The EROAD team headed down to Austin to take part in the 2018 American Trucking Association’s Management Conference & Exhibition, and the event did not disappoint. We had the chance to catch up with many of our customers and engage with the wider transportation community on the important issues facing our industry today. We also met many new people who are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of accuracy, reliability and ease-of-use in an ELD solution!

EROAD is active in ATA’s policy committees where the industry shares lessons and collaborates on solutions to help shape a better transportation environment for all of us to operate within. Here are a few key takeaways from the event:

  1. ATA’s petition for determination of preemption against CA meal and rest break rules – ATA pivoted their strategy to file a petition with FMCSA to seek preemption of CA’s redundant meal and rest break requirements. The petition relies on section 31141, title 49 of the US Code, under which the Secretary of Transportation has the authority to determine that state laws on commercial vehicle safety that conflicts with federal safety standards or burden interstate commerce may not be enforced. FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez shared his concern for a “patchwork system” across states because it raises issues of safety. FMCSA will be considering the comments submitted before making their determination on the petition.
  2.  HOS changes to be fast tracked – the FMCSA received more than 5,000 comments following the recent Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on HOS flexibility. While a great amount of data is still in review, Administrator Martinez made it clear that there would be quick movement on the reforms.
  3. FMCSA has cancelled the split sleeper berth study – the FMCSA’s plans for a pilot program to test options for sleeper berth regulations have been cancelled. At this point, there is concern for a lack of data on sleep patterns and the impact on fatigue, and FMCSA is gathering existing sleep research to help provide insight. Several experienced drivers in attendance noted that sleep studies needed to account for conditions in a sleeper berth. Others enthusiastically supported flexibility in splits, including 5/5.
  4. Personal conveyance exemption continues to confuse – the FMCSA has provided guidance on how to apply the PC exemption, and the exemption was purposely crafted to enable discretion. But there were comments from drivers and fleet managers about the level of confusion that persists and how it is being enforced. According to the FMCSA, the intent of the exemption is to enable drivers to find safe parking but “not advance their load.”
  5. AOBRD grandfathering timeframe will not be extended – During the FMCSA update, it was made clear to all that the FMCSA are pushing ahead and will not be considering an extension to the AOBRD grandfathering timeframe. The full ELD compliance date will remain as December 16, 2019 when all carriers and drivers using AOBRDs must transition to ELDs.
  6. ANPRM for agriculture exemptions – the livestock exemption has already been extended. The FMCSA indicated that a flurry of activity regarding HOS exemptions may accompany the end of the current congress, and in response there may be an ANPRM and public comment period regarding exemptions for a broader set of ag-related trucking firms soon.
  7. Expanding the pool of younger drivers – FMCSA Administrator Martinez discussed moves to ease the transition of qualified military personnel under 21 years into the trucking industry, offering waivers for qualifications. Administrator Martinez discussed the differences in maturity and responsibility levels that military drivers with CDLs have in comparison to other young drivers and how this program is a way to consider how to safely introduce younger drivers to commercial driving. ATA President Chris Spear further commented that we already have drivers under 21 year that operate in intrastate commerce, and we need to examine how we can support safe drivers to operate in interstate commerce as well, which can also alleviate the driver shortage issue.

Finally, EROAD is pleased to announce that Soona Lee, our Director of Regulatory Compliance, was selected for this year’s LEAD ATA class. Soona is an expert in ELDs in North America and works closely with fleet operators, drivers, and the enforcement community to improve compliance, safety and efficiency. A well-deserved honor. Congratulations, Soona!

Keith Halasy, CTP

Director of Marketing
Keith Halasy has more than 25 years’ experience in software and SaaS marketing and business development, and has been focused on fleet management, asset tracking and mobile workforce management for the past 15 years. Keith has led corporate communications, product marketing, channel marketing and demand generation for companies ranging from startups to Fortune 1000 businesses.

More articles by Keith

7 Key Takeaways from ATA MCE in Austin

by | Nov 1, 2018 |

Share This