Thursday, November 23, 2017

House defeats amendment to delay ELDs but OKs measure to prevent speed limiter funding


Thursday, September 7, 2017
by LYNDON FINNEY/The Trucker Staff

Lawmakers gave a thumbs down to an amendment to delay ELDs but a thumbs up to an amendment to keep federal money from being used to implement speed limiters.
Lawmakers gave a thumbs down to an amendment to delay ELDs but a thumbs up to an amendment to keep federal money from being used to implement speed limiters.

WASHINGTON — The House late Wednesday defeated an amendment that if successful, would have delayed implementation of the electronic logging device mandate.

During the same session, lawmakers passed by voice vote an amendment that would prevent federal funds being used for implementation of a speed limiter rulemaking.

On a 246-173 vote, lawmakers defeated the ELD amendment, which had been attached to the FY2018 Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act and would have forbid the use of federal funds throughout the coming fiscal year to implement the mandate.

It was introduced by Rep. Brian Baber, R-Texas.

Babin has also introduced a stand-alone bill that would delay implementation for two years, but that bill has yet to be considered in committee.

Babin worked with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association to draft the amendment and the stand-alone bill.

“Regarding the ELD mandate delay, OOIDA thanks Representative Brian Babin for his support of professional truck drivers,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA’s executive vice president.

“The concerns raised by us, by Congress and industry stakeholders have not changed. There are too many unanswered questions about the technical specifications and enforcement guidelines of the mandate,” he said. “This includes issues related to enforcement, connectivity, data transfers, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and many other legitimate real world concerns.”

“The agency refuses to certify any ELD as compliant with the rule, thus leaving consumers with no idea if a device they purchase is indeed compliant,” Spencer added.

The American Trucking Associations, which strongly supports the ELD mandate, was quick to praise the action.

“ATA has supported, and will support, this important regulation,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “Congress has now voted a fourth time to move forward with electronic logging of the existing Hours of .ervice information required for decades. Make no mistake, the time for debate about electronic logging is over, and we’re pleased that Congress has rejected this ill-conceived effort to delay their implementation.

“For a decade, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has repeatedly spoken, the Courts have spoken, law enforcement has spoken, the industry has spoken and Congress has spoken in favor of the benefits of electronic logging devices,” he said. “All the while, opponents of electronic logging have delayed, dissembled and deceived about this technology. Tonight’s vote should end what is left of this debate so our industry can carry on with the business of complying with this regulation.”

ATA has been active in defending ELD technology, including drafting a letter to FMCSA in support of its regulation.

In the response, the ATA said the FMCSA answered that letter with even more support for moving forward as planned to implement the rule in December.

“Defeating the amendment demonstrates TCA’s commitment to moving forward with the compliance date and easily shows that our members have been proactive in finding an ELD solution that works,” said David Heller, vice president of government affairs for the Truckload Carriers Association.  “Our membership generated over 200 e-mails and letters to Representatives in the house that supported the current compliance date, taking the opportunity to place TCA at the forefront of a progressive industry that remains committed to improving upon its safety record.” 

FMCSA said the technology is ready for implementation.

“Currently, there are more than 75 devices that have been self-certified and registered with the agency,” the agency's response said.

Among other things, the agency said ELDs do not change Hours of Service regulations and do not impact HOS compliance. Further, the agency said highway safety would not be compromised and implementation of the ELD rule will improve compliance with HOS rules and reduce crashes.

“Additionally, the rule includes provisions to protect drivers by ensuring that employers do not harass drivers into violating HOS regulations through the use of ELDs and related technologies,” FMCSA said.

OOIDA has said potential driver harassment is one of the reasons it is again ELDs.

“Wednesday night’s vote is a testament, not just to the broad and common sense support for ELDs, but to ATA’s members, allies and staff who pressed Congress to preserve this important safety rule,” said ATA Executive Vice President of Advocacy Bill Sullivan. “This vote is important. Complying with existing laws will make all who share the roads safer, and ATA will continue to work with FMCSA, carriers, drivers, and law enforcement to ensure smooth implementation of this bipartisan effort on schedule in December. We commend the leadership of Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., and bipartisan champions in the House who support compliance with existing laws and rules.”

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