Independent truckers are concerned over electronic logging devices

KENT, Wash.  --  The trucking industry is getting ready to switch to a new system that the federal government says will help log and monitor long-haul truck drivers.

In two weeks the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate goes into effect by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The mandate would require truck drivers to install an electronic logging device in their tucks. The FMCSA says the device will accurately track, manage, and share a driver’s record of duty status.

“This is a violation of our privacy,” said Harry Singh, President of the United Independent Truckers of America.

On Monday, truckers across the country, including here in Kent, protested the new mandate.

“Having the tracking system in our trucks will allow the government to track us 24 hours a day and that’s not good for privacy and its not good for safety reasons,” added Singh.

The FMCSA has pushed for electronic logging to prevent driver cheating on paper logs. The ELD devices link to a semi-truck’s engine, capturing the movement of the truck and recording how much time a trucker is at the wheel.

According to the FMCSA website; ELD monitors a vehicle’s engine to capture data on whether the engine is running, whether the vehicle is moving, miles driven, and duration of engine operation (engine hours).

However; Singh said it won’t be fair to the driver because they will only get paid for the time they’re moving and not the time they’re waiting for a load.

“If we’re only allowed to work 40 hours a week and we spend 20 hours waiting for a load, then we’ll only get paid for the 20 hours,” said Singh.

The FMCSA estimates that ELDs will prevent hundreds of crashes a year by keeping exhausted drivers off the road.

Opponents disagree and said this mandate has nothing to with safety but simply the government trying to kill small companies.

Larger truck carries like UPS, and FedEx are already using electronic systems to record driver’s time and behavior.

Singh says they plan a truck stoppage on December 18th, to protest the first day of the ELD mandate.