Truck drivers protest electronic logging devices

Published: Oct. 6, 2017 at 3:23 PM EDT
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This week, many truck drivers across the country are protesting an upcoming mandate for ELDs, or electronic logging devices.

The e-logs enforce the hours of service for the drivers, and the industry is pushing back.

The mandate is scheduled to go into effect December 18.

The ELD Extension Act was introduced in the House of Representatives. It would delay the mandate for two more years.

The real issue for drivers is the hours of service that the ELDs will be enforcing. Drivers can work fourteen hours per day and have to take ten consecutive hours off duty. The hours of service force drivers to sleep by that clock, not when their body needs it.

Amy Funk has seven trucks in her company and will pay $5,200 annually for ELD software.

"Your carriers with 50 trucks," Funk said, "what's it costing them?"

One issue with the software is the continuous logging.

"Your fourteen hours starts as soon as you start. You can't stop it, you can't do nothing," explains Funk.

If a driver needs a break, they'll have to use some of those fourteen hours.

Company drivers are paid by the mile and ruled by the clock.

"I may have to hire another driver just to have him sitting here to go pick trucks up, bring trucks in," said Funk.

The protests in Washington, D.C., Columbus, and Minneapolis involve drivers shutting down their trucks on the sides of roads. Funk explains it's to show an example of how deliveries can't be made within the time constraints.

There are some positives to the ELDs. Funk said she thinks it will help on the paperwork side and keeping track of mileage. But consumers could be the ones suffering at the end.

"When I have to raise my rate because I'm losing money," explains Funk, "the consumer who buys the product at the tail-end, whether it be Walmart, Target, Advance Auto, wherever, those prices are gonna start going up too."

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a list of 30 ELDs on their website, that they state meet their regulations. However, the FMCSA has not certified or approved any ELDs; they only list self-certified companies that meet their requirements. Drivers buying ELDs could find out later their new software is not certified by the FMCSA.

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