Babin says small-biz truckers should get relief from ELD 'burden'

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | Wednesday, July 19, 2017

U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, is perfectly fine with the notion of voluntarily adopting electronic logging devices. What he’s not OK with is a mandate.

“While technology like ELDs have great promise, I didn’t come to Washington to force those ideas on small businesses – and neither did President Trump,” Babin said. “If trucking companies want to continue implementing and using ELDs, they should go right ahead. But for those who don’t want the burden, expense and uncertainty of putting one of these devices into every truck they own by the end of the year, we can and should offer relief.”

Babin introduced a bill in the House of Representatives on Tuesday that would delay the electronic logging mandate for two years.

The bill, HR3282, is called the ELD Implementation Extension Act of 2017.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association jumped on board quickly and issued a Call To Action encouraging its members to support the legislation.

“After months of meeting with lawmakers and explaining the harmful impacts ELDs will have on small-business truckers, OOIDA believes the passage of this bill is our best chance to defeat the mandate. We are now at a critical stage where adding Congressional co-sponsors to the legislation will help the delay get signed into law and we need your help. Please contact your Representative and tell them to co-sponsor H.R. 3282 today.”
OOIDA Call To Action

Babin’s bill was the first big move in Congress to delay the implementation of the mandate.

“We appreciate Congressman Babin’s leadership on this issue. While we still believe the ELD mandate should be outright repealed, FMCSA simply isn’t ready to implement this rule,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said. “Congressman Babin’s bill would provide more time for the agency to address a number of significant unresolved concerns identified by stakeholders.”

OOIDA’s Director of Government Affairs Mike Matousek credits Association members for engaging their members of Congress on the ELD issue and hopes they will continue to do so.

“OOIDA members have already laid the groundwork for a delay or repeal,” Matousek said. “By actively calling and writing their lawmakers on the impending ELD mandate, many members of the House should be versed on the problems that lie ahead for this mandate and hopefully be willing to step in and support a delay.

“Now, we need our members to call and specifically encourage support of Congressman Babin’s bill.”

The bill has been referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, of which Babin is a member.

The introduction of Babin’s bill follows the first congressional call for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to consider a delay on the logging mandate as well.

On Monday, the House Committee on Appropriations voted on the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Funding bill for fiscal year 2018. The committee held a markup hearing and voted 31-20 to report the bill to the full House for consideration.

The Committee issued a report to accompany the bill, which details the members’ thinking and recommendations to the full House when considering the bill. While report language does not necessarily carry the weight of law, it outlines the “intent of Congress” and directs actions by agencies.

The report accompanying the THUD bill details concerns over the impending logging mandate.

“In light of the heavy burden of this mandate, especially on small carriers, the Committee directs the Department (of Transportation) to analyze whether a full or targeted delay in ELD implementation and enforcement would be appropriate and, if so, what options DOT has within its statutory authority to provide temporary regulatory relief until all ELD implementation challenges can be resolved,” the report states.

To underscore the committee’s concern, it ordered FMCSA to report back to both the House and Senate committees within 60 days of the passage of the THUD legislation.

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