The American Trucking Associations, in a letter to the Daphne Jefferson, Deputy Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, expressed its “staunch” opposition to any effort that would delay the December implementation deadline for electronic logging devices.
“We have heard from our members, loudly and clearly, that they are vehemently opposed to these attempts to delay this important regulation,” said Bill Sullivan, ATA’s executive vice president of advocacy. “The industry stands ready and is prepared to implement ELDs. It is incumbent on regulators and on Congress to dismiss this last-ditch try by some to evade critically important safety laws.”
The group bases its support on the fact that the technology has been proven effective in “improving safety and increasing compliance many times.” The group cites the agency’s FMCSA’s 2014 report titled “Evaluating the Potential Safety Benefits of Electronic Hours-of-Service (HOS) Recorders,” which found that carriers using an ELD saw an 11.7% reduction in crash rate an 50% drop in hours-of-service violations over carriers using traditional paper logs.
The group accuses supporter of a day as “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.”
In the letter the group answered the arguments put forth by those who wanted the delay.
• ELDs infringe on drivers’ right to privacy: The ELD regulation simply requires drivers to record their hours-of-service by a different means – an electronic device versus pencil and paper. Drivers must already show their paper logs at the request of law enforcement, and ELDs simply transmit that same information electronically, so claims of privacy infringement are unfounded – the only difference is in how drivers are recording and reporting their hours-of-service.
To address the alleged privacy issues, FMCSA has built in privacy and harassment protections into its rules, protections that have satisfied Congress and the federal courts.
• Based on when this rule will go into effect – mid-December – it will prevent important holiday shipments from arriving on time and adversely affect Americans’ holidays: The hours of service rules have not changed. ELDs do nothing but ensure compliance with the hours-of-service rules. The ELD final rule does not add any new limits on the number of hours a driver can drive in a day or work in a week. It is irrational to believe that the only way America’s holiday gifts can be delivered is by maintaining an antiquated paper system of recording hours-of-service.
• Drivers say they will change careers if the ELD mandate comes into effect: The American economy depends on the 3.5 million professional drivers in our industry. These drivers make sure our store shelves are stocked and our factories are supplied. Many of these drivers already use ELDs, so the argument that drivers will quit en masse doesn’t hold water. In fact, ATA members repeatedly tell me that after initially resisting using ELDs, their drivers now swear by the technology and refuse to work without it.
This is because ELDs save drivers’ time by lifting the burden of 15-20 minutes spent manually calculating and recording their hours-of-service, reduce HOS violations by eliminating the numerous so-called “form and manner” violations and increase compliance with hours-of-service rules.
The group has strong words for its opponents.
“At the end of the day, I believe the implicit reason opponents of electronic logging oppose this regulation is because they intend to cheat on their hours-of-service. It is the same reason an individual with an exotic sports car buys a radar detector: it is an implicit admission that they intend to break the speed limit. Arguments against the ELD mandate are arguments in favor of violating the hours-of-service rules. If the hours-of-service rules are believed to be inappropriately limiting, that is a policy debate I’m sure the agency can address. Suggesting that it is overly burdensome to use an electronic device to log compliance with hours-of-service rules that don’t change whatsoever in December is a false argument.”