Annette Sandberg sees one potential silver lining in the upcoming ELD mandate – having the devices equipped in most trucks may finally provide regulators with the hard numbers they need to create a better hours of service regulation for drivers.
“I think what ELDs will do, and I know there’s been a lot of opposition to ELDs, but it will actually give us good data to adjust the hours of service appropriately,” Sandberg said in an interview with Land Line Now on Tuesday. The interview took place following a presentation Sandberg made during the Women In Trucking’s Accelerate! Conference and Expo in Kansas City.
Sandberg led the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from August 2003 to April 2006 under George W. Bush. She served as a featured speaker on a panel about women succeeding in a male-dominated industry.
During Sandberg’s tenure as FMCSA administrator, she oversaw significant changes to the hours of service regulation. Sandberg said there were several things the agency wanted to do with the new regulations, including some more “trucker friendly” tweaks on things like split-sleeper berth provisions, that weren’t possible at the time.
“We just simply didn’t have the data to support it. And from the agency perspective, they have to have data to support any rule change,” she said.
She also expressed empathy for drivers who feel constrained by the potential influx of invasive technologies in their cabs.
“We don’t want technology to become so invasive in a driver’s life that it locks down every little thing they do and they feel like they can’t move without some device tracking them,” she said.
Sandberg was one of two former FMCSA administrators on hand for the second day of the conference, which is designed to promote gender diversity in trucking and transportation industry jobs.
Also on Tuesday, the association and Freightliner Trucks presented the seventh-annual Influential Woman in Trucking award to Daphne Jefferson, outgoing acting administrator of the FMCSA.
The Influential Woman in Trucking award recognizes women in the trucking industry who make or influence key decisions, have a proven record of responsibility, and mentor and serve as a role model to other women. The award was developed in 2010 as a way to honor female leaders in trucking, and to attract and advance women within the industry.
“We are truly honored to have such a positive relationship with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration through Daphne Jefferson. She took the time and made the effort to spend two days in the truck with two of our female drivers in order to better understand the industry from the driver’s perspective, and this helped her lead the agency,” Women in Trucking President and CEO Ellen Voie said.
Land Line Now Host Mark Reddig contributed to this report.
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