The Trucking Alliance for Driver Safety and Security (Trucking Alliance) and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) have filed a joint amicus brief in the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, in support of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s effort to fend off a legal challenge by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. to stop the agency’s electronic logging device rule for truck drivers.
The federal rule requires ELDs in most commercial trucks by December 2017. FMCSA issued the rule on Dec. 16, 2015, and implements Congress’s 2012 mandate to require ELDs for interstate commercial trucks. OOIDA, which filed suit the following day, maintains that ELDs are no better than handwritten paper logs when it comes to hours of service compliance or highway safety.
“Operating a large commercial truck is not an entitlement, but a privilege, and we have a moral responsibility to make sure our truck drivers are properly trained, drug and alcohol free and properly rested,” said Steve Williams, president of the Trucking Alliance and chairman and CEO of Maverick USA. “When ELDs are installed in every commercial truck late next year, they can be the technological platform upon which our industry can build a safe and efficient supply chain for the future.”
Advocates, in a statement, noted that paper log books are frequently referred to as “comic books” throughout the industry, because of the ease in falsifying actual driving and work time in violation of the federal requirements. The group also characterized OOIDA’s challenge as “frivolous,” and said that, among other “scurrilous claims,” opponents of ELDs assert that the devices will not improve HOS compliance.
“Advocates has fought for decades to have ELDs installed on large trucks,” said Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. “These devices will finally bring trucking and enforcement of commonsense rules into the 21st Century. It is time to rid the industry of the outdated and unreliable use of phony comic books that allow truck drivers to flout HOS limits and jeopardize safety for everyone. Driving too many hours is a recognized safety problem in the trucking industry and ELDs are a proven safety solution.”
Both safety groups and segments of the trucking industry have long fought for the implementation of the technology.
“The Trucking Alliance and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety represent a broad, united spectrum of highway users and transportation companies that know these ELDs can make the highways safer for truck drivers and motorists alike,” said Lane Kidd, managing director of the Trucking Alliance. “We’re committed to making sure this congressional mandate becomes a reality.”