With efforts to derail or delay the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s long-in-process electronic logging device mandate having taken yet another hit with the defeat of the House appropriations bill amendment that would have delayed the Dec. 18 deadline, some truckers are determined to raise the profile around the issue on their own. As you’ll hear in the latest Overdrive Radio podcast in players up top and below, two officially unaffiliated groups have marked Tuesday, Oct. 3 as the beginning date for staged demonstrations in Washington, D.C., with the professed support of some individual operators around the country shutting down throughout the four-to-five days following. Owner-operator Erick Engbarth, meanwhile, though not involved in either of those efforts, offered a clear distillation of objection to the mandate by owner-operators. Take a listen (more on the two groups below):
ELD or Me
Regular readers will recognize the name of the Facebook group started in mid-May by East Tennessee-based trucker singer-songwriter Tony Justice with the express purpose of firing up drivers around opposition to the ELD mandate. Very early on in the group’s history, as I reported in late May, it was settling around early October for a demonstration in the national capitol. For several weeks now, they’ve been promoting the Doswell Truck Stop in Doswell, Va., as a rally point for trucks South of D.C., the TravelCenters of America location in Jessup, Md., to the north. At Doswell, Justice reports in the podcast, shuttle vans will be on hand to transport truckers downtown, though many involved with the effort have reported plans to stay inside D.C. itself and rendezvous with the group near the White House over the dates they’ve scheduled for their demonstration: October 3-7.
Material circulating with that information lately has also encouraged those who can’t be in attendance, but who are sympathetic to the ELD or Me cause, to shut down and rally in or around their own location.
ELD or me, as you’ll hear in the podcast, is also working on getting Congressional reps’ ears directly while in the capitol, with hopes of spurring on support for Texas Congressman Brian Babin’s H.R. 3282 ELD mandate delay bill, which would extend the enforcement date two years. In the podcast, you’ll also hear from Delaware-based former small fleet owner and longtime compliance consultant Richard Wilson about the group and its efforts as well.
Justice offers advice to those preparing to come to Washington, D.C., in the podcast, and noted an information page on Facebook was in development to provide further information. You can access that page via this link, which is pretty sparse as yet.
Catch the story of its origins in the following archived post and a past podcast in which Justice shared his reasons for leading the effort:
Operation Black and Blue
The creation of Mike “Gunney” Faram, a Texas-based driver, the more than 1,800-member Operation Black and Blue Facebook group and ELD mandate protest effort is a project of Faram’s “Truckers Had Enough / E-Magazine” Facebook page, too, in part, and has quite similar goals as those of ELD or me. At once, Faram casts a wider net into concern over a wide array of trucking issues he feels merit the attention.
The nuts and bolts of Faram’s operation, as I’ve written before, are plans for a limited-numbers participation convoy into D.C. with trucks, also different from ELD or Me. Faram was working on permitting for the convoy when we spoke at the Great American Trucking Show.
Around the country, like ELD or Me, Operation Black and Blue also encourages local rallies and drivers to shut down for the week in support of the effort. He’s also promoting something he called “OpLog” when we talked but which is now being called “Operation Brownout” at the Black and Blue website. Trading on Faram’s contention that too many drivers simply give away their on-duty not-driving time, Faram’s Brownout idea asks drivers to log all on-duty not-driving time by the letter of the law, hoping to expose problems with the hours of service rule.