The lawmaker championing the fight to delay the upcoming electronic logging mandate called on President Trump to issue an executive order providing an immediate waiver for all truckers.
Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, sent his request to Trump in a letter on Thursday, Nov. 9.
“Millions of hardworking American truckers, farmers and small businesses need you to take immediate and decisive action to protect them from a massive new regulation that is scheduled to go into effect just 39 days from today. I am writing on their behalf with a plan to help you do just that,” the letter states.
“Accordingly, I respectfully request that you issue an Executive Order as soon as possible, instructing the Secretary of Transportation to provide an immediate waiver for all trucking sectors and operations subject to this mandate, until such time as it can be certified that implementation will not cause economic or other harm to the millions who are subject to it.”
The letter is the lawmaker’s latest attempt to assist truckers in finding relief from the impending mandate, given the countless concerns about its implementation, enforcement as well as privacy and security concerns.
“My preference would be to delay the rule for as long as it takes, but at a bare minimum, I would encourage an initial waiver for all sectors until April 1, 2018,” Babin wrote to Trump.
Babin went on to detail the three reasons why the delay to April 1 makes sense logistically and enforcement-wise.
“First, a three-month delay eliminates the very predictable havoc of trying to implement this massive, complicated regulation just a week before Christmas – perhaps the busiest time for the consumer freight network of the year,” the lawmaker wrote.
“Second, this is the same date that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance recently announced they would begin to fully enforce this mandate (with partial enforcement starting Dec.18), their well-intentioned but nevertheless ambiguous path forward for public safety officials to gradually begin enforcing this new requirement.
“Third, an additional three months will provide FMCSA with the time to continue processing applications for waivers and exemptions that are currently under consideration.
“And finally, this would set a relatively close new deadline for this issue to be revisited, keeping the pressure on both government and industry to answer the questions and solve the challenges that this mandate clearly presents.”
Moving beyond the logic behind his request, Babin ran down his primary concerns with the mandate including cost, safety and cybersecurity.
While truckers are familiar with the cost and safety arguments, the cybersecurity concerns are mounting as the deadline gets closer.
Included with Babin’s letter is a memo from the National Motor Freight Traffic Association.
In it, the association details connectivity between the CAN bus (the truck) and the internet electronic logging devices will require.
“This creates some genuine concern regarding the cyber security posture of the ELD devices themselves as they create a bridge between the internet and the CAN bus network of the vehicle. If the ELD devices could be exploited to send malicious traffic to the vehicle CAN bus, it could have serious consequences to the safe operation of the vehicle,” the memo from the association states.
Babin pointed out with all of these concerns the Trump-led regulatory reform platform is the perfect way to delay the mandate with a waiver until the numerous questions and concerns can be addressed.
“Mr. President, rolling back the regulatory overreach of the previous administration has been one of our proudest achievements since you took office. Together, we have now used the Congressional Review Act to block 15 separate new burdensome regulations from going into effect, and the economy and stock market have responded in kind.
“A few powerful interests will tell you that this mandate is good for trucking, and our country, but millions of hardworking people across our country who came together exactly one year ago to elect you president profoundly disagree. I ask that you listen to those millions of voices, and give everyone at least another three months to get this right.”
The letter concludes with Babin asking Trump to act no later than Dec. 1 to truckers will have a clear understanding of intent before the scheduled deadline.
Babin has championed the delay of the ELD mandate with the ELD Extension Act of 2017, HR3282, pending before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee with 64 cosponsors. He also met with protestors from the ELD or Me and Operation Black and Blue groups during the recent demonstrations in Washington, D.C.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has thrown its full support behind Babin’s efforts in seeking the delay.
“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 and the executive order he is now asking for would provide breathing room for the agency to address a number of significant unresolved concerns identified by stakeholders.”
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