BY MARK B. SOLOMON, EXECUTIVE EDITOR – NEWS
MOTOR CARRIER EXECUTIVES HAVE LONG
warned shippers that unless they make it easier for
drivers to operate legally as well as efficiently, they
could find themselves short of capacity or discover their
wheels cost far more than they have in the past. The
warnings have often fallen on deaf ears, however. Many
shippers assume their carriers will overcome any obstacle to deliver the goods. Or they are oblivious to possible
changes that may upend their universe.
This “ignorance is bliss” era is ending, not because
of carrier jawboning but because of the long arm of
the federal government. Under Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules, effective Dec.
18, all trucks built after the year 2000 must be equipped
with electronic logging devices (ELDs) to comply with
driver hours-of-service regulations. (Fleets with older
electronic onboard recorders have until December 2019
to bring their systems up to current standards.) FMCSA,
a subagency of the Department of Transportation, has
embarked on a nationwide road show to educate stake-
holders on the mandate and its ramifications.
At this writing, the Owner-Operators Independent
Drivers Association (OOIDA), which hates the mandate,
is lobbying Congress and the Trump administration to
delay or overturn it. But the chances of either happening
are slim. The mandate has twice been upheld in federal
appeals court, and the U.S. Supreme Court has denied
the owner-operator group’s petition to hear the case.
(In late August, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance,
a U.S. and Canadian motor carrier enforcement group
As the mid-December deadline looms for compliance with the electronic
logging device mandate, experts say truckers can weather the storm and even
profit from the experience—as long as shippers do their bit.
Can truckers learn to stop
worrying and love the mandate?