Small Business Truckers Don’t See Monitoring Devices as a Way to Improve Safety
Independent truck drivers are able to enjoy a more flexible work schedule than those who opt to work for larger companies. These companies are generally able to provide regular work due to their partnerships with receivers of similar size and success levels. However, this also means they work according to more stringent regulations. Truckers that operate their own business and work with smaller partners are able to get regular business primarily due to the fact that they are affected less by these mandates. But new changes pertaining to the use of monitoring devices may hit small business truckers the hardest, and these truckers are making their voices heard.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has come out recently to file complaints against a federal mandate requiring commercial vehicles to utilize electronic monitoring devices. While some are opposed to the measure because it makes it more difficult for them to operate on their own time and complete trips in timely manners, others claim that the mandate is a violation of their Constitutional right to privacy. According to the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the mandate is aimed at making sure truckers comply with required rest period laws. This laws prevent drivers from driving too long of a distance without stopping for rest, and the purpose of the legislation is to prevent accidents related to driver fatigue.
The OOIDA has claimed that the mandate is arbitrary. President and CEO Jim Johnston stated: “The agency provided no proof of their claims that this mandate would improve highway safety. They didn’t even attempt to compare the safety records of trucking companies that use ELDs and those that do not. There is simply no proof that the costs, burdens and privacy infringements associated with this mandate are justified.” This sentiment is in line with the popular opinions of independent and small-business truckers who lose valuable job opportunities when mandates like these are forced upon them.
While all responsible organizations and drivers appreciate safe practices, most truckers don’t expect these devices to increase safety by any reliable margin. Still, those who share the road with large commercial vehicles have expressed their concerns, and lawmakers have felt pressured to act. Time will tell if lawmakers and owner-operators can reach a mutually-beneficial resolution.