Elderly (Rule of 85) Exemption

Often when I grab a bit to eat, I am given a discount. That's cool. It is appreciated. Could we do the same thing with an ELD exemption? Why not? It could be a safe and practical compromise. Compliance is a great goal, but safety should always be the top priority. The two are not mutually exclusive. We should work on long term complaince without sacrificing short term safety.

The elderly exemtion is not automatic, like my discount. It has to be earned. It is not solely based on age. Experience is also a major component. My proposal requires age, experience, and an exemplary safety record. Age and experience would have to add up to at least 85. If you are 55 and have 30 years experience you are eligible. If you are 50 and have 30 years experience you are not. Neither are you eligible if you are 55 with 25 years of experience. 

Driving record is the third component of the exemption. The exemption requires a clean record for the last 5 years that would include no driver out of service log violations, no moving violations as well as no at fault accidents. You could also have some longer term disqualifications for more severe offensives. Some could be for 10 years while the severest of offenses would make you ineligible period.

Companies would not qualify for an exemption. The exemption follows the driver. It would be cumbersome for companies to have both paper and electronic logs at the same time. Some may simply opt to go completely electronic. The larger the company the more cumbersome that it is. Fleets of 20 or more trucks are more apt to opt for a fleet management system anyway. There is definitely an economy of scale with back office operations. Some small fleet could opt for all paper eligible drivers. The problem is that the population of paper eligible drivers will be dwindling naturally. You would not need to have a sunset clause in the exemption. It would happen naturally.

The industry should be finding ways to keep drivers. While I don't see a mass exodus because of the ELD mandate, some will leave. Most of those that will leave will be nearing retirement age. Us elderly folk tend to be more technologically phobic. That does not make us less safe. Some of us old dogs would rather opt out than learn a new trick. There are some drivers who a financially able to retire, but want to work a few more years. We can keep them without sacrificing safety. Maybe if we had someone in charge who has actually driven a truck for a living they could see that.

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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