Trucking Industry Divided on Electronic Logging Mandate

With rule scheduled to take effect in less than three weeks, driver groups disagree its merits of getting rid of paper version.

byKate Gibson|
Trucking Industry Divided on Electronic Logging Mandate

A long-running industry battle continues over a federal requirement that commercial vehicles be equipped with electronic logging devices now less than three weeks away.

The U.S. Supreme Court in July declined to hear a challenge from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association to the federal safety mandate, which is slated to take effect Dec. 18, calling for nearly all interstate commercial drivers to use ELDs to monitor hours of service.

Advocates including the American Trucking Associations said the rule is an important effort to improve safety by better ensuring compliance with hours-to-service rules that stipulate how many consecutive hours can be driven in a given period. 

Opponents including the OOIDA view it as a costly regulatory burden that harms small trucking and other businesses.

On Thursday, the OOIDA voiced support for a request that the mandate be delayed by Indiana, with the state's attorney general, Curtis Hill Jr., arguing that many commercial drivers—an estimated 200,000 of whom live in Indiana—are not prepared for it. 

The OOIDA, the entity that lost the bid to get the nation's highest court to review the ruling, continues its opposition amid ongoing support for the requirement by the American Trucking Association, which this week urged Congress to support the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's implementation of the new rule.

“As a committed advocate for the safe and efficient transportation of freight over America’s highways, ATA believes ELDs will improve safety by ensuring strict compliance with hours-of-service requirements,” said Collin Stewart, president of Stewart Transport, speaking on behalf of the ATA.

Federal data shows that an ELD reduced the truck crash rate by 11.7 percent and reduced hours-of-service violations by 50 percent when compared to users of paper logs.