ELD mandate: Sounding the death knell for the American driver

| September 22, 2017

The author of this op-ed, owner-operator Devin Combs, runs the one-truck, one-trailer business of D. Combs Trucking, LLC, of Bloomington, Ind.

 

I am a single truck and trailer operation with my own authority and insurance, my own IFTA and all the other headaches that go along with it. I have been doing this for 30 years and have a clean and clear record. I’m totally lost and confused over why the FMSCA would think that myself and others need to be hooked to a computer to keep an eye on us, when at any given time they can audit us and look to see if we are legal. This electronic logging device situation is just one more cost that I can’t endure and a headache that I don’t have time for.

I have been trying to understand why people think the ELD will help the industry, and all I can come up with is that most of the folks can’t do math. When I do my paper logs, I know exactly what hours I have and the time frame I have to work with, because I also do the recap on a daily basis. I’m not a million-dollar or Fortune 500 company — I have nobody to report to except myself, and if I am audited my ducks are together.

Why is it with the recent natural disasters (among many others in the past) it’s all right all of a sudden to extend or overlook the hours of service while goods and supplies are being transported. It seems when it’s convenient for regulators, it’s all right to bend the laws or even make new ones. But for a guy or gal that’s in my shoes, we have to be the whipping post and be forced to take on another expense because of someone making a profit from a software company.

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I’m not against keeping a log book, but I think it should be my choice as to how I do it and how I keep my records. The FMSCA has discriminated against a small business like myself and others with this rule and others. I have just recently traded my older truck off to update to be able to comply with California’s emissions standards, but in return have now cut my own throat on the other end of the deal. Now I have a 2006 model year truck (retrofitted with a DPF) instead of a pre-2000 model.

The owner-operators of this country make up almost half of the industry, according to OOIDA, so why can’t anybody help us to make a stand or get our point across. The ATA does not nor will ever represent any one of the owner-operators or small fleet owners. We aren’t big multi-million dollar corporations to have lobbyists to push for our side. The folks at the ATA probably couldn’t even drive nor do our job that we do. Just because you own or have owned trucks doesn’t make you a trucker. For folks in my shoes this us a way of life — our families, kids, grandkids depend on us to pass something down to their generation. At one time a trucker was a proud profession. Not too sure about that anymore.

I have sent information to my state politicians and have gotten no response, none whatsoever. This letter is to let President Trump and his team know and understand that we are a majority that voted for him, and I am afraid that he is our only and last hope. If the Obama administration’s ELD mandate is allowed to stand, I fear that there will be no more American truck driver/owner-operators — it will all be automated within several years. –Devin Combs, Bloomington, Ind.

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