November 28, 2017
The Honorable Steve Chabot, Chair
The Honorable Nydia Velazquez, Ranking Member
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Chabot and Ranking Member Velazquez:
As you prepare for tomorrow’s hearing, “Highway to Headache: Federal Regulations on the Small Trucking Industry,” our public health, safety and law enforcement organizations, trucking companies, truck drivers, families of loved ones killed in truck crashes and truck crash survivors write to express our staunch opposition to any attempts to delay, create special interest exemptions from, or impede full implementation of the long overdue electronic logging device (ELD) rule.
The rule requires most commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), namely large trucks and buses in interstate commerce, to install an ELD to track driver on-duty time by December 18, 2017. The regulation was required in bipartisan legislation, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21, P.L. 112-141), enacted in 2012. Subsequently, the regulation was issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2015.
Truck driver fatigue has been a well-documented safety problem in the industry for decades. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has repeatedly cited fatigue as a major contributor to truck crashes and included reducing fatigue-related crashes in its 2017/2018 “Most Wanted List” of safety changes. ELDs are a proven and cost-effective technology that will save lives and reduce injuries, and according to the U.S. Department of Transportation will result in over $1 billion in annualized net benefits. Additionally, ELDs provide an objective record of a CMV driver’s on-duty time, will increase compliance with hours of service (HOS) rules, and will simplify and streamline the efforts of law enforcement.
There already is widespread use of ELD technology in the United States and other countries. Nearly a third of trucks currently in service are equipped with electronic logging technology. Similar technology has been used in Europe for decades and is required in the European Union, Japan, and many other countries. Members of the trucking industry have known about this rule for years and have had ample time to prepare for it.
Moreover, the legal challenge to the final rule was unanimously rejected by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 2016. The three judge panel denied each and every claim brought by the parties that sought to vacate the rule. In addition, the request to the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Seventh Circuit’s ruling was denied.
Truck crash deaths and injuries are on the rise. In 2016, 4,317 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks, representing an increase of more than five percent from the previous year and the highest number of fatalities since 2007. Additionally, in 2015, the most recent year for
which complete data is available, an estimated 116,000 people were injured in crashes involving large trucks.
We urge the Committee to oppose any weakening of this overdue, commonsense truck safety regulation. Delaying, deferring or carving out exemptions to the ELD requirement will only contribute to more fatigued commercial drivers sharing the road with families and jeopardizing everyone’s safety.
PDF Version of Letter with Signatures: ELD letter to Small Business Cmte 11-28-17