Lawmakers, truckers want electronic logs mandate to be delayed

This past July -- we told you about a mandate set to take effect this December.
South Dakota truck drivers were concerned about an electronic logging device they said was going to completely change the way they do their jobs and change the industry for the worse.

Now there is a bill introduced by a representative from Texas that aims to delay the mandate.
65 people have signed on as co-sponsors - including two lawmakers from Iowa, one from Minnesota, one from North Dakota and one from South Dakota.
But will it happen in time?

"These trucks are not just our trucks -- they're a home on wheels too." Truckers tell us e-logs will be an invasion of privacy and a big speed bump for the holiday season. "The transportation industry starts hauling our Christmas product, stocking the stores and that about the middle to the end of October is when the season starts well that's gonna be about the time the carriers are going to start putting these carriers in their trucks."

Our original story got people talking; it was played nationwide on Sirius XM Radio. Texas representative Brian Babin heard from constituents and introduced a bill to delay the mandate. Drivers also talked to South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem. "I am all in favor of delaying the ELD mandate. We've got so many small trucking companies and people that are in business that are going to be hit by this and it hurts smaller operators more

And buying the E-log devices could lead to an unintended financial consequence for truckers. "They can't spread their costs over more trucks they often are limited on who they have available for drivers and it's gonna drive up the cost of transportation for those who are moving goods and services across our state." Noem believes the mandate wasn't fully thought through. "I don't think we fully understand the impact that this is going to have. When you're running two or three trucks up and down the roads, those efficiencies are actually costs. Maybe if you're a huge trucking company that goes from state to state you're not feeling as much pain from that kind of investment." She also says this is a big problem for South Dakota farmers and ranchers. "If you're hauling livestock and you're dictated exactly when you have to pull over and take a rest if you're loading time cost as part of your driving times what do you do for the welfare of your livestock? Those questions just haven't been answered and that's why we need to continue to work on this."

North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer agrees. "It's fine for the large companies the big trucking companies are first of all, gonna afford it they can comply with it but it also ignores some realities of places like North Dakota, where agriculture energy where the actual route, if you will, actually includes a lot of sitting around in your truck rather than driving your truck." Cramer says Congress didn't know exactly what was going into the original mandate. "I just think it's impractical, at least in its current form." He wants it fine tuned. "To sort of again, make more exceptions and have a greater understanding of a small mom and pop trucking company and a large corporation, to perhaps working with the dot on refining the rules and to not have a one-size-fits all type of rule."

Waivers are available but drivers tell us they're tough to get. "If it was up to me, i'd like to see either an expansion of the waivers and or different thresholds for the rule itself."

In September -- Senator John Thune told us he believed the E-log program would kick in with few problems. "I think they will probably be surprised it will go a lot smoother than they think it does."

Cramer disagrees. "Trucking is one of the main components in a logistics value chain and if suddenly a trucker has to pull over or worse, gets pulled over a mile from the store that needs the product on the shelf that could become a problem."

The mandate is set to go into effect December 18th. "I would hope that people are prepared for that and are planning for that. My advice would be plan for the rule to go into effect do not plan for it not to, that way you're planning for the worst prepared if that happens, but you're also super prepared if there is in fact a waiver."

A bill to delay it failed; Noem says truckers need to keep up the pressure on Washington. "They need to weigh in they need to tell their stories do not forget how impactful your story could be. It changes policy up here every day."

Representative Brian Babin has taken his plan of action to delay this mandate ... even further.
Back on November 9th he sent a letter to President Trump asking him to issue an executive order to delay the mandate and provide immediate waivers to truckers impacted until April 1st.
So far -- ag haulers have been granted a 90-day extension to comply with the mandate as of November 20th.