American Trucking Association (ATA) is advocating for electronic on board recorders. CEO and President of ATA, Mr. Bill Graves has said that EOBRs will lead to greater compliance and improve highway safety. However, members of Owner-operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) have strongly voiced opposition and called the whole affair, “big brother” mandate. Sincerely, EOBRs have to be opposed fiercely because they are going to burden the average trucker. Independent operators will suffer greatly therefore no effort should be spared when it comes to opposing this program.
After a long struggle, house amendment finally stripped funding from EOBR mandate. This does not mean that the fight is over. As a matter of fact, the battle is far from settled. This is because, new legislation can be passed in future which can reverse the gains so far realized. It is important to remember that the EOBR clause is still part and parcel of the transportation bill, therefore anything can happen. It is up to industry players to rise up and advocate against the introduction of electronic logging devices. Continuous opposition will finally negate the EOBR mandate subsequently making the highway bill to be acceptable to many people.
The equipments that are needed according to the bill are GPS device and event recorders which are to be placed inside commercial trucks. Therefore, a trucker will have to conform to strict technical specifications in the pretext of enhancing safety. The fact that this bill is unfair and irrelevant cannot be overemphasized. Any professional trucker is definitely seriously against this piece of legislation.
The Attorney General wants to convince people that the stipulations in question will facilitate public safety. No one is opposed to enhancement of highway security. However, there is a need for efficient, honest and fair enforcement of vital safety rules. Any back door approach that thwarts the aspirations of a hard working trucker is simply bad and unacceptable. The main reason why many industry players are fighting to bring down EOBR is because it has frightening cost implications. Any concerned trucker is definitely at the forefront of the struggle because this issue has to be defeated by all means possible.
Proponents have to prepare for hard questions as it emerges that holes are already being punched into the 600-page bill. The fight has moved from the corridors of the world of commerce to the chambers of Congress as some lawmakers argue against the costly technological experiments which have been proposed. The bottom line is; successive implementation of the clauses in question will result In massive spending on the side of the small time trucker.
The biggest losers are going to be small and medium sized enterprises. A big time Trucking company will benefit in a number of ways. In the first place, the competition will tilt to his advantage as he will not feel the pinch of the whole affair while he will be competing with market players who have been faced with serious budgetary implications as a result of acquiring the stipulated devices.
It does not make sense for a trucker to purchase something that will be of little or no use. Definitely, the suggested items are going to cost the industry billions of US dollars while the overall safety level may not improve much. Small trucking companies are going to have increased expenditures which can result to winding up of operations.
Every trucker who is fighting against this mandate is doing so in an effort to halt the program completely. Calls of actions were sent to legislators. Law makers were urged to support Landry- Rahall amendment. They heeded the call, and the bill suffered the biggest blow ever, when some funds was stripped from it. Because of the positive development, truckers must continue to fight so that a very clear message is sent to politicians. Congressmen and women should be told to remove EOBR mandate from the transportation bill. Nick Randall is a Democratic lawmaker while Jeff Landry is from the Republican side of the divide. Political differences were abandoned in favor of cooperation for the sake of the good of the average trucker. This is due to the fact that if supporters of this flawed piece of legislation make any significant progress, many firms will face imminent collapse. It is all about keeping entrepreneurs in business therefore facilitating the employment of thousands of truckers who have just completed training.
The element of safety is not primarily influenced by devices being used. Actually, the training of a trucker plays a crucial role when it comes to issues to do with highway safety. A well educated person is in a position to act in a manner that can facilitate increased security.
From the word go, the main matter should have been making the average trucker to acquire the necessary skills which he does not have rather than to try to justify increased spending. The Executive Vice President of OOIDA, Mr. Todd Spencer recognized the fact that lack of training is the root cause of the problem. An entry level trucker has to be enlightened about core concepts if this industry is ever to progress. The last thing that anyone should be doing right now is to try to cover the need for information with technological matters that are bound to fail.
The technologies suggested can be interpreted as harassment tools by a wise trucker. Common sense stipulates that an electronic logging tool can be used to harass a trucker. That is the reason why the battle was taken to court and the suggestion of OOIDA as appertains to harassment was upheld because lawyers of FMSCA did not make convincing arguments.
The decision of the judges really tilted the struggle in favor of those opposing, justifying the statement which says that the fight is far from settled. Only time will tell whether or not, the bill will become law. However, if the present euphoria from some government quarters is genuine then it follows that success is likely to be the case. As a matter of fact, a white house report has indicated that this piece of legislation will cost the industry a whooping 2 billion dollars. Such an amount is likely to make many coffers to run dry subsequently relegating a number of business people to a very precarious position.
An informed trucker will not fear to voice his opposition against government mandated electronic monitoring of trucks. Therefore, the struggle to bring down EOBR will not end any time soon. Different stakeholders have already submitted petitions to prominent members of congress.