The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) remains strongly opposed to efforts that will weaken the Hours of Service and Electronic Logging Device mandates, including the recently introduced Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act (S.3051). Senators Hoeven and Bennet disguise their legislation as a modest proposal to establish a multi-stakeholder working group to reform U.S. Department of Transportation regulations regarding Hours of Service and Electronic Logging Device rules. In actuality, this bill is nothing more than an attempt to delay the enforcement of the ELD rule until the Secretary proposes regulatory reforms required by the legislation.
TSC is generally supportive of attempts to study an issue or collaborate with other stakeholders, but we reject the notion that doing so must be tethered to the suspension of a safety provision. In coupling the disparate actions – study and suspend – the authors reveal their true intent: remove ELD requirements for truck drivers hauling agricultural commodities because a select few drivers complained about consequences they might face due to their non-compliance.
Both the HOS and ELD mandates underwent rigorous reviews before the DOT finalized them; suspending these provisions for transporters of agricultural commodities, however, did not. In fact, proponents of S.3051 have failed to furnish any proof to back up their claims about adverse effects of the aforementioned regulations on their operations or to show that ag-haulers are any safer or less likely to operate while fatigued than average truck drivers are. This is why we support gathering more data and working with folks across trucking and agriculture to determine opportunities to actually improve safety. But again, this call for more data should not and cannot have a prerequisite of suspending the ELD mandate as we learn more.
We urge Members of Congress to reject this unsafe bill at a time when truck crashes, and the resulting injuries and deaths continue to rise.