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House Rejects One of Two Anti-ELD Measures

September 06, 2017, by David Cullen

Photo: J.J. Keller
Photo: J.J. Keller

UPDATE: Late in the evening of Sept. 6, the amendment sponsored by Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX)-- which sought to prevent funding of the electronic logging device rule for almost one year-- was voted down on the House floor, 246-173. 

Being the less deliberative and thus the more unpredictable chamber of the U.S. Congress, the House of Representatives presents a playing field ripe for Hail Mary Passes. And so it goes that not even four months to go until the much-debated electronic logging device mandate starts to kick in, no less than two legislative measures have been introduced in the House that are intended to derail the rule.

The quarterback flinging both of these passes is Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX). The first is H.R. 3282, the ELD Extension Act of 2017, which the congressman introduced in July. The bill would delay implementation of the ELD rule for two years. So far, it has attracted 45 co-sponsors in the House. 

In early September, Babin tossed his second bomb in the form of an anti-ELD amendment that was offered up for attachment to some unrelated legislation (H.R. 3354, the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act of 2018).

This measure aims to prevent funding of the ELD mandate to delay its rollout. The rider would prohibit funds from being used “to implement or enforce” the ELD rule through the 2018 fiscal year that ends on Sept. 30, 2018.

The amendment has been cleared by the House Rules Committee for consideration by the full chamber during floor votes, which were scheduled for Sept. 6.

Marking both of these measures as Hail Mary Passes is the reality that every notable trucking stakeholder group except the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association remains solidly in favor of implementing the ELD rule with no further delays.

That means a lot of lobbying will be unleashed for keeping the rule as it is and keeping its initial effective date what it is: Dec. 18 of this year. What’s more, no companion legislation to delay or defund the ELD mandate has yet to be introduced – nor is it at all likely to be introduced – in the Senate.

H.R. 3282’s delay in implementation “would further interrupt the actions of a progressive trucking industry that continually places safety at its forefront and stresses continued compliance with its daily operations,” the Truckload Carriers Association said in a statement issued on Sept. 6. TCA added that “the truckload industry does not support this bill or any delay in ELD implementation,” including Rep. Babin’s amendment calling for defunding of the ELD mandate.

In a Sept. 6 letter to select members of Congress, the Trucking Alliance argued that the Babin defunding amendment “ignores federal court rulings (all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court) upholding the ELD mandate” as well as “ignores thousands of comments in support of this new technology. These ELDs accurately track the number of hours that drivers operate their trucks, replacing the paper logbooks that are easily falsified.” 

In addition, Lane Kidd, managing director of the Alliance, told HDT that he expects “we will see bipartisan opposition to this amendment when it comes up for debate.”

The American Trucking Associations is also steadfast in its commitment to seeing the ELD rule take effect. “ATA strongly opposes efforts to delay this important rule,” Sean McNally, ATA spokesman, told HDT.

"Any attempt to mislabel this as a ‘bad regulation’ in the final weeks before implementation is intentionally misleading.”

He also referenced an op-ed penned by ATA President and CEO Chris Spear that currently appears on the HuffPost website. In the piece, Spear argues that it is well past time for further debate and action on the ELD rule. He states that the rule “has been debated for nearly a decade. It has been approved by Congress three times, and upheld by federal courts. Any attempt to mislabel this as a ‘bad regulation’ in the final weeks before implementation is intentionally misleading.”

Spear adds that killing or delaying the rule any further will “create more uncertainty for the trucking industry as we seek to plan and make investments in this important new technology.”

In his closing, Spear urges “Congress to keep our highways safe, by avoiding a move that will give bad actors an opportunity to bend the rules.”

Article updated on Sept. 7 at 9:00 am EDT to reflect voting down of Babin amenndment. 

Comments

  1. 1. Chad [ September 07, 2017 @ 04:38AM ]

    The ATA, TCA and Safety Alliance do not represent the entire trucking industry as stated in this article. We need solutions that work for individual trucking operations instead of this cookie cutter one size fits all rule. This will be the trucking industries Obama Care.

  2. 2. Marvin [ September 07, 2017 @ 05:03AM ]

    If either of these things pass, the ATA & TCA won't be able to control the entire industry (at least for a while). That's what this is all about! The fleets already using ELDs still have the worst safety records on the road. But yet we're supposed to believe that the roads will be safer once the small fleets and O/Os are using them also. Ya......right!

  3. 3. Mike [ September 07, 2017 @ 05:50AM ]

    The ATA and TCA don't represent the whole trucking industry. The companies they represent only make up about a quarter of the trucks in this country. They have already stated that this mandate is to even the playing field so the companies they represent can compete with non ELD trucks(owner/operators) and claim that we are falsifying logs. Where's the proof? Another thing is SAFETY? The companies currently running ELDs have the worst safety records in the industry, it's just not reported because they are self insured. If they want to level the field, let's do it. Let them insure each and every truck and trailer just like the small companies do and have to report every single incident instead of sweeping it under the rug like it never happened.
    I am also sick of hearing Werner's ad about they are innovators of the ELD. What a crock!! They were forced to go electronic or close their doors back in the 90s because of log book violations.

  4. 4. Kyle [ September 07, 2017 @ 05:54AM ]

    If you are opposed to this than in all likelihood you are falsifying your log book, and your opinion is worthless, since you are breaking the law.

  5. 5. DJ [ September 07, 2017 @ 05:54AM ]

    The ELD regulations need to proceed as prescribed. I don't know about other fleets but the ELD's are making our drivers safer and better businessmen. Our log violations are falling to virtually nothing and our accidents are, in fact, declining. This fleet is becoming a better fleet all the way around. Alot of the complaints are from the folks that can't make it in the industry without cheating and breaking the law. The ELD's will level the playing field for those of us that choose to obey the law. Besides, ELD's are nothing other than another medium for tracking hours of service. If you are legal today on paper then you will be legal tomorrow with electronic logs. If you are saying that it takes away your "flexibility" then you are a cheat and should be the first one to have them installed in your truck.

  6. 6. Marvin [ September 07, 2017 @ 07:35AM ]

    Kyle and DJ........nice profile statements boys! Assuming that if someone isn't for it then they're automatically a cheat. Glad you boys are in agreement that 'one size fits all' and that you'll be towing the line when the big players speak. What a perfect world you guys must live and operate in! If you're okay with someone else making decisions for you, and forcing those decisions on you, then why not work for the 'man' and never worry about anything ever again?

    We don't 'all' fit into your little profile......! You know nothing of my 44 year record or ability to get the job done legally. 38 years as an O/O with 18 being independent and not one 'out-of-service' for equipment or log violation. And I make those decisions on my own......imagine that?

    Kyle, your statement sounds like an immature adolescent! Are you? DJ, glad things are working out for your fleet. Too bad that government had to force those decisions on your fleet to make it better!

  7. 7. DJ [ September 07, 2017 @ 08:20AM ]

    Marvin, you have only been in the business for 44 years...The regulations have been around for 79 years. So, I guess you work for the "man" also. Every driver that gets a CDL or a Chauffer's license agrees to abide by the law. You're right, I don't know you, but if you are doing everything right then ELD's are a progression that the industry is moving towards, just like cruise control and ABS brakes. If you don't want to progress then that is your right to complain but you better follow the rules, whether you like them or not. Do I like having "someone else making decisions" for me, nope, but I work through it just like I did the changes in the hours of service years ago. I do make decisions that make us successful and profitable. So I don't buy your rhetoric of ELD's will be the end of civilization and that I'm a pushover. I never said that "one size fits all" is good or bad, just that the regulation is what it is. I said it once and I'll say it again, "if you are running legal today on paper logs then you'll be running legal tomorrow on electronic logs".

  8. 8. Richard Davis [ September 07, 2017 @ 08:57AM ]

    I see DJ didn't mention the company he is working for. I may have missed it. Accidents down for their drivers. That says a lot about his company and who it is. We will soon see how this ELD thing goes when almost 100% of trucks have them.Will see how that accident rate goes then. But if your truck doesn't run but 60-62 that does help or hurt depends on how you look at it. That is kinda unsafe in my opinion. You won't get a log book violation though. I say almost 100% because it looks like if you have enough money, you can get an exception. These big companies want them for legal reasons, I'd say. It's all electronically recorded. I've heard a bunch of cramp about ELD's. How and what drivers do to gain a minute here and there. All of that is not the truth, it may be legal, but it is still a lie. So no difference. A lie is a lie. That is the REAL sad thing about this. The government is forcing drivers to fudge, lie or what ever to make a decent living. They think that this is a one-size-fits-all job. And it is not. There is no other job out there like truck driving. A lot of people and circumstances have a hand in how you do your job. And you have NO control over them. Traffic, places that don't care how long it takes to load or unload you, fueling, eating, the cook may be slow. So we will see how it is out here when almost 100% of trucks have ELD's. I think safety will worsen. IF your truck runs 75-80, that is the speed limit, you will need to run that and more if you can get by with it to make any. Tempers will flare because everyone will be in a hurry.

  9. 9. Richard Davis [ September 07, 2017 @ 09:13AM ]

    I guess if any good comes from these ELD's, it will be, rates will have to go up { I hope }. A lot I hope and companies will have to pay for everything. Like detention, not after 2-3 hrs. from minute 1. Should have to pay the driver for fueling every thing they do that has to do with that truck. They should have to pay for sleeping too, like Wal- Mart in Ca. DJ says, drivers are lying, so pay them from the time they pull off the company yard. Every company I ever worked for, I was responsible for that truck. So I'm actually on-duty all the time, till I park that truck back on company property, right DJ..

  10. 10. judith jones [ September 07, 2017 @ 09:47AM ]

    Im disappointed in these ata and others they do not represent me or any of my friends in this industry. i to have read the report from april 2014 and its got more holes then swiss cheese. the studies were done with only 11 huge trucking outfit. there is no proof these will do anything to aid in their safety. read the report it a joke at best. someone got paid off big time. the monopoly that will be formed under this is to squeeze the little guys out. and that is exactly what it will do.

  11. 11. Paul [ September 07, 2017 @ 10:33AM ]

    I agree with Judith...this whole thing is to get rid of us little guys. Look at SWIFTS SAFETY RECORD...ON ELD's and it's atrocious! They just killed 2 people and put 4 others in the hospital 5 miles from my house. And for no reason...just going too damn fast and probably graduated their driving school 2 weeks ago! You know, if you want to run an ELD, fine. But I don't want to and I'm probably not going to. What I think should happen is just park your truck Dec. 17....leave it parked for 4 days. They will be on their knees. Drivers, you have the power...use it!!

  12. 12. Steve [ September 07, 2017 @ 10:48AM ]

    So why are only truck drivers required to end their time working/driving however I'm on the same roads as many of those that have more than 14 in driving working etc ..shouldnt EVERYONE be REQUIRED to stay off the roads .don't discriminate. overtime , 2 jobs ,late mites out driving anywhere ,are All on the same highway as the government regulated truck driver...as far as the ATA ,LOOK WHAT BIG MONEY FROM THE BIG NATIONAL COMPANY'S BUYS YOU

  13. 13. Vince [ September 07, 2017 @ 11:33AM ]

    Oh well we are f**cked. Might have to switch jobs now. We will see if the revenue goes up although I don't think it will. The trucking companies are t o o greedy to pay anymore for less work being done.

  14. 14. Booney [ September 07, 2017 @ 02:55PM ]

    Good day, where I am curious is where does a large percentage of these accidents prevail from? What percentage of these accidents are result of lack of experience and or driver training vs driver fatigue? As I am driving down the road I see a large plethora of truck accidents, in the truck stops and on the road, interestingly enough if you look close enough a large percentage of these truck accidents have a sticker on the door that says ELD equipped. Has there been a study done to see if it is the ELD equipped trucks that are in most of these crashes? If it turns out that it is the ELD trucks that would lean more towards the big box companies that are spitting out thousands of under trained under educated under informed new entrants into the industry.Interestingly enough as independent owner-operators we need to be very protective of our safety for many reasons. The first reason is equipment cost, most of us only operate one truck and one trailer, newer trucks are ranging anywhere between 70000 and 170000. Replacement trailers 40000 - 100000 based off your specialty. Your counter pun to my previous statement is going to be well insurance will pay for it. While that may be true we as Independents are being so bled dry we cannot afford the down time to await for insurance reimbursement. Another thing I want you to look at next time you park in the truck stop scan the parking lot, see how many true actual Independents operating on their own authority are parked at that fine truck stop. Now let's step it up a notch, you've already noted how many owner operators with their own authority are at that lot, now what I'd like you to do is count how many livestock haulers are parked overnight in that same lot. I would wager to say very few or none. Now I know I just opened the door for the comment bashers based off of my last comment. We try everything that we can do to protect ourselves and our safety which in turn protects the general public. As livestock haulers we park away from the general consensus of the large freight companies. Next you are going to state to me that the Eld is the law, and if it is the law it could not be unjust or against our constitutional rights or unmoral. I am going to propose a question to you, do you realize during World War II during Hitler's regime everything he did killing 6 million Jews was legal according to German law at the time. Just because a law is a law does not make it correct or just. Now let's proceed to your counter pun to my last statement. You are going to state to me that the ELD is just the same as the current paper logs. You are correct in this aspect, but the overall problem is the current hours of service have zero flexibility. You are going to say it's the law, my question is you would rather me Park in an unsafe area versus drive another 15 or 20 miles to a safe area that I am familiar with? We are also unable to stop our log once started. There are many things that change on a daily basis and as intelligent coherent business owners we need to adapt to an ever-changing day. That is why you will hear over the CB radio that we call many of you steering wheel holders. During a given day we are negotiating rates, we are checking fuel prices throughout the country, we're checking to see if previous loads have paid or if we need to put them in collections. During that same day we are making sure our equipment is in full working order. Now let's switch gears let's look at the livestock hauling aspect. Let's say our hours of service are up and now we are required to unload our livestock. Another government agency would have to be involved to have a USDA approved facilities to prevent cross-contamination. These facilities currently do not exist. If these facilities did exist there would be large overnight fees. I am already being bled dry by trying to keep myself and my truck and equipment legal that I will not inherently cover these costs without reimbursement which will in turn be passed on to the consumer. One thing that really perplexes me is your so inherently bashing each other that you are currently not looking as what's going on currently in our country and or worldwide. Look at just the FMCSA alone 2017 annual budget 794.2 million ,on top of that it's the individual states that have to fund and support the laws within their own state. In conclusion since it's my name on the side of the truck I have to be very self protectant and very aware at all times because everything I have invested in this operation is my entire life, versus my statement before about a "steering wheel holder", that has no vested interest in the particular company that he or she drives for. Now please proceeded to bash me, stating that I am an out-of-control weary eyed exhausted truck driver that needs to be put in his place by the federal government. Have a good day and keep looking up.

  15. 15. DJ [ September 08, 2017 @ 06:16AM ]

    The comment that "the current hours of service have zero flexibility" is the crux of everyone's problem. It isn't ELD's. ELD's are just a way of making sure that the law, no matter how poor it is, (it is still law), has to be followed. Everyone needs to step back and go after the hours of service regulations. Could they be better, I believe so, but it will take time and work to get them changed. Everyone is so blinded by the unknown that they refuse to look at the underlying problem, HOS. If these "steering wheel holders" would abide by the law and run like the rest of us then the industry would be alot more competitive and all of us would be able to make a decent living. Until then, ELD's are a step in the right direction to keep everyone honest. Now to the rest of the industry, let's look at the hours of service and make changes where changes need to be made. Finally, I take GREAT exception to having ELD's compared to the Holocaust. You are comparing a law of inconvenience to a law of death. Shame on you. You dishonor those who died under those horrendous laws and those that gave their lives to fight and abolish those laws. If you are saying that the ELD law is a law of death also then where is your proof? I have proof of Hitler's laws and outcomes. Where is yours for this law? Please think before you write something like this again.

  16. 16. Booney [ September 08, 2017 @ 10:48AM ]

    Apparently I need to dumb down my comments. The Hitler connotation was a parable, that a small group of people with large amounts of money we're able to manipulate the system to get what they wanted , their gise to convince the government and the country for "purification". Where as the ATA the spokesman for the large box carrier's their gise is "safety". What is interesting in your last comment there was no mention of safety whatsoever. You were concerned about competition and honesty. Is it the government's responsibility to control free market trade? What I find interesting as I stated in my previous comment, extremely large percentage of the crashes that I pass have the ELD equipped sticker. This being said is the inherent crash ratio due too drowsy drivers? Or is that the gise that is being used the word "safety". Have a good day and keep looking up

 

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