LIMA — Plans to implement automatic electronic logging in tractor-trailers prompted a protest by truck drivers Monday in Lima.
A group of five trucks could be seen lining the parking lot of Clock Tower Plaza looking out over North Cable Road calling for a delay in implementing the installation of these Electronic Logging Devices, set to replace manual paper logs by the current deadline of Dec. 18, a mandate that had been included in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act of 2012.
The American Trucking Association, a national advocate for the trucking industry, has voiced support for the new policy, applauding a rejection of the inclusion of an amendment to delay ELD implementation in September.
“ATA has supported, and will support, this important regulation,” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said after the vote. “Congress has now voted a fourth time to move forward with electronic logging of the existing hours of service 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.”
With ELDs, truck drivers would be forced to work during a certain time frame no matter what the traffic or weather conditions are, putting more truck drivers in jeopardy, according to protester Fred Bowerman, of Cygnet.
“Part of the mandate is they put in a 14-hour rule,” he said. “It says that once you turn your truck on, you have 14 hours to get in as many miles as possible before you have to shut down for a mandatory 10-hour break.”
Stopping for accidents or inclement weather will have a negative impact on the mile total for those 14 hours, protesters said, with no means of factoring in those delays. This could have a negative impact not only on driver safety and pay, but also on the economy as a whole, according to Buckland-based truck driver Scott Reed.
“There hasn’t been an economic study done on this,” he said. “We are too diverse of an industry.”
A bill written to delay ELD implementation was introduced by Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, and while it currently has 64 co-sponsors, neither Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, nor Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, are among them. Protesters are hoping to build up public pressure for them to support the bill before December.
“Jordan knows everything we’ve told you,” Reed said. “Yet, he’s still not climbed on board.”