The founder of a national trucking industry safety group applauded the Trump Administration today for keeping a 2012 congressional mandate to require electronic logging devices, or ELDs, in all interstate commercial trucks to track drivers’ on-duty hours. The nationwide mandate begins today. ELDs replace the paper logbooks that millions of truck drivers have used since the 1930’s and which are easily falsified by drivers who want to exceed their on-duty hours behind the wheel.
“Installing ELDs in commercial trucks will improve the lifestyle and pay scale of our nation’s commercial drivers and play an important role in reducing large truck crashes on our nation’s highways,” said Steve Williams, founder and president of The Trucking Alliance, a coalition of freight carriers he helped form in 2010 to support safety reforms in the trucking industry, including the ELD mandate. Williams is also chairman and CEO of Maverick USA, headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Williams applauded the Trump Administration for enabling the ELD mandate to go forward. “Congress mandated ELDs in 2012, as part of MAP-21, and the Trump Administration could have delayed the requirement, pending a congressional repeal, but we have President Trump and his administration to thank for supporting public safety above anything else,” said Williams.
Reducing Large Truck Crashes
“Operating commercial trucks on US highways carry with it a moral and ethical responsibility to the public that our drivers are well rested, drug and alcohol free and well trained,” said Williams, “and these ELDs will verify that drivers are obeying the law and not exceeding their hours behind the wheel.”
Truck driver fatigue is a factor in large truck crashes. According to the US Department of Transportation, in 2015, there were 400,000 large truck accidents that caused 115,000 injuries, and more than 4,200 deaths. Williams added that who is at fault in those truck crashes should not be the issue, but equipping professional truck drivers with ELDs and other safety technologies to avoid those accidents should be the priority. “ELD’s will be a significant tool in reducing truck driver fatigue and many accidents,” said Williams.
Opponents of the ELD mandate have objected to the federal government utilizing ELDs, contending they will intrude on their daily activities. Williams disagrees. “Operating an 80,000-pound commercial semi-truck on a public roadway is not some entitlement to do as you please, but a privilege, and that requires sharing the road with millions of motorists. ELDs will hold everyone in our industry accountable and assure the public that commercial drivers respect our federal laws.”
Improving the Supply Chain and Hours-of-Service Rules
Williams believes the data gathered from these electronic devices will also improve the nation’s supply chain. “The ELD data collected from 3 million truck drivers will enable every aspect of the supply chain – shippers, receivers, freight forwarders, brokers, and the other transportation modes, to improve their own efficiencies, rather than forcing truck drivers to wait long hours to load and unload and then falsify their paper log books to make it all work. The nation’s supply chain shouldn’t place its inefficiencies on the backs of our nation’s truck drivers,” said Williams.
Williams explained that ELD data should also allow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to “evaluate practical common sense modifications to the current hours-of-service rules” adding that “real world evidence” will be the best gauge in how to regulate the on-duty and driving time for truck drivers. “We’ll finally have the information needed to improve the quality of the driving experience for commercial truck drivers.”
About the Trucking Alliance: The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security, also known as the Trucking Alliance, supports reforms to improve the safety and security of commercial drivers and to reduce large truck crashes. Carriers and supporting businesses may affiliate by invitation. Member carriers, their rankings among the 250 largest US trucking companies (according to Commercial Carrier Journal) and headquarters are: Swift Transportation (#3) in Phoenix, Arizona; JB Hunt Transport (#6) in Lowell, Arkansas; US Xpress (#16) in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Knight Transportation (#25) in Phoenix, Arizona; KLLM Transport Services (#35) in Jackson, Mississippi; Maverick USA (#74) in Little Rock, Arkansas; Dupré Logistics (#131) in Lafayette, Louisiana; and Cargo Transporters, Inc. (#174) in Claremore, North Carolina. Collectively, these companies employ 80,200 professionals, and operate 71,000 trucks and 220,000 trailers/intermodal containers to provide transportation and logistics solutions.