UPS wants the option of using AOBRDs in new vehicles beyond December 2017, but says all trucks will meet the 2019 deadline to transition to ELDs. (Photo: UPS)

UPS seeks technical exemptions from ELD mandate

June 12, 2017
Company says requests would save money without hurting safety.

United Parcel Service (UPS) has asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for technical exemptions to the electronic logging mandate scheduled for implementation in December.

The company said the requests would save money while not having any negative effect on highway safety. FMCSA is accepting public comment on the requests until July 10.

First, the Atlanta-based company is asking for a tweak to the timetable for fleets using compliant automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs). They can legally be used until December 2019, if already installed on a vehicle. UPS said the decision to permit "grandfathering" only on a vehicle, and not a fleet-wide, basis is problematic as it moves forward with plans to purchase new trucks and complete a transition to electronic logging devices (ELDs) on a site-by-site basis.

“If no temporary exemption were granted, large carriers would be required to use ELDs in all of the new tractors delivered after Dec. 18. 2017. The result would be that UPS facilities that had not been converted as of that date would have both vehicles using ELDs at the same time,” the company said.

In order to more easily complete the transition, UPS has requested approval to allow the installation of AOBRDs on new trucks delivered after December, while also ensuring all vehicles will be fully ELD-compliant by the December 2019 deadline.

UPS also is seeking an exemption from the requirement that ELDs automatically record data when a driver indicates a change of duty status, and when an authorized user logs into or out of an ELD. UPS said as part of its agreement with the Teamsters union, drivers use electronic devices to record work beyond driving, which could include attending safety meetings or training.

“UPS cannot both comply with the requirement that an ELD record tractor data when a driver logs in or out (or otherwise changes duty status while outside of the vehicle) and also comply with our bargaining unit contract and pay guidelines for our drivers” the company said.   

In addition, UPS requested a temporary exemption for a special driving mode for yard moves that will not require a driver to repeatedly indicate that status.

“The ELD rule would require drivers to manually change duty status twice for every move they complete in the yard, which could mean entering manual changes as many as 20 times in an hour,” UPS said.

The carrier said approval of an exemption to remain in yard move status under specific speed and geo-fence parameters, it could save could save more than $450,000 with no safety downside.

Finally, UPS is seeking an alteration to the requirement an ELD automatically record data when the engine is powered up or powered down. The company said it uses 1,434 people to wash or fuel vehicles, who often move commercial vehicles strictly within UPS yards.

“Therefore, insofar as the ELD regulations would require recordation of engine data for in yard operation of UPS vehicles by non-driver employees, that requirement would impose a significant burden on UPS. While it would be possible to provide these employees with portable ELDs to record engine data, doing so would be extremely costly,” the company said.

It estimates the cost would top $1 million dollars, and it is seeking an alternative approach to track vehicle usage by wash and fuel employees on company property, such as exempting vehicle usage when travel is less than 1 mile.

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