LITTLE ROCK. After years of delays and challenges, the final rule mandating electronic logging devices will be published “sometime this month,” Dave Osiecki, American Trucking Assns. (ATA) senior vice president of policy and regulatory affairs, told attendees at the 2015 Safety, Security and Human Resources National Conference here this week.
“We’ve been waiting on this rule forever: Where is it, why is it taking so long?” Osiecki said. “We’re pretty confident that November is still the publication date.”
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulation final rule is currently under review by the White House Office of Management and Budget, where it’s been since July 30.
ATA, which has long advocated for e-logs, anticipates a two-year window to comply with the regulation, along with a four-year “grandfather” window to allow current electronic logging systems to be brought up the new specification.
“If you’re really hot to get this rule out because your competition doesn’t have ELDs, trust us, it’s going to happen—just be patient for few more weeks,” Osiecki emphasized. “We really do think that this administration is committed to getting this out.”
A speed-limiter mandate for large trucks, another ATA policy priority since 2009, is getting nowhere fast, however.
“Unfortunately, this administration took until 2011 before they decided to accept the petition and move forward with the rulemaking,” Osiecki said.
The proposed rule, coming from FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has also been tied up at OMB “for months and months.”
“There just doesn’t seem to be an appetite to slow speed. We are a country of mobility,” he said. “We spend millions of dollars on safety every year—on tools, technology. But as a government, we don’t seem to want to tackle one of our biggest causes and contributing factors to crashes, and that’s speed.”
The critical unknown is the speed setting in the proposal. ATA has asked for a 65mph limit.
As to progress on an increase in minimum financial responsibility for carriers, FMCSA has yet to move beyond the information gathering phase of the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) completed earlier this year.
“If you’re concerned about the minimum insurance limits being raised on trucking, don’t be—at least not yet,” Osiecki said. “If you want them raised, don’t hold your breath, because it’s not going to happen any time soon.”
The proposal stemmed from the efforts of “a previous administrator,” Osiecki suggested, likely designed to “appease some groups that were pushing hard on FMCSA.”
ATA “sees no reason” for an increase at this point, pending data that demonstrates one is needed.
Among other topics touched on by Osiecki:
- Phase II truck fuel efficiency/greenhouse gas emissions standard: “The objective is appropriate. How to get there is the challenge.”
- Compliance, Safety, Accountability: “There’s a lot of pressure on FMCSA to take CSA out of just enforcement and oversight, and put it in the regulatory arena to use the system to determine safety ratings. We at ATA have a lot of heartburn with this because we know as an industry CSA doesn’t work at an individual carrier level.” The NPRM has been under review at OMB since June 23.
- Drug and alcohol test clearinghouse: “We’ve been talking about this for 15 years. But we’re not an advocate for the DOT approach. It’s incomplete. It’s an 80% solution. What that means for you on the HR side and on the safety side is you will pull [driver background information] from the clearinghouse, but you may also have to go back to previous employers for other violations not in the clearinghouse. That makes zero sense to us. We need to figure out how to get this clearinghouse to be a one-stop shop.”