By Matt Cole
An association representing the pipeline construction industry – including truck drivers who contract to haul equipment for pipeline construction projects – and a specialized equipment fleet are seeking exemptions from the electronic logging device mandate set to take effect on Dec. 18.
The Pipe Line Contractors Association (PLCA) is requesting the exemption for all pipeline contractor vehicle drivers, stating the drivers typically utilize the short-haul exemption to logging regulations, but they sometimes exceed the short-haul exemption of more than eight days in a 30-day period, requiring them to use ELDs. The group says the drivers would still be required to keep paper logs if the exemption is granted.
PLCA says the drivers primarily operate flatbed trucks off of public roads in a pipeline right-of-way. The group adds that ELDs do not offer a safety benefit for pipeline drivers because they are rarely on public roads. The exemption request states the drivers “almost always” operate within a 100-mile radius and meet the requirements for the short-haul exemption, but may not return to the work-reporting site within 12 hours, as the short-haul exemption requires.
Additionally, MBI Energy Services, a water service hauling fleet in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Colorado, is requesting the exemption for its vehicles equipped with single-passenger cabs that are used in applications where travel is rare. MBI adds these trucks require oversize/overweight permits to operate on public roads and are typically only used in remote areas and not on highways.
Because the trucks are single-passenger cabs, the fleet says space is limited, and installing an ELD would reduce driver visibility. The company also says the severe duty nature of its work would require rugged units and installation. MBI says even though the vehicles travel very little, business demand may require them to move more often than eight days in a 30-day period, which would require them to use ELDs. The company adds that, if granted the exemption, its drivers would continue to keep paper logs.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking public comment on both exemption requests. The request from the PLCA can be found here, while MBI’s request can be found here. The comment period for each request will be open until Aug. 9.