Indiana attorney general urges feds to delay new trucking rule

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill is urging federal officials to delay the implementation of a new law that would require truckers to use electronic logging devices to document their trips.

Currently, truckers have the option of using either electronic devices or paper logs to document their miles and hours of service. But effective Dec. 18, with some limited exceptions, long-haul drivers will be required to use electronic logging devices, known as ELDs.

In a letter sent this week to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Hill, a Republican, urged the agency to postpone the changes. 

As the rule is written, the government is asking ELD manufacturers to self-certify that their devices are in compliance with government standards. Manufacturers must also register their devices with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

But, Hill said, the rule does not provide a way to assure that the devices perform as required.

“I urge your agency to put on hold the new requirements until you are able to develop guidelines that offer greater clarity to the individuals you expect to follow them,” Hill wrote to the agency’s chief counsel, Randi Hutchinson.

In his letter, Hill expressed concerns that the self-certification process could lead to the use of ELD devices that don’t meet federal standards. 

“Consumers may assume that if a device is certified and registered that it bears the approval of FMCSA and is in fact compliant with the ELD rule,” Hill wrote. “However, there is no guarantee or way to verify that the device is actually compliant with the required technical specifications until said compliance is called into question.”

A spokeswoman for the FMCSA did not immediately return a request for comment on Thursday from IBJ.

Bill McCleery, Hill’s deputy director of communications, said the attorney general sent the letter after learning about the issue from a constituent.

Despite Hill's concerns about the ELDs, McCleery said, the Office of the Attorney General is working to raise awareness about the pending changes.

“We will be coordinating with other state agencies to ensure that industry members understand the implications of the new ELD rule,” McCleery told IBJ in an e-mail.

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