Independent truckers are trying to get President Trump’s attention in the hopes that he will halt or delay the pending electronic logging device mandate before its Dec. 18 implementation deadline.

The regulation requires truckers to install devices on trucks manufactured after 2000 that digitally track driving time to make sure they stick to federal driving limits. Some truckers say the issue has made them reconsider their previous support of the president.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has challenged the regulation’s constitutionality but has lost repeated rulings. The U.S. Supreme Court refused in June to hear the association’s appeal of a lower court decision upholding the mandate. That has sparked alternative protest strategies in the hopes of Hail Mary legislative or executive action.

H.R. 3282, a bill authored by GOP Rep. Brian Babin of Texas, that would delay the regulation for two years, is stalled in a House subcommittee. Some drivers want Trump to intervene.

Those against the mandate have made themselves increasingly vocal on social media and in coordinated protests in Washington last month. The ELD or Me Facebook group has about 20,000 members, and a change.org petition to do away with the mandate has more than 30,000 signatures. There’s also an active #ELDorMe on Twitter to gather support from opponents of the regulation.

Drivers want the regulation delayed so that more research involving more interest groups can be done on the potential economic and safety effects of the mandate, said Tony Justice, a driver for Everhart Transportation, who created the ELD or Me group.

“We would just like to be able to have a voice,” he said. “If we’re going to do a mandate, let’s get all ideas together and work together.”

“People say, why didn’t we try to do something seven years ago? I tell people it’s like a hurricane warning,” Justice said. “You don’t really get prepared until it’s about to hit you.”

Twitter is the best way to reach Trump, said Les Willis, who owns two trucking companies in Texas and Arkansas.

“I figure since the president uses Twitter to relay his message to the public, we should use Twitter in the same manner,” he said. “Why shouldn't he listen to us, since we hear him loud and clear?”

Protesters have been using the #ELDorMe Twitter hashtag daily since mid-October “in hopes of keeping our message alive,” Justice said.

But truckers have yet to hear the president’s position on the issue.

Contacted by Trucks.com, a White House communications representative forwarded a request for comment about Trump’s ELD position to the Department of Transportation, which did not respond.

Raymond Martinez, Trump’s nominee for administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, said in recent Senate testimony that he would not delay implementation of the ELD regulation.

Drivers who have spoken to several members of Congress worry that conversations are “one-sided” on Capitol Hill.

“The ones we’ve talked to have only been educated on it as a safety issue,” Justice said. “We don’t think the [American Trucking Associations] is showing all the research.”

Chris Spear, the ATA’s chief executive, addressed the issue at the trade group’s annual conference in late October, saying the technology has been adequately vetted.

“This issue has been legislated, promulgated and litigated. It is now time to move forward,” Spear said. “ELD technology removes one’s ability to exceed the legal hours of services, ushering in a safe, efficient and fair playing field for the nation’s trucking industry.”

The group has supported electronic logs since 1999.

Those against the mandate or its timeline have put hopes in Babin’s bill. He previously brought forward an amendment to delay the mandate for a year, which failed in September.

Babin said support for his bill is growing as other representatives hear from their constituents. It has about 60 cosponsors.

“Let me tell you, these truck drivers are letting my colleagues know exactly what this is all about,” he said.

Babin said he is trying to protect small businesses from burdensome regulation. “This is just another thing that is going to hurt the small guy,” he said.

However, industry experts are skeptical of the viability of any legislative delay. The failure of the earlier Babin amendment signaled the “end of what is left of the debate on whether or not there is the possibility to delay the mandate,” transport analysts at Stephens Inc. in Little Rock, Ark. said in an industry report.

Analysts Brad Delco and Scott Schoenhaus said the amendment “was likely Congress’s best shot at delaying the mandate given that it was in the form of a rider and could have slid past bipartisan opposition.” A separate bill like H.R. 3282 “would likely not have support in the House as well.”

Spear also dismissed any hopes of delay in his speech.

“Back in Washington, anti-truck and amateur hour advocacy groups believe they know what’s best for our industry,” he said. “This wave of special interests has built a cottage industry fueled by ideology, emotion and misguided narratives … all intended to divide our industry and this association.”

Willis and Justice both expressed frustration that Trump’s public acknowledgement of the industry has only come in the context of events coordinated with the ATA, which they do not believe represents all truck drivers. Notably, they pointed to a March ATA event when Trump met with drivers and executives at the White House and climbed into a semi-truck on the White House lawn, as well as the president’s October speech pitching his tax reform plan to truckers.

Babin said that though it is a “great group,” the ATA “represents the major trucking companies. These are companies that can afford in a much better way to go into this ELD business than somebody with five trucks or less,” he said.

Douglas Hasner, an owner-operator with Landstar Trucking, said he will be forced to stop driving if the mandate goes through.

“I came off the road for five days to make sure I voted for Trump,” he said. But if the mandate goes ahead, it will “absolutely” affect his opinion of the politician. “A man has got to keep his campaign promises.”

Read next: Truckers Aren’t Quitting Because of ELDs

About The Author

Emma Hurt

Emma N. Hurt is an Atlanta-based freelance journalist whose work has appeared in outlets including the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Wall Street Journal and the Atlanta Business Chronicle. She can be found on Twitter: @Emma_Hurt.

40 Responses

  1. Florian

    Why they try to regulate good people, hard workers and they are not woree about gays , robers ,lazy people ,droog traffickers, criminals. Why they’re focus is elb. So many things to do for our government and they loose time to kill good people. Wake up our government, we need help Mr President and any one can do something good and nice for this beautiful country.

    Reply
    • Joey Hoeck

      If trump does not throw this out not only will he loose my vote he will loose my whole family’s vote! I guess i will be a outlaw because im not going to use elog. The last thing the ATA does not speak on my behalf, bunch of communist pigs! Trucking is taking a really big hit this time! We need 16 hours of drive time to get anything accomplished in a days time!

      Reply
  2. Stacy

    ELD’s aren’t the problem. Hours Of So regulations are the problem. Hours Of Service have always been the problem but no one really cared or got vocal about it until the ELD mandate which will make you strictly adhere. Switch the focus from the ELD mandate and direct all efforts towards correcting the Hours Of Service problem.

    Need to bring back effective split logging, bring back the 8 hr break and when in the sleeper birth or off duty the 14 hr clock needs to stop.

    Driving for 19 yrs, been on e-logs and paper. HOS is the problem.

    Reply
    • TomT

      Excellent observation however like all trucker related issues since de-regulation pitted driver against driver while large carriers consolidated to form hugh conglomerates that are determined to tilt the competition in their favor by squeezing out the O/Os independent and small carriers out of business with onerous regulations supported by motor club groups and the R.R lobby and as the article mentioned, “amateur hour advocacy groups and the ATA” which represents large carriers, truckers rarely agree on anything and when they do and push comes to shove it is usually too late as the horses are already out of the barn . Those who propose these things know very well that truckers rarely agree because they are as a rule, fiercely independent. The problem here is their independence is now threatened which of course threatens their lifestyle more so than a career which is the reason most do the kind of challenging work they do. The log book changes were challenged by OOIDA and others only not strongly enough as some figured they would just play with the logs as has been going on since they first came out I know I was there, hence the ELD regulation. I am afraid with all that is going on in this Country, it may well be to late as what happened when de-regulation took effect and good carriers were pulling their doors down at the rate of two or three a month, history repeats itself.

      Reply
      • Sandi Soendker

        Great comment from Tom T. ELDs are ok if you want them but think about this — a mandate? Making everyone do it? What? It clearly is a case of stubborn persistance by the government, holding hands over ears and ignoring common sense.

  3. Ryland Kirchoff

    Why can’t the gov see the dangers of ELD with the way HOS are currently written. The 14 hr rule is the problem. It puts a clock on drivers. We do a lot of night driving in the Oilfield and it is very nice to allow your driver to stop and rest for 4 or 5 hrs if they get tired. With paper we just push our start time back a little, drive time stays the same. With ELD we won’t be able to allow drivers to pull over when tired or they will go past the 14 hr day and miss drop by 10 hrs. So instead, drivers will now be forced to keep driving when tired. Who’s going to compensate us when we start running off road because of this. ELD is not the problem, it’s HOS. On a economic level, how is our country going to run when an already short truck force is shortened even more? This is going to be crazy.

    Reply
    • Hap

      I agree if everyone would unite and put the brakes on we could get our respect back

      Reply
      • J peters

        Why don’t you stop your trucks for one week??? starting December 18th like me i have 5 trucks all my truck are going to stop for one full
        weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek

    • TomT

      Those days are over. They have replaced the solidarity that used to exist between drivers when they pitted driver against driver and locked up Jimmy Hoffa and de-regulated the industry thanks to Kennedy and Jimmy Carter. I do remember when I-80 was closed down in the 70s by truckers over fuel prices when O/Os went on strike and Gov Shapp of Penna. met with the truckers to try to help with the problem while Ohio just sent out troopers and tow trucks and cleared the highway, beginning of OOIDA. The corporate thinking today is to get them as uninformed and brand new with no idea what a good pay check or a rate looks like from wherever they can tap a cheap labor market which is why today you have truck drivers who are steering wheel holders who drive their trucks like a car and will pull in front of you to pass going up a hill at 5mph faster than the truck in front of them while you have to take divers action and loss your momentum and why telephone poles are taken down with trucks making right hand turns and roll overs are a common thing today all of which adds fuel to the fire of mandatory rest breaks and ELDs.

      Reply
  4. Tim Hibbard

    This electronic log mandate blows.people passing laws that have never driven truck in their lives.it’s pad

    Reply
  5. Sam

    Eld will help my business, there is lot of companies and drivers who are running 19 hours a day, after they hit the brakes it will be more work for single OO

    Reply
    • Eric

      That’s why I just bought another truck and trailer. While the rest of these guys bitch about it, I plan on capitalizing on it. Agree with you 100%

      Reply
    • Hap

      That’s not the point there is enough work as it is it’s going to be hard for u to get some time at home

      Reply
    • TomT

      Yea right, that`s what we thought when they came out with the CDL. Wait till after the law goes into effect and the large carriers cut the rates so low no one who has made it this far could survive and you go either bankrupt or work for truck. Corporations have people that have crunched the costs down to the last penny, can you afford that kind of accounting? I`ve seen this movie before and it never seems to end well for the small guy. Capitalism is designed that way. Money talks nobody walks at Cy Harold`s men`s store and the more you have the more you want. Not a bad system if your smart enough to find a niche market and turn a profit.

      Reply
  6. Brian Shields

    Why mess with truck bc it has worked this entire time all it’s going to do is hurt everyone I mean everyone expect the government

    Reply
  7. Cross

    If the truckers are forced to abide to the fake laws for profit then why don’t we make law enforcement and medical personal abide by the same laws and force them to purchase and pay to maintain the same records as truckers or better yet why don’t the truckers just shut this country down by parking the trucks, If all the truckers would just grow a set of rocks and stick together things would get done look at the Brokers they get away with stealing lieing and falsifieing they are not held accountable for anything people it’s about money and power figure it out stop running and watch the laws change just like back in the 60’s and 70’s

    Reply
  8. Gerson Rocha

    I am truck driver. I am support ELD. I have in my truck, for more than one year. Some people don’t like work inside the law.

    Reply
    • John holt

      Gerson Rocha,you most likely work for a big carrier like I had to get back in this business,I had to go to school to get my license back because I’d been out of it for several years due to becoming a father back in early 80’s, me with no recordable experience.now having said that I understand why you would make that statement because I know you were brainwashed into thinking elds were a good thing because I know the big carriers brainwashed they’re newbie drivers I’ve seen it time and time again it until you run with a paper log book you will never understand why us drivers are against the mandate.With elogs you can’t move when need to move, I’ve been there and done that I myself will never run a truck with the elog nightmare again !!!

      Reply
    • John

      Another idiot..
      I don’t want to work “outside the law”. I honestly don’t even want to work as hard as I do..
      All those who say it’s the HOS are correct. Back in the day many of us drove too much. It’s not the amount of time I put in, it is being told when to do it.. I don’t want to work 14 hours. If I want to take a nap when I feel tired then I do. If I want to get up after six hours and take off in seven I do. If I am on my way home and I lie down for five hours then take off again I do.
      What I do not do is drive tired. What I do not do is work 14 hours when I only feel like 12. If I leave home then take a nap for two hours before going to load then I log it forward.. So what?
      I have been out here for 31 years …. for the first 25 or so I did run too much. That was wrong. Telling me when to work is wrong as well. Good truckers stop when they are tired. We go when we wake up. The old HOS allowed for that common sense approach.
      Frankly the only thing ELD is good for is using it as a whip by dispatchers. See what they think when the real revolution comes along. When no one will work except for an hourly wage. Then the companies will need to compete for drivers.. That will really chap their asses. Company A pays $27/hour. Company B pays $32.. Gee, let me think?

      Reply
  9. Joey

    All this is going to do is push the truck driver out and put the steering wheel holder in the truck. These mega companies need to ride down the interstate and see their safe driver’s with their legs resting on the windows and riding in the middle lane holding up traffic. I mean you can’t look at Facebook without seeing swift in a accident. And Congress needs to go through truckstops around 8 o’clock and tell us where we’re going to park.

    Reply
    • TomT

      Absolutely correct. That is exactly what they want to do. Next up, import immigrants with special visas due to the driver shortage. They are already doing it at the ports. Wait till you see those rates.

      Reply
      • Ric

        You might be right for the short term but they are actually developing an automated driving system or ADS to replace drivers all r together. It’s on the FMCSA website.
        Furthermore, last week in Las Vegas, and the only automated shuttle currently in operation hit a delivery truck that was backing in. The driver was cited for the incident!
        And another fact that supports this is that a year ago. Otto ran the very 1st automated truck experiment successfully delivering a load of Budweiser up in Colorado.
        The industry is evolving and we either have to evolve with it or unite and fight for our jobs.
        All in the name of SAFETY. Aka the almighty dollar.

  10. Kathy D Smith

    We are cattle haulers and it’s going to put us out of business also…i just wonder if we can hire a attorney for suit cause of job loss because of somethinbg being pushed down our throats…visist this year’s truck accidents how many had elogs and how many didn’t? MORE DID have them than didn’t.. Also Many of the old school truckers know nothing about electronics most don’t even know how to send a text message from a cell phone what about those? My husband is one he has hauled cattle for 30 years now we looking at a job loss.. that job loss means our support for our family…My husband who has been driving hauling cattle 30 years has been in 3 accidents in 30 years and neither was his fault so you tell me what a elog is going to help??? I say it’s all in the training and who trained them….

    Reply
  11. Robert Anderson

    I am a onwer operator and do a lot of short hulls so this is going to effect my bottom line in the time to get loaded several times a day it will definitely stop some of the loads i get loading and unloading will kill me.
    Just need to find out which people in the congress and fmcsa are going to profit from the sales of the elds and the programs that run them that’s who is really pushing for the mandate it is definitely not about safety!!!!

    Reply
  12. J

    It’s about being able to stop when we need to, instead of being forced to stay behind the wheel because of the 14 hour rule. We need the flexibility to find safe places to park also. No more stopping for a 3 hour nap when you want. No more finding a good spot to park when you just need 10 minutes. No more courteous driving in slow traffic. The regulations are dangerous and require someone who can drive nonstop to be able to drive on elds.

    Reply
  13. shane

    SS
    I run papper logs I stop let traffic roll threw the big cities,Then I drive some more.
    ELDs will force me to mingle with the idoits ever more. Anytime Government get involved in our lives its a bab thing,IE Obamacare what a dumbass idea that was.

    Reply
  14. LJS

    The government should not be able to force its citizens to purchase and use a product they don’t want. Obamacare anyone? Chris Spears and the ATA are #FAKENEWS. They only represent the mega fleets, not the small companies.

    Reply
  15. Southern

    You can’t fix stupid, our government has been proving that for many years now. Cars and light duty trucks race everywhere down the road, our country has turned into a battle field on the highways, since elds started hitting big trucks now we got 80000 pound killing machines racing down the road trying to stay ahead of the clock. Put cars and trucks together that are both in a hurry and you have created a situation that will turn deadly. I hope all the idiots that pushed for this are the first to be effected by it’s deadly consequences because it’s gonna happen. New drivers need to be able to take their time and do things right, not look at a clock and race down the road In a killing machine they know nothing about yet or how it’s going to react In a situation they are not experienced with yet. Our government is using the trucking industry in my opinion as a form of population control. They know massive lives are going to be lost, and they also know this will leave more resources left for the ones who survive this gauntlet that is about to start December 18th. These big companies rely on elogs because they lack the knowledge of hiring a good driver, as long as someone can hold the wheel they don’t care. And some were placed on elogs by dot because they could not function in the industry without them, it is easier for them. Back in the day we had drivers, real drivers. Those drivers have quit the industry because of all the b.s. or just got old and retired. I want to see how the level playing field the ata talks about works out for them when people start dying exponentially on a daily basis. There will be anything but a level playing field. Some people are so stupid it’s unreal. As for Trump, he won’t have my vote next election I don’t care if Hilary Clinton is the only alternative I will vote for her. That s all I have to say, stay safe and God speed.

    Reply
    • John

      Worse than that out on Hwy 85 in ND.
      If I don’t run about 71 then I constantly have fools passing me on hills, curves, ect. I have more near head on collisions on dash cam than most people ever see.
      Worst part? Some of these bozos are driving trucks…. notice I didn’t say some are truck drivers.

      Reply
  16. Meldoy

    We have a little over a month to prepare. FMCSA is not going to amend the ELD Mandate deadline (they have already did). So we need to start preparing and stop waiting for a change that is not going to happen. My brother is a truck driver and he came across this really great trucking book about ELDS. He learned how to make the ELD work for him without using stress or money. Easy ELD is the name of the eBook and you can find it at http://www.learneldfast.com

    Reply
    • John

      I wrote another letter to Whitehouse yesterday. I begged them not to delay the ELD or authorize one single exemption. The public needs to see the full effects of this train wreck.
      Unless this thing goes in full force and really blows the system out of the water then there will not be enough public outcry to really get the focus on how foolishly this has been implemented.
      Then, and only then, will any serious debate be heard.
      As long as some dipshit can scream safety every time a politician might have something to say then it can only get worse.
      This is why the thing must go down as planned.
      I’m buying popcorn and getting a front row seat early.
      There will be foolish and unnecessary tragedies as well and that is wrong, but I really really want to see the government and the citizens get a real solid dose of reality.
      Nothing less than this can do the trick.

      Reply
      • maggie

        John – go to church and pray for more brain because right now u don’t have one. hopefully god will help u, if not then u have another option – retirement. if u are ok with ELD then it’s ok – it’s you’re right. but when most of small business truckers are not ok then u shouldn’t send another letter to don’t delay the ELD. keep you’re ELD and don’t send any more of those letters.

  17. J peters

    I think with all our talk and no action ,eld will move forward just as thay have planned, good luck everyone

    Reply
  18. Watley

    ELD is here like it or not. You want to make a change find your lawmaker and let him or her know how you feel . Only you can change your future .

    Reply
    • John

      Lawmakers are afraid to speak out. All it takes is one truck wreck and every snowflake out there will scream that they took a stand against safety.
      Just as when the crazy laws were put into place with the patriot act… the most egregious stripping of civil rights in American history… the politicians risk being branded as advocates against public safety even when asking for common sense modifications.
      Let it go into effect. A massive disruption in the day to day routines of the public is a must for any real discourse.

      Reply
  19. Kelly

    I would like to leave a comment for president Trump I am a truck driver that’s been in this industry for over 32 years the Mandate for the electronic logging device is unfair and unjust it is a bad mark on our constitution it is unfair to the American truck driver the truck driver that delivers your commodities that people need for everyday life like food and housing materials and entertainment and for necessities of everyday life we are the truck drivers we think the log mandate should be abolished should not be a mandate people that live their lives today are not judged on how long they work and then have to drive afterwards we drive this American and the world there are shortage in this industry we do not have enough trucks to move the world there is an extreme shortage of drivers to do this job the drivers that are out here today have to jump through all sorts of Hoops like if we’re physically fit to do this job if you pass the ELD mandate the shortage of people in this job now is going to be much shorter they do not train the new driver for experience and they are kicking the old drivers out when is it going to stop not being fair please mr. President look at the mandate signed by another professional truck driver

    Reply

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