June 12, 2018

The ELD mandate could change hours-of-service rules, Raymond Martinez tells Congress

The ELD mandate could change hours-of-service rules, Raymond Martinez tells Congress

The FMCSA head Raymond Martinez recently told Congressional lawmakers that the electronic logging device mandate could trigger changes to current hours-of-service regulations.

Although Raymond Martinez didn’t indicate any specific portions of the hours-of-service rules that the Agency is planning on changing, he did mention that some flexibility could be added to current HOS regs. According to Raymond, the FMCSA has been exploring the idea of making hours-of-service rules more flexible by gathering valuable input from carriers, drivers, and other industry stakeholders.

Martinez said, “Let’s look at hours of service and see whether some modifications — not extending the hours — but providing some flexibility in the current rules. We are engaging with our stakeholders in the regulated community and safety advocates to see what would be acceptable.”

Raymond Martinez discussed a wide variety of important topics when he testified before the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on May 22. The topics included hours-of-service rules and ELDs, sleep apnea screening, the FMCSA’s medical examiner registry, the CSA reforms, and detention time.

National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners

The National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners’ website is still down following a hacking attempt in December 2017. Martinez pointed out that it can still be “a matter of months” before the platform becomes completely functional.

When hackers attempted to access the system, the agency decided to put the platform offline to fix its security issues and vulnerabilities. Martinez also assured everyone that no personal information was compromised during the hacking attempt.

“Somebody attempted to get in the front door,” Martinez said. “They got in through the screen door, but they did not get into the system itself. They were not able to access any personally identifiable information. There’s an active community of hackers out there, and I don’t know what they’re going for. But personally identifiable information is a target.”

Sleep apnea screening

Regarding sleep apnea screening, Raymond Martinez told the lawmakers that the agency currently has no plans to alter the guidelines that are used for screening drivers.

Martinez said, “It’s up to examiners to determine whether [drivers] exhibit factors of OSA.”

He also added, “We are relying on the medical training of the doctors and medical professionals that currently do the medical evaluations of drivers.”

CSA reforms

The FMCSA is also evaluating the recommendations by the National Academies of Science to overhaul their CSA program.

According to Martinez, the study is currently being examined by the FMCSA, and that the Agency is looking to submit a report to Congress on how to best proceed with the recommendations.

Detention time

While Martinez has yet to come up with an established strategy to regulate excessive detention — which he calls “an abuse of the driver” — he is looking into using ELDs as a possible solution to addressing the problem. “In an odd way, electronic logging devices may provide some ray of light here. Not for FMCSA, but for the industry, to gather industry-wide information to see how widespread is this problem,” Martinez said.

He also added, “If they (carriers) were to voluntarily provide that information to FMCSA, we would be happy to review it.”

Detention time is a major problem for commercial drivers. Fortunately, the situation is changing in favor of truckers after the implementation of the ELD mandate. Electronic logging devices provide crucial information and data that we can use to highlight the detention problem and propose meaningful and helpful solutions.

By analyzing KeepTruckin ELD data, we found that 75% of drivers are detained at a pickup or drop off location for more than 2 hours every week. After detention, 32% of drivers drive faster to make up for lost time, resulting in increased frequency and severity of accidents.

To eliminate the safety risk, KeepTruckin proposed to change the hours-of-service rules and allow drivers to extend the 14-hour limit to 16 hours if they are detained by a shipper or receiver for more than 2 hours.

What’s next?

The implementation of the ELD mandate is helping important conversations about the effectiveness of the current hours-of-service regulations. With the help of empirical data, the trucking industry is in a much better position to call for changes in the regulations that would be better for commercial drivers and the overall trucking industry.

Based on what Raymond Martinez told the lawmakers, it seems like the FMCSA is also planning to use the information and data that ELDs provide and change the hours-of-service rules accordingly.

For more information, stay tuned.

And to ensure compliance with hours-of-service regulations, use the KeepTruckin ELD solution.

The KeepTruckin ELD is FMCSA-compliant, feature-rich, and starts at just $20 per month with no additional charges.

If you have any questions about the KeepTruckin ELD, give us a call at 855-434-ELOG or send us an email at support@keeptruckin.com.

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