If Congress doesn't overturn or delay federal regulations requiring virtually all trucks built after the year 2000 be equipped with electronic logging devices (ELDs) by Dec. 18, it won't be because of lack of persistence from the group representing 150,000 owner-operator truck drivers.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) said yesterday it had joined in a coalition of 30 industry groups seeking to block or delay the ELD implementation date. The fact that so many groups have joined forces against the Department of Transportation rule indicates that the mandate has "far-reaching implications well beyond the traditional trucking industry," said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA.
The group supports a bill proposed by Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) to delay the ELD mandate for two years. The coalition said the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which wrote the rule, must address "numerous unresolved issues identified by impacted stakeholders."
In a statement, OOIDA repeated its litany of concerns, among them that the mandate requires drivers to use ELDs to track their driving and non-driving activities even though the devices can only track the vehicle's movement and location, not the driver's whereabouts. OOIDA has long argued that requiring the use of electronic monitoring devices does not advance safety because they are no more reliable than paper logbooks for recording compliance with driver hours-of-service regulations.
OOIDA has also voiced concern about the lack of certification of devices, connectivity problems in remote areas of the country, cyber-security vulnerabilities, and the ability of law enforcement to access data. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), a group of U.S. and Canadian law enforcement officials who administer roadside law enforcement, has said it will delay the writing of vehicle out-of-service orders for ELD noncompliance until April 1, 2018, to give drivers and fleets the opportunity to adjust to the mandate. Citations will be issued for non-compliance starting on Dec. 18, CVSA said.
The courts have already struck down or refused to hear OOIDA's appeals to overturn the mandate as unconstitutional on grounds that it violates 4th Amendment rights to privacy by forcing the use of a warrantless surveillance device. Congress, for its part, does not appear to be moving quickly to delay the implementation date or reverse the FMCSA regulations.