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Truckers Still Struggle Despite Positive Signs from ELD Mandate

electronic logging device mandate

When the electronic logging devices or ELD order was first petitioned to the United States Department of Transportation, experts and officials were quick to say that the rule would create a bold impact on the trucking industry. Quite surprisingly, the supposedly positive order is now causing a negative effect on the truckers and small businesses.

The ELD rule is the brainchild of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA, an agency that controls the trucking industry in the United States. The idea of electronic logging devices is nothing new. It was created back in 1971 when buses and trucks were compelled to be equipped with tachographs.

FMSCA has a lot of great ideas for the usage of ELD, from bringing the logging record system into the modern age to allowing drivers a much-needed rest after their scheduled service. But the real aim of the Government agency is to help lessen fatigue-related crashes by drivers who change their paper logs, trying to hide the real number of hours they have driven. This is usually beyond what a specific regulation allows.

In spite of all the good intentions thrown at the ELD rule, there will always be that one sector that would feel neglected. That is why even at the start of issuing the mandate, there were organizations that firmly stood against it.

One of those organizations is the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), an international trade organization. Up until now, the organization continues to fight the ELD order, saying that they will be against it no matter what. OOIDA is worried that the carriers will harass drivers to still drive even though they’re already tired.

Before the implementation of the rule, 30 organizations joined forces in order to delay it. These organizations cater to different industries–from the world of livestock to the pyrotechnics industry.

The American Trucking Association or ATA has once fought against the rule but it seems like the tide has turned when the association started expressing its commendable support. Surprisingly, the ATA has applauded the ELD mandate, even calling it “safe and efficient”.

In the case of the truck drivers themselves, they are more concerned with their so-called privacy, which is a Fourth Amendment Right. The ELD monitors the following:

  • Miles driven
  • Vehicle movement
  • Engine hours
  • Information of the location

According to David Wangler, the President of TMW Systems and Trimble Transportation Enterprise, “This is really not a technology issue at all, it’s about removing the flexibility and freedom of the job. There are a lot of jobs you can do for more money than driving a truck, but the freedom is why people do it. Now, they feel more freedom is being taken away.”

A lot of drivers, if not all, don’t want to be micromanaged and be tracked electronically.

Drivers are also concerned about the ‘detention time’, knowing that they will be paid for the time that they’re moving and not the time that they’re waiting for the loads. Meaning if truckers are required to work for 40 hours and they waited for 20 hours for their loads, then they will only get half the supposed payment.

Reports say that 65% of lost revenue can be blamed on detention time.

Truck drivers are not the only ones who are negatively affected by the ELD mandate. Small businesses also share the same dilemma. Small firms will have a hard time affording the new electronic logging devices for their trucks.

The ELD mandate is something fresh, accurate, and definitely bold. But what if the sector that this rule is protecting is experiencing negative outcomes? Should it be that authorities need to take time to consider and iron out the rule? It is hard to compromise, but if it will make things better for both parties then why not?


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