A controversial bill introduced by U.S. Representative Brian Babin (TX-36) last week that seeks to delay implementation of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate for two years is creating sharp divisions within the trucking industry.
The Bill–H.R. 3282, the ELD Extension Act of 2017–would provide for an additional two year delay before mandatory implementation of ELDs on all U.S. freight-hauling trucks scheduled for December 18 this year.
“While technology like ELDs have great promise, I didn’t come to Washington to force those ideas on small businesses – and neither did President Trump” said Rep. Babin in a statement.
“If trucking companies want to continue implementing and using ELDs, they should go right ahead,” he added. “But for those who don’t want the burden, expense and uncertainty of putting one of these devices into every truck they own by the end of the year, we can and should offer relief.”
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is squarely behind the measure, noting that there are “too many unanswered questions about the technical specifications and enforcement guidelines of the mandate, warranting a delay,” noted Todd Spencer, the group’s vice president.
“The [Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration/FMCSA] agency has failed to answer important questions from Congress and industry stakeholders about this mandate,” Spencer stressed in a statement. “This includes issues related to enforcement, connectivity, data transfers, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and many other legitimate real world concerns,” said Spencer.
He added that FMCSA itself “refuses to certify any ELD as compliant with the rule, thus leaving consumers with no idea if a device they purchase is indeed compliant.”
The agency does maintain a list of “registered ELDs” but the providers on that list self-certify their products; the agency itself is not involved in that certification process.
However, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) is “vehemently opposed” to any such delay and sent a letter to the FMCSA last week to that effect.
“The industry stands ready and is prepared to implement ELDs,” noted Bill Sullivan, ATA’s executive vice president of advocacy, in a statement.
“It is incumbent on regulators and on Congress to dismiss this last-ditch try by some to evade critically important safety laws,” he added. “Supporters of a delay are attempting to accomplish, almost at the 11th hour, what they’ve been unable to do in the courts, Congress or with the agency: roll back this common sense, data-supported regulation based on at best specious and at worst outright dishonest arguments.”