Does the ELD Delay Still Have a Chance?
The ELD mandate has been a cause of constant discussion since it was first introduced last year. Drivers will be making one of the biggest changes in the history of trucking, permanently ditching their paper logbooks for electronic devices that make fudging hours nearly impossible.
While electronic logging devices are viewed as a necessity for ensuring drivers comply with hours-of-service rules and don’t drive to the point of fatigue and exhaustion, others see the move as potentially disastrous for smaller companies and independent drivers.
Though trucking officials on both sides of the debate have been vocal about their positions, those who are worried about the economic ramifications of compliance have repeatedly asked regulators to delay the deadline. On December 18th of this year, all carriers will be required to make the switch.
U.S. Representative Brian Babin (TX-36) recently introduced H.R. 3282, the ELD Extension Act of 2017. The bill, if passed, would provide more time for carriers to acclimate to the major changes in their industry. The bill’s supporters claim the delay would make the implementation phase easier and ensure smaller carriers and owner-operators don’t end up at a disadvantage because of the switch.
However, not everyone is optimistic about the bill passing. Some experts have said the chance is as low as 5 percent. The increasing uncertainty surrounding the bill is one that has even seen supporters raise questions. With the deadline mere months away, officials still have not provided the full training materials and resources necessary to make the implementation go smoothly.
Advocates of the delay would prefer if the mandate was scrapped entirely, but this doesn’t seem to be a possibility either. With the debate and litigation concerning the mandate finished, it is all but a given that things will proceed as normal once the end of the year arrives.
Perhaps the biggest potential danger of the mandate is that it could inhibit the privacy and freedom drivers enjoy in their line of work. Given that pay isn’t what it used to be, freedom is one of the remaining perks of the job. If that disappears, hiring efforts could suffer.