September 21, 2015 6:15 PM, EDT

Omnitracs Executive Confident FMCSA Final Rule on ELDs Will Address Industry Concerns

ORLANDO, Fla. — An executive with Omnitracs said he is optimistic the federal government’s final rule on the mandatory use of electronic logging devices will address concerns previously raised by the trucking industry.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced earlier this month a new target date of Oct. 30  to publish the long-awaited rule. It currently is under review with the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.

Tom Cuthbertson, vice president of regulatory compliance for Omnitracs, suggested FMCSA may not meet that deadline, but said the finish line is in sight.

“The regulation is coming — it is not if, but when. I think they addressed many issues the carriers and industry were worried about with harassment and other issues,” he told Transport Topics after speaking at a task force meeting during the Technology & Maintenance Council’s fall meeting here Sept. 21.

Though the e-log mandate has been a “very complex” rulemaking, Cuthbertson said he believes FMCSA has addressed many of the industry’s concerns “because they wouldn’t have submitted it back to OMB if they hadn’t resolved issues.”

Cuthbertson, who made a similar presentation the previous week during a meeting of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, said he knows firsthand that OMB is asking FMCSA for technical clarifications as it conducts its final review.

He said FMCSA has created an implementation group to work with the law enforcement community to handle unique operational or technical challenges that could arise once the rule is implemented.

“I think [FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee] has done a good job on the technical specifications” of the rule,” Cuthbertson said.

He said the current implementation timeline remains unchanged, with the final compliance date being two years after rule takes effect.

Fleets already using electronic devices that for whatever reason do not meet the final rule will be given an additional two years to comply.

Cuthbertson said TMC and other groups plan to closely review the final regulation to see if there is any need to petition the government for reconsideration.

However, in areas including preventing harassment of drivers and clarifying on-duty status in relation to yard moves, he credited FMCSA for working with industry stakeholders to develop a more clearly defined final rule.

Cuthbertson was a longtime executive with XRS Corp., which was purchased last year by Omnitracs.

Omnitracs, based in Dallas, was bought by Vista Equity Partners in 2013 for about $800 million.