SBTC Blasts FMCSA’s “Absolutely Corrupt” ELD Exemption Request Denial
Washington D.C. – The 15,000-member Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) wasted no time in issuing a scathing rebuttal to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety (FMCSA) after the agency issued a denial to SBTC’s application for exemption from the electronic logging devices (ELD) mandate.
On Tuesday, July 16, the FMCSA officially announced it had finally denied SBTC’s request for a permanent exemption from the ELD mandate for independent contractors and small carriers with less than 50 employees.
In its denial, FMCSA said SBTC’s application for exemption “does not meet the regulatory standards for an exemption.”
Read more of FMCSA’s reasons for denial HERE.
In a detailed statement released Wednesday, July 17, the SBTC says it “finds the FMCSA’s handling of its ELD exemption application totally and absolutely corrupt in each and every respect.”
If paper logs were sufficient to ensure adequate levels of safety for 80 years, and they are currently sufficient for all the carriers operating under other FMCSA ELD exemptions, there is no reason to believe they would not be sufficient for the carriers that would operate under our requested exemption.
SBTC also claims, “A trade group cannot possible comply with regulations for individual exemption applications (49 CFR 381.310) as FMCSA again purports in its denial.”
Additionally, SBTC asserted, “The FMCSA is misguided in relying on a statute that pertains to individual drivers’ hearing and vision type applications for exemption. Class exemptions are not the same as individual exemptions.”
Further, SBTC pointed to a similar ELD exemption application filed by the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) in 2018.
FMCSA ultimately denied OOIDA’s request, but SBTC contends, the two trade groups were treated differently.
“FMCSA did not apply this standard to OOIDA’s ELD class exemption and processed same within the 180 days prescribed by law.”
Also on Wednesday, SBTC President James Lamb offered more reaction exclusively to TNN.
In a brand new interview, Lamb asserted FMCSA’s denial “serves as wonderful evidence the FMCSA discriminates against the SBTC and its members.”
Lamb and the SBTC filed a lawsuit in May alleging the FMCSA is “discriminating against certain trade groups” and improperly handled its ELD exemption application.
MORE ON THE BATTLE BETWEEN FMCSA AND SBTC
In the complaint, SBTC argues the FMCSA’s handling of its ELD exemption request is in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) which states:
The Secretary shall grant or deny an exemption request after a thorough review of its safety implications, but in no case later than 180 days after the filing of such request.
At the time the suit was filed, the agency had delayed in issuing its decision on the ELD exemption request for almost 11 months, which far exceeds the federally required 180-day period.
“We will certainly offer it to the Court to show how the FMCSA mistreats SBTC as opposed to OOIDA,” he tells TNN.
Further, Lamb says FMCSA’s decision to finally issue a decision is likely directly influenced by the pending lawsuit.
“It is clear that after failing to issue a determination all this time, nearly a year after their 180 day processing deadline expired, the only reason this denial was hurriedly issued was to skirt the matter and report that FMCSA finally complied with the law to a Federal Judge,” Lamb charged.
It is not yet clear how FMCSA’s newly issued denial will impact the suit, but Lamb made it clear that the SBTC intends to keep fighting.
“We will not stand idly by as FMCSA tramples over the First Amendment. Our members’ rights will not be infringed upon with impunity,” he declared.
TNN reached out to the FMCSA for comment at the time the suit was filed, but agency policy does not allow for comments about ongoing litigation.
In addition to the ongoing lawsuit, Lamb tells TNN the group intends to reapply for the ELD mandate exemption under 49 CFR § 381.317 which allows for resubmission if “you can reasonably address the reasons for denial.”
Stay with TransportationNation.com for the latest in this ongoing battle.
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