3 New Reasons Why Momentum Is Growing In Fight Against ELD Mandate
Little Rock, Arkansas – The grassroots movement of truckers fighting to win relief from the electronic logging devices (ELD) mandate is gaining momentum after a flurry of recent events has stoked new anger and reignited hope.
Last week, in a Transportation Nation Network exclusive report, we confirmed that Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) will “soon” be reintroducing two pieces of legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would provide exemptions to hundreds of thousands of truckers.
1. New Legislative Push To Exempt Small Carriers, Ag Haulers From ELD Mandate Enforcement
H.R. 5948 aims to allow carriers with 10 trucks or fewer the option to record drivers hours-of-service with a “paper record of duty status form” instead of an ELD. Small carriers could still use ELDs should they choose to, but it would no longer be required.
H.R. 5949 would exempt those hauling agricultural products (as defined in section 207 of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (7 U.S.C. 1626)) from the ELD mandate. Those transporting farm supplies for agricultural purposes (as defined in section 395.2 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations) would also be exempted.
Rep. Peterson, along with Reps. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) and Steve King (R-IA), introduced the “Small Carrier Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act” (H.R. 5948) and “Agricultural Business Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act” (H.R. 5949) once before in May of 2018, but neither piece of legislation made it out of the Transportation and Infrastructure committee for a vote among all U.S. House members.
2. New Petition Filed In Support Of Reintroducing H.R. 5948 & 5949
In the wake of this huge report, a new petition was filed on Friday, February 1, 2019, with the White House via petitions.whitehouse.gov in support of H.R. 5948 and 5949. The petition reads:
We the People of the trucking industry support and would like to see these two Bills reintroduced in the House, as it will be a much needed breakthrough for small commercial and agricultural motor carriers.
H.B. 5948 to exempt motor carriers that own or operate 10 or fewer commercial vehicles from the electronic logging device mandates, and for other purposes.
H.B. 5949 to exempt certain motor carriers engaged in agricultural business from the electronic logging device requirements, and for other purposes.
The petition will need to gather 100,000 signatures to prompt an official review from the White House. At the time of this publication the petition has yet to gain 200 signatures.
3. New Study Finds Trucking-Related Crashes Have “Likely Increased” Since Enforcement Of ELD Mandate
Then came the report on Monday about the new study many are calling a bombshell. An academic team led by Alex Scott, assistant professor of supply chain management at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business, set out to determine if enforcement of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) ELD mandate has, in fact, reduced the number of accidents so far.
Additionally, Scott’s team looked at whether hours-of-service (HOS) compliance rates improved and whether “unsafe driving” events among truck drivers had decreased.
The study found that as enforcement of the ELD mandate has become more stringent, the result has been an increase in trucking-related accidents and “unsafe driving” violations.
For years experts claimed the mandated use of the tracking technology would decrease accidents by more than 1,800 each year. “ELDs will save lives,” proponents often recited pointing to a study predicting the mandate would save 26 lives per year. Well, this new study indicates the data so far suggests otherwise.
Critics Of ELD Mandate Are Fired Up And Gaining Momentum
Each of these events has poured more fuel on the fire for critics of the ELD mandate. Critics like JoJo Barreta. Barreta is an owner operator and is also host of Fubar American Radio Show.
Barreta is urging his listeners, and all truckers who want to see flexibility and choice around the use of ELDs again, to speak out and get involved with respect to H.R. 5848 and 5849. “If we can all push this together, then you will find out the real truth who will support this or not,” he told TNN.
Barreta says he is encouraged by what he sees happening among grassroots trucking groups like TruckerNation, the United States Trucking Alliance (USTA), Black Smoke Matters and others. “Everybody has been standing together as one more and more every day,” Barreta said.
Mike Landis is the CEO of the USTA and has also been an owner-operator for more than 11 years. He told TNN he thinks it could be different this time around.
“I feel like compared to last time more people are getting involved,” Landis said. “There’s more people becoming aware of the problem the longer these mandates have been in effect. Hopefully that makes a difference.”
Andrea Marks, Communications Director for TruckerNation, told TNN the group fully endorses Rep. Peterson’s efforts to bring regulatory relief to small trucking businesses. “The only way for this issue to stay alive is if we keep pushing. Getting a bill introduced is relatively easy… getting it any traction and ultimately passed is a long, hard, and sometimes expensive, process,” Marks said.
RELATED: READ MORE ABOUT REP. COLLIN PETERSON’S PLAN TO EXEMPT SMALL CARRIERS, AG HAULERS FROM ELD MANDATE HERE!
Marks said it will be important for truckers to get accurate information from groups like TruckerNation whose mission is in-part to provide the trucking community with information they can trust. “We want to encourage everyone to do their own research, reach out to others, form their own opinions, and resist the urge to believe everything they see and hear online,” Marks stated.
Marks, Barreta and Landis are under no illusions though. They understand what the anti-ELD mandate movement is up against. “The American Trucking Association (ATA) has a $2.4 million war chest ready for 2020. The ATA’s measure is to do whatever it can to gain market share over our industry, but numbers and education are more powerful than money,” Barreta told TNN.
Landis echoed those sentiments and believes it’s all about drivers getting involved and educating the motoring public and lawmakers. “It’s going to take drivers and even the public to call and talk to their representatives. It’s going to take organizations like us going to Washington D.C. and explaining why it’s important,” Landis stated.
Marks cautioned drivers to keep realistic expectations about the entire process. “Drivers must understand, however, that laws do not become such overnight. It is extremely unlikely that these bills pass as standalone legislation. The best case scenario is that they will be attached to a piece of must pass legislation,” Marks explained.
Barreta, who recently met with Vermont senator and likely 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, said he believes a bi-partisan majority could be built in the U.S. Senate to pass these ELD mandate exemptions.
Additionally, Barreta and Landis expressed optimism that a bevy of planned demonstrations and protests by truckers will bring more attention to the cause and spur more legislators to offer their support. “As long as they (protests) are peaceful and are properly messaged, we will gain the ear of more members of congress,” Barreta said.
Transportation Nation Network will continue to be your trusted source bringing you the latest developments.