The Boy Who Cried ELD

If you didn’t know better, you might think it was a cautionary tale, or even a bad practical joke:

A shepherd-boy, who watched a flock of sheep near a village, brought out the villagers several times by crying out, “Wolf! Wolf!” and each time his neighbors came to help him, the wolf was never there.

In our industry, the shepherd-boy has been The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. For years, the FMCSA tried to implement an ELD mandate. ELD stands for Electronic Logging Device. Those of us in the industry (the villagers) kept hearing that the ELD was going to take effect, but there were many starts and stops punctuated by court battles – including one in the Supreme Court.

eldYes, the ELD mandate has been that divisive.

The DOT, the FMCSA, the ATA (American Trucking Association), and even big motor carriers have supported the federal mandate on electronic logging devices. They believe that tracking how many hours truckers drive will prevent them from driving past legal limits.

But the trucker’s trade group, The OOIDA (Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association) cried government overreach and fought all the way to the Supreme Court, arguing that requiring ELDs on commercial vehicles would violate truck drivers’ privacy and foster carrier harassment over driving hours.

Even as late as July of this year, a bill was filed to delay the compliance date of the federal government’s electronic logging device two years, to December 2019. But, let’s be real – the ELD mandate has survived a number of legal challenges, and it’s unlikely the latest efforts to thwart or delay it will succeed.

The Wolf, however, did truly come at last. The Shepherd-boy, now really alarmed, shouted: “Please come and help me!” but no one paid any heed to his cries, nor rendered any assistance.

Just weeks away, on December 18th (Merry Christmas, truckers!), citations can be issued to trucks without ELD. And, non-ELD trucks will not be allowed on the road after April 1, 2018.

Whether you’ve followed it closely or ignored those constant cries of “Wolf!”, it seems that the ELD mandate really will be here before we know it.

Have you been following the saga? Do you think the benefits of ELD outweigh the concerns?  I’d love to hear your perspective because no matter which side you sit on, it’s a topic that provides plenty of….

…Fuel for Thought,