yet to be tried in court.
OOIDA vows to continue fighting against the mandatory use of electronic logs, saying they will make no more differences in safety than paper logs and may actually lead to increased fatigue and driver harassment on the highways.