Texas rep Babin requests ELD delay directly from Trump, grassroots group launches letter-writing campaign

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Updated Nov 12, 2017

The Texas representative who has been the principal sponsor of the H.R. 3282 ELD Extension Act of 2017 two-year electronic-logging-device mandate delay has written a letter requesting President Trump write an executive order to delay the December 18 mandate enforcement deadline at least until April Fool’s Day next year. April 1 is also the date on which federal and state law enforcement partners have stated they will begin enforcing the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s out-of-service criteria around use of ELDs.

Rep Brian Babin (R-Texas) posted the letter to his Facebook page today.

I sent a letter today to President Donald J. Trump with a plan for him to use an Executive Order to delay the Electronic…

Posted by Rep. Brian Babin on Thursday, November 9, 2017

Babin’s letter says the Congressman consulted the Congressional Research Service to determine if such a delay would be within the purview of the executive branch, concluding it would be. “My preference,” Babin writes, “would be to delay the rule for as long as it takes, but at a bare minimum, I would encourage an initial waiver for all sectors until April 1, 2018.” The Congressman asked for a response from the President by December 1.

The approximately three-month delay, in addition to conforming with the CVSA-approved out-of-service criteria enforcement delay, would eliminate “the very predictable havoc of trying to implement this massive, complicated regulation just a week before Christmas – perhaps the busiest time for the consumer freight network of the year,” Babin writes, later addressing the president directly. “A few powerful interests will tell you that this mandate is good for trucking, and our country, but millions of hardworking people across our country who came together exactly one year ago to elect you president profoundly disagree.”

He went on to cite concerns with the cybersecurity, cost and truck-safety implications of the mandate. You can read the full letter via this link.

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It’s the last concern, safety, that is driving a letter-writing campaign being spearheaded by Scott Reed, a leader with the American Trucking Federation (ATF) Facebook group. which grew out of the Operation Black and Blue effort in protesting the mandate last month. ATF, Reed says, is encouraging anti-ELD mandate partisans to pen their distaste for the mandate and support for a delay on paper-logbook pages and mail them direct to the White House.

Reed echoes Babin and certain analyses performed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and others that contend, in the words of Rep. Babin, “some of the large trucking companies with the worst safety records on the road have already been fully utilizing ELDs in their fleet for years.” (See, for instance, the OOIDA Foundation’s “Examination of Publically Available Data from FMCSA on CSA Scores and Motor Carriers” white paper via this link.)

With enough participation and a little luck, Reed hopes this last-ditch push to get the White House’s attention to delay the mandate by executive order will give Babin more time to successfully pass the longer delay included in H.R. 3282. With reps focused on a potential tax overhaul and the national budget this year, “it’s not exactly the best time” to be trying to pass an actual bill, Reed acknowledges.

As of midday today, November 9, 2017, Babin’s bill had 64 cosponsors, up from around just more than 50 the first week of October, when grassroots ELD mandate protests took place in Washington, D.C., and around the country.

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