LIMA — Monday marks the second time in two months that truck drivers gathered in Lima to protest automatic logging in tractor-trailers.
During the first protest Nov. 13, five truck drivers with the American Trucking Association gathered on North Cable Road. On Monday, more than 40 truck drivers, in alliance with the American Trucking Federation, protested the electronic logging device on West Elm Street and later along state Route 309.
The ELD, a mandate of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act of 2012, was created to require the devices in commercial motor vehicles to keep records of duty statuses. They would replace the paper logbooks used now. The mandate will be in effect by Dec. 18, and protesters said it will be detrimental to the drivers and the economy.
“They are trying to give us an electronic logging device like an ankle bracelet to record what we are doing all the time,” said Josh Walters, of Hicksville. “It’s not safe, it’s dangerous, and it will make truck drivers drive when they are tired.”
Truck driver Eugene Roehm, of Willshire, said the mandate is unfair because it does not apply to everyone. He said he believes it will negatively impact cattle truck drivers because if the cattle die while on their way to the destination, it will cost them money.
“To make one law to cover everybody, you can’t do it,” he said. “The smaller companies are the ones who get hurt by it because they may run out of hours to get a load to their destination.”
Stephen Wyatt, of Hamilton, hopes to get the mandate repealed because he said it is a burden to purchase a device that he does not need.
“Drivers should know when they are tired to take a break,” he said. “It’s just common sense, and it has nothing to do with an electronic device to tell you what and what not to do.”
Scott Reed, the president of the American Trucking Federation, said he just wants to get U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, on board for the H.R. 3282 ELD Extension Act, a bill that will delay the ELD mandate for two years. He wants Jordan and the community to understand that not all truck drivers are bad drivers.
“These guys have 1 to 2 million miles under their belts, and they have clean safety records,” he said. “Why punish someone who has a clean record?”
Since the last protest, representatives Susan Brooks, Austin Scott and John R. Curtis have become cosponsors of the extension act, bringing the total to 67.
“We don’t know if we are going to get the regulations stopped,” Reed said. “But we need to appeal to President Trump to do an executive order to put a stop to this.”
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews