renew their license since the law took
effect two years ago.
The alliance is a coalition of freight
and logistics companies that support the
adoption of technology and regulations
to improve safety in trucking, such
as mandatory truck speed limiters,
mandatory electronic logging devices,
improved driver training and screening,
and advanced safety assistance systems.
“Current drug testing methods for
truck drivers are failing,” said Lane
Kidd, managing director of The Trucking
Alliance. Kidd told UN attendees that
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Cool Runnings, a Kenosha, Wis.-based
The underlying rules for driving time
haven’t changed — just the tool for
measuring compliance, said Sean McNally,
spokesman for the trucking association.
Truckers can drive no more than
11 hours in a 14-hour period of time,
followed by at least 10 hours of
mandatory rest, according to federal
regulations. The electronic device
mandate was part of a transportation
reauthorization bill signed into law by
President Barack Obama in 2012.
If drivers properly recorded their
driving time using paper logs before the
mandate, they shouldn’t be experiencing
delays now, McNally said.
“This is a safety measure, first and
foremost,” McNally said.
That in itself is a topic of some debate.
A 2014 study commissioned by
FMCSA, the agency that oversees
commercial driving regulations, found
that trucks equipped with electronic
monitoring saw a 12 percent reduction
in total crash rate and a 5 percent
reduction in preventable crash rate. The
study, based on data from 11 carriers,
also found a 53 percent reduction in
violations of the hours-of-service rules.
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But that data is disputed by the
Owner-Operator Independent Drivers
Association, a smaller trucking trade group
that’s opposed to the devices. The group
concluded that the study’s sample skewed
toward larger carriers and therefore wasn’t
representative of most truckers. The
study also established no link between
fatigue-related crashes and the use of the
electronic devices, the group said.
The mandate is more about larger
carriers improving their bottom lines
and exploiting a competitive advantage
over smaller trucking firms, said Todd
Spencer, acting president of the owner-operator group. The cost of the devices
are disproportionately burdensome for
smaller companies and don’t make the
roads any safer, Spencer said.
His group is seeking an exemption
from the rule for small trucking
businesses with good safety records.
Already, some specific exemptions for
other entities, like United Parcel Service
(UPS), have been granted. Truckers
hauling livestock received a 90-day waiver
and many livestock producers hope to
see that extended. Other exemptions
include drivers of vehicles manufactured
before 2000, because the devices aren’t
compatible with older engines.
So far, the Illinois Trucking Association
has remained neutral on the issue
because its members are divided, said
Matt Hart, the group’s executive director.
More than half of members surveyed
were already using the devices before
the mandate, Hart said.
Controversy over the devices is
bringing to light needed changes in the
underlying hours-of-service regulations
to allow drivers more flexibility in
determining when they rest, Hart said.
“At the end of the day, drivers know
best when to get some rest — not some
bureaucrat in D.C.,” Hart said.
B.L. Reever Transport, a six-truck
company based in Ohio that mostly hauls
steel throughout the Midwest, is exempt
because its trucks’ engines were built
before 2000. Nevertheless, owner Monte
Wiederhold decried the perception of
widespread cheating on paper logbooks,
which have to be verified with receipts and
time stamps throughout the day’s journey.
Unlike electronic logging devices,
paper logs allow drivers to use their best
judgment without endangering their own
safety, he said.
“The problem with ELDs is if you’re
one minute over — that’s a violation. I’d
rather a guy get to a safe place to park,”
said Wiederhold, while taking a break at
a South Holland truck stop.
Truckers need to plan ahead to
avoid those situations, said Illinois State
Police Master Sgt. Todd Armstrong. He
acknowledged there have been some
technical problems in the early going
with the logging devices not working as
intended, but said he believes they will
ultimately make roads safer.
Drivers “don’t have the ability to fudge
their logbooks anymore,” Armstrong
said. “It is what it is.”
(This article was reported by the