Safety & Compliance

Truckers Take to the Streets to Protest ELD Rule

October 06, 2017

By Steven Martinez and David Cullen

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Screen shot, CBS Sacramento video
Screen shot, CBS Sacramento video

Truckers around the country – including in the nation's capital – gathered between Oct. 6-8 to protest the upcoming ELD mandate, which goes into effect Dec. 18.

Some were participating in the ELD or Me protest in  Washington, DC,  while others took to the streets in Fresno, California, as part of Operation Black and Blue, to protest the implementation of  the electronic logging device rule, which has proved controversial among small trucking companies and owner-operators.

In California, a rolling convoy of trucks drove slowly and honked their horns between Yuba City and Fresno, slowing traffic on I-5 and Hwy 99, as part of the protest. The trucks bore signs declaring their opposition to the ELD mandate and other regulations. Some trucks were decorated with American flags.

The California Trucking Association issued a statement noting that it was not affiliated with the protests in the state. "We support truckers' rights to express their opinions on the upcoming implementation of the federal electronic logging device mandate, including their right to protest. We urge the participants to follow the rules of the road and show the motoring public we are an industry committed to safety. We do not condone creating dangerous driving conditions by impeding traffic on busy freeways."

In Washington State, a convoy of trucks took to I-5 in Pierce County, while others parked along the side of the road in Tacoma, and nearly 100 drivers gathered at a rally in Kent, KOMO News reported.

Some truck drivers protested in front of Fresno City Hall to voice concerns over the ELD mandate's effect on their daily work habits, telling local media that the "inflexible" devices would be forcing them to take breaks when they don’t need to, or worse, when they need more time.  Independent drivers who need to be on the road as much as possible, and for whom quick turnarounds are key, say the issue comes down to maintaining their livelihood.

With paper logs, drivers were able to add in the extra time they needed to find a suitable parking spot or to account for unavoidable delays at loading docks. To many of the drivers who participated in the protest, ELDs with their cold precision and complete adherence to regulations down to the second can seem out of touch with the human realities on the road.

Operation Black and Blue states on the group’s Facebook page that, “Operation Black and Blue was created expressly for the support and coordination of efforts by truck drivers to help put a stop to the FMCSA, DOT, and ATA. We are against government overreach and over-regulation.” The group has more than 3,500 followers.

Protests or not, Congress will not be rescinding or delaying the ELD rule. Since July, a lone lawmaker, Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX), has twice introduced legislation aimed at either straight-up delaying implementation of the ELD rule or slowing its rollout by preventing funding of the mandate. One of these measures failed to pass and the other has so far not been acted on by a committee.

The H.R. 3282, the ELD Extension Act of 2017, which the congressman introduced in July, would have delayed making the rule effective for two years. So far, it has attracted 55 co-sponsors and has been referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee— which has yet to take it up. 

In early September, Babin crafted an anti-ELD amendment that was offered up for attachment to some unrelated legislation (H.R. 3354, the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act of 2018). It was intended to delay the mandate for almost a year by preventing funding of it.  On Sept. 6, that rider was voted down on the House floor. 

What marked both of these legislative work-arounds as little more than Hail Mary Passes is the reality that every notable trucking stakeholder group except the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association remains solidly in favor of implementing the ELD rule with no further delay.

What’s more, no companion legislation to delay or defund the ELD mandate has yet to be introduced – nor is it at all likely to be introduced – in the Senate. Even if one is passed, an anti-ELD House bill alone is meaningless.

To be sure, a lot of lobbying firepower remains aimed at keeping the rule as it is. And at keeping its initial effective date what it is: Dec. 18— now just 10 weeks away

The last, best hope to stave off the mandate fizzled back on June 12 when the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s petition that it rule on whether the regulation violates the Fourth Amendment right to privacy of truck drivers. So, the avenue for judicial relief has been closed off and Capitol Hill won’t act in time to halt or slow the rule this year, if not ever.

Updated 3 p.m. EDT 10/7 to add more details.

Comments

  1. 1. Rich [ October 07, 2017 @ 08:36AM ]

    The ONLY way any of this strike stuff ever worked was by putting a big hurt on to get your point across.
    Park every tank truck, fuel, food grade and especially medical and refriYou cannot negotiate with a bunch of leeaches with ties on.geration gasses.
    If the government says go back to work, lock arms and tell them to shove it...

  2. 2. bill [ October 10, 2017 @ 01:57PM ]

    What happens if your stuck in traffic and your timer runs out? Shut it down and wait where you sit?

  3. 3. bill [ October 10, 2017 @ 01:57PM ]

    What happens if your stuck in traffic and your timer runs out? Shut it down and wait where you sit?

  4. 4. jack smith [ October 10, 2017 @ 07:47PM ]

    were credited out to live,we cant afford a strike because the new driver hasnt a clue,or cares,my idea, from decades ago, when you were in wash,baltimore, at 4 am start filling the beltways up,with trucks,tighten the lanes,and dont allow traffic to enter,bumber to bumber @ 10 mph, but have a spokes person related to the movement at arms lenth,before coprate media only belittles the mess,and has thier lies to it. maybe your voting for the wrong party seems its more of a wage,money and inequality issue, the republicans obviously have no intention on acting on the bill before implementation of the time clock. my thougt,if you wouldnt take a load into NYC,why did you support a jerk like trump. hes the epitome of NYC and its graft,

  5. 5. terry [ October 13, 2017 @ 08:55AM ]

    It is too late. The big companies aided by the so called safety groups have got their way. Its is done.

  6. 6. Nick [ October 16, 2017 @ 08:14PM ]

    It is not done. If truck drivers would actually stick together and park for no more than 3 days, the government would have no choice but to listen. Within 3 days, If no trucks worked there would be no gas at gas stations and no food on the shelves. We would definitely have their attention. This is possible if all truckers stand there ground and participate in the strike. These ELDS are the destruction of the American dream.

  7. 7. Jay [ October 21, 2017 @ 07:29PM ]

    I agree with Nick drivers should stick together and stop driving for awhile

  8. 8. Dave [ October 26, 2017 @ 06:04AM ]

    Ive been otr driver 28 years , ive seen a lot of things on the roads I drive but theres no safety, in a eld log its just a jam up of truck that cant go anywere, but why does the government have the right to tell us how to raise are kids and when to sleep and eat do they sleep ten hours a day hell no they don't , enless you drive a rig and understand what happens don't try tell regulate something they don't understand ,how many unsafe drivers are in cars been parting all night and then drive but big rigs get the blame for there faults , I say if are dam drivers would all stick together ,like old times , we could get this solved , this is all about money for the states not safety , wake up America drivers this is your lively hood there taking away , stop the government be fore they srew us again stand together we are the rulers of the American roads its not about speed limits its about letting us do the job we have the way we do best ,drivers wake up before you can pay your bills and were all stuck in the goverments claws

  9. 9. James [ November 02, 2017 @ 07:29AM ]

    I agree. We should all quit and not worry about losing our jobs bcuz they'll come running back to us in less than a week. Who else is going to deliver all products from farms/factories to the shelves? Not only that, how will products get to the farms and factories to grow/manufacturer their final products. Plus road work (and construction of all kinds), port work, waste management/recycling/shredding, fuel delivery, automotive transporting, and so on, all involve trucks and truck drivers. Do you think that the government officials will replace millions of truckers and deliver all these products to people? They don't know crap about truck driving. All they know is to live their cozy lives in their cozy homes and enjoy working in their cozy offices and go partying, golfing, boating, vacationing, etc. While we're the ones driving for hours and hours sleeping in the truck for days and staying away from our homes and families/friends, never being able to party or vacation or even have one bottle of beer for months and months, just to make everyone else's lives comfortable. Most of us don't even get holiday breaks or paid holidays or overtime for working holidays or even weekends for that matter. But instead of recognizing all of the hard work we put in to move America, we get the shittiest of treatment and it just gets worse by the day. Now ELD devices are supposed to make driving safer? How? I thought it was illegal to operate any electronic devices while driving. I always look at my paper log book while driving to figure out how many hours I have left to drive or be on duty or to take my break. But I can't do that with the ELD logbook without breaking the law. Which means ELD's should actually be illegal and unsfafe. And more time consuming and sometimes confusing too and like anything electronic it malfunctions a whole bunch of times. The ELD in the truck I was driving malfunctioned and did not register my last 8 hours as driving and still shows on-duty. If I get pulled over, how am I supposed to explain to the officer how my logs show that I'm on-duty and not driving and do not have a co-driver BUT I am 8 hours away from my origin? Don't think about the money you're making today fellow drivers. Think about the bigger picture. I'm quitting truck driving and have already given my boss a notice that this weeks my last week. Join me my fellow truckers and let's all participate in setting this right once and for good.

  10. 10. Donnie White [ November 07, 2017 @ 10:43PM ]

    If we could just get the fuel tanker drivers to stop everybody else would have no choice but stop.

  11. 11. Alexander Shatravka [ November 18, 2017 @ 06:24PM ]

    US Government wants to help you.

    No! US Government wants to kill me forcing to install ELD on my truck from Desember 18 2017. Now I will have to sleep in the daytime while I can find a parking lot for the truck. However, I can not sleep during the day time. I will be forced to drive the tructor trailer at night, when I want to sleep very much, in bad weather with snow and ice and when it is impossible to find a parking lot.The government wants to kill me and make my track insecure for people on the road. The government calls this ELD a concern for drivers and safety.

 

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