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Truckers protest against logging devices

(KOLNKGIN)
Published: Dec. 4, 2017 at 6:31 PM CST
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Truckers across the country are protesting a new mandate that would require them to install an electronic logging device (ELD) in their trucks.

The industry estimates there are about 3.5 million truckers in the United States. Soon, everyone will have to abide by the regulations.

ELDs are designed to monitor the truck’s engine to see if it’s running or moving and for how long. Not only does it monitor the engine, but also a driver’s speed and braking.

ELD's connect with the truck's engine to record various data elements, including driving time. The technology stops drivers from falsifying their logs to work longer hours, which was accomplished with the paper logs.

The ELDs can cost anywhere from $100 to $500. Then a monthly fee is anywhere from $20 to $50 for life.

Under the current Hour of Service rules, truck drivers can work up to 14 hours a day, 11 of which can be driving. Drivers will then have to take a 10 hour break before driving again.

Jon Hoppe is an independent truck driver who delivers groceries. He said the mandate will force him to work faster.

“When you go to the grocery store, all of the sudden your gallon of milk will be sky high,” he said. “This is because no one will be able to get their deliveries made in the current hours with this ELD.”

Some local drivers say it isn’t fair to work against the clock with the ELDs.

“A lot of drivers are quitting, and those are your best drivers. I mean, they are the most courteous, they’re what we call old-school,” said Debra Upton, an independent truck driver.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, drivers using ELDs have a lower crash rate, about a 12 percent reduction.

Still, these truckers say it’s just not a one-size fits all industry.

“There are so many niche hauls and especially in Nebraska a lot of guys do this niche hauls,” said Jared Dean, an independent truck driver. “Big carriers don’t what independent truck drivers do, but the niche hauls are necessary hauls.”

The mandate will be effective December 19. Truckers have a grace period until April 1, 2018, to have the ELDs installed. This means truckers who are not compliant will not be placed out of service nor have points addressed against them, but there still may be citations and fines associated with it.

After the April 1 grace period, drivers will be placed out of service on top of the citations and fines associated with it.

All trucks will have to be in compliance with the law and have a mandatory ELD or grandfathered Automatic On-Board Recording Devices in their trucks by December 18, 2017.

Those who have AOBRD's will have until December 16, 2019 to transition to ELD's.