A trucking company that hauls loads for a federal laboratory has requested an exemption from the electronic logging device rule, according to a document scheduled for publication in the Federal Register on April 4.
The document, filed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, states that Wilcox Truck Line has requested a five-year exemption from ELD use when transporting materials for the Idaho National Laboratory. The facility, in Idaho Falls, is part of the Department of Energy lab system and specializes in nuclear energy research.
According to the Federal Register document, Wilcox is the primary carrier for “special projects” at INL, as the complex is known, and transports “shipments which need additional controls to address national security interests.”
“Wilcox believes that granting this exemption will provide an equivalent level of safety because of the strict oversight of this transportation by INL and other agencies,” FMCSA’s document states.
INL submitted a letter confirming that its security protocol requires loads to be free from electronics that could serve as tracking devices. The laboratory reserves the right to disable electronic tracking on certain shipments to reduce the chance of someone identifying a load’s physical location. Although Wilcox uses ELDs for its regular operations, the devices would be disabled for INL-related shipments.
“INL would provide documentation for use during any inspection, showing that the exemption is in use for that shipment,” the document says. “Wilcox states that the controls that will be used in lieu of ELDs will be sufficient to ensure there is no degradation of safety.”
Under these controls, logbooks will be used to record hours of service when ELDs are disabled, drivers will be equipped with a cellphone during transport and INL will require drivers to call the lab’s 24-hour Warning Communications Center to report their condition and any issues. The truck line will be subjected to routine third-party audits to ensure drivers are adhering to federal and state requirements.
The exemption, if granted, would pertain to all Wilcox drivers who participate in these special hauls for the lab. In total, fewer than 40 drivers and fewer than 20 trucks would be covered. All the drivers who transport these shipments have been vetted by the Energy Department.
Interested individuals have until May 4 to submit comments on the exemption request.
Wilcox is the latest in series of companies and groups to request a reprieve from the ELD mandate. On March 13, the Truck Renting and Leasing Association requested an exemption from the electronic logging device mandate through the end of the year for property-carrying trucks rented for 30 days or fewer.
FMCSA has granted temporary waivers from the mandate to livestock haulers, Old Dominion Freight Line and the Motion Picture Association of America.