A recent study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) claims that there are “clear safety benefit(s)” to using electronic logging devices (ELDs). The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) takes issue with that conclusion, saying that the study lacks relevant data to prove its point.
In the FMCSA ELD study, the organization said that ELDs could lower crash rates by 11.7% and could lower preventable crash rates by 5.1%. The conclusion was based on the idea that logging devices would boost hours of service compliance, which would then reduce fatigue and fatigue-related crashes. On the HOS front, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has released a document outlining their disagreements with the FMCSA as well.
OOIDA believes the FMCSA study “in no way” represents the small- or mid-sized carriers, and the FMCSA does recognize that in their report, though still stands by their data. The agency noted in their report that the data was “skewed” toward larger carriers. According to the FMCSA, 97% of all fleets have 20 or fewer trucks while 90% of all fleets have six trucks or less.
OOIDA also believes the data has errors, in addition to being incomplete.
“The study’s conclusion is flawed because it included all other types of crashes except those that supposedly would be prevented with electronic logging devices,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA Executive Vice President.
OOIDA also points out that the FMCSA admits to not having data to find any safety benefits when comparing DOT-recordable or fatigue-related crashes. Fewer than 12,000 of the 83,000 crashes between 2008 and 2012 were recordable by the DOT, and 987 of those were fatigue related. OOIDA’s response is that if those numbers are accurate, those carriers don’t need ELDs, but rather they need to be removed from the road.
“The possible changes that hold the most promise in improving highway safety are things like driver training, better working environments, support systems and safe parking,” said Spender. “We’d like to see well-trained drivers put into trucks instead of unproven technology. It is the hallmark of a bureaucracy to embrace billion-dollar mandates in the name of safety while all but ignoring the absence of basic driver training for new drivers entering the industry.”
One study showed that the ELD mandate would cause 71% of small fleet drivers to leave the trucking industry entirely. Another article showed why the mandate will be a good thing for truck drivers. With so many conflicting opinions, the FMCSA has extended the public comment period to the mandate to June 26. If you’d like to make a comment, you can do so in a number of ways:
Visit www.regulations.gov, using docket number FMCSA-2010-0167
Send to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line, “Attention: Desk Officer for FMCSA, DOT
Send to 202-395-6566 using docket number FMCSA-2010-0167
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget
725 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20503
ATTN: Desk Officer, FMCSA, DOT
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