FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2017
Contact: Eric Naing, 202-408-1711, cell: 217-493-8294, firstname.lastname@example.org
Statement of Cathy Chase,
Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety,
on Exemptions to Implementing Truck Driver Electronic Logging Device Rule
Exemptions to Rule that Will Help Reduce Driver Fatigue are Reckless,
Especially When Truck Crash Deaths Continue to Surge
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) opposes any attempts to slam the brakes on full implementation of the long overdue electronic logging device (ELD) rule. Yesterday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) granted a 90-day delay in meeting the requirement to agricultural interests. Today, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers (OOIDA) requested a five-year delay. Advocates strongly opposes both special interest exemptions to the ELD rule. Members of the trucking industry have known about this rule for years and have had ample time to prepare for it. Exemptions will compromise the effectiveness of the rule, jeopardize safety, and make it difficult for law enforcement to enforce.
The rule requires most commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), namely large trucks and buses in interstate commerce, to install an ELD to track driver on-duty time. It was required by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21, P.L. 112-141), enacted in 2012, and was issued by the FMCSA in 2015. In addition to being expressly mandated by Congress, the rule has the support of a broad array of law enforcement, public health and safety groups, truck drivers, and trucking companies.
Truck driver fatigue has been a well-known safety problem for decades. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has repeatedly cited fatigue as a major contributor to truck crashes and included reducing fatigue-related crashes in its 2017/2018 Most Wanted List of safety changes. Large truck drivers frequently work very long shifts, often without adequate sleep, on shifting schedules that disrupt healthy sleep patterns.
ELDs will reduce time spent filling out paperwork and avoid violations for routine errors. Further, paper logbooks can be easily falsified and are often referred to as “comic books.” ELDs are a simple technological fix to this dilemma. They provide an objective record of a CMV driver’s on-duty time, will increase compliance with hours of service (HOS) rules, and will simplify and streamline the efforts of law enforcement. The FMCSA estimates that each year, mandating the use of ELDs will save 26 lives, prevent over 500 injuries, and avoid over 1,800 crashes. The U.S. Department of Transportation has also estimated that adopting ELDs will lead to over $1 billion in annualized net benefits.
There already is widespread use of ELD technology in the United States and other countries. Nearly a third of trucks currently in service have some form of it installed. Similar technology has been used in Europe for decades and is required in the European Union, Japan, and many other countries. Claims that additional time is needed to figure out widely used technology simply don’t hold water.
This is not the time to weaken an overdue truck safety regulation that will save lives. The 4,317 people killed in 2016 in crashes involving large trucks is an increase of more than five percent from the previous year and is the highest number of fatalities since 2007. These deaths amount to a major airplane crash every other week of the year. Further, in 2015, the most recent year for which complete data is available, an estimated 116,000 people were injured in crashes involving large trucks.
Each day that the ELD rule is not fully in effect is a day where all road users are needlessly placed in additional danger. There should be no further delay in implementing this commonsense, lifesaving regulation.