The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) opposes H.R. 6159 – the latest effort to undermine the effectiveness of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate. The purpose of the legislation is to “conduct a study to determine how many “employees” who must comply with the electronic logging device requirements… have ceased being operators of a “commercial motor vehicle” as a result of such requirements.” In short, the bill’s sponsor wants to know how many truck drivers left the trucking industry because they can no longer exceed their hours of service.
The ELD mandate did not change the existing Hours of Service rules; it changed the methodology by which truck drivers record their driving time. Since going into effect, the ELD mandate has exposed unsafe motor carriers who have been imposing grueling schedules on their drivers, requiring them to drive in excess of legal limits in order to make a living. The response by members of the industry and lawmakers should not be to return to the system that allowed such problems to exist, but rather to do something meaningful to ensure that drivers can operate both safely and profitably.
Rather than waste the taxpayers money on another attempt to weaken the safety rules, it is time for lawmakers to fix the underlying problems motivating dangerous driving. This is the eighth bill introduced in this Congress to weaken the ELD mandate, despite the fact that Congress originally mandated ELDs several years ago, and that recent Department of Transportation data shows the number of HOS-related violations has actually gone down since the mandate took effect.
At the same time, there has not been a single bill introduced to address unpaid detention time, lack of adequate parking, or the pay-per-mile structure employed throughout most of the industry. These reforms would actually protect truck drivers’ safety and bottom-lines, which, in turn, would reduce the incredibly high turnover rate and the number of truck crashes. Giving cover to bad actors will not; it will solely serve to benefit them as they drag down the image of their fellow truck drivers and, more importantly, diminish safety on our roads.