Congressman Brian Babin’s proposed amendment delaying the enforcement date for mandatory Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) has been voted down.
Earlier this month, Rep. Babin tried attaching an anti-ELD amendment to an existing appropriations bill that is expected to pass. The amendment would have prevented the DOT from enforcing the ELD mandate until September 30th, 2018. Congress voted against adding the amendment to the appropriations bill in a 246-143 vote.
With the death of the amendment, truckers and the organizations that fight for them are running out of options.
The proposed amendment was Rep. Babin’s second attempt to put a hold on ELD enforcement. In July he introduced H.R. 3282, the ELD Extension Act of 2017, which would have postponed the implementation of the ELD rule for two years. That bill currently has at least 45 co-sponsors and hasn’t yet come to a vote. But it seems unlikely to pass through the House, the Senate, and the White House before the enforcement date in December – if it is even to pass at all.
While the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA) is currently still fighting hard against the ELD mandate, there is a whole lot of lobbying power on the other side trying to push it through. In late July and early August, the ATA and OOIDA penned a series of letters to the FMCSA that seemed to be directed largely at each other.
The letter from the ATA claimed among other things that the only reason to oppose mandatory ELDS is “because they intend to cheat on their hours of service” and to “evade compliance with the existing laws and regulations.”
OOIDA’s letter slammed the ATA’s claims as “wildly inappropriate and dishonest” saying the ATA was either arrogant or ignorant. In the letter, they asked the FMCSA for an implementation delay not only for drivers’ sakes, but also to give the FMCSA more time to prepare for such a huge regulatory undertaking.
Unfortunately for the anti-ELD crowd, it looks like the war might be lost.
“Congress has now voted a fourth time to move forward with electronic logging of the existing hours of service information required for decades,” said ATA President Chris Spear in a statement. “Make no mistake, the time for debate about electronic logging is over, and we’re pleased that Congress has rejected this ill-conceived effort to delay their implementation. [This] vote should end what is left of this debate so our industry can carry on with the business of complying with this regulation.”