U.S. Representative Brian Babin’s recently-introduced bill on delaying the ELD mandate’s compliance date is unlikely to garner enough support it needs to become law.
With the legislation facing multiple obstacles in its path, and with the fast approaching deadline for ELD implementation, the chances of the bill becoming law is getting slimmer with each passing day.
The bill was introduced last July 18, 2017, to the House of Representatives and was referred to the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
It is officially entitled as “H.R. 3282, the ELD Extension Act of 2017.”
This change proposes to move the implementation date of the ELD mandate from December 18, 2017, to December 18, 2019.
The bill to extend the ELD mandate was recently introduced by the Texan Representative to the House.
It currently has over 21 co-sponsors signed by members of the House of Representatives.
Babin filed the bill just a day after a panel from the House of Representatives recommended the USDOT to study if the ELD mandate needs a “full or targeted delay.”
This language is in line with a report recently released by the House Appropriation Committee that reveals reasons why some house legislators find the ELD mandate delay necessary.
One concern pointed out about the ELD mandate involved “significant technological concerns” that were previously raised by the petitioners that have not been resolved yet. The points include device certification, connectivity problems, law enforcement data access, and device vulnerabilities.
Another unresolved issue involves small carriers bearing compliance costs without getting back enough compensating benefits as compared to larger carriers.
To increase the chances of the bill getting passed, the provisions can be attached instead into broader legislations — such as the transportation appropriations bill currently being worked on by both chambers of the Congress — rather than remaining as a standalone bill.
However, it currently seems as though there is very little chance for the delay bill to become law.
For one, in terms of prioritization, the bill holds little weight as compared to other issues that demand more time and energy from Congress — such as the healthcare and tax reforms.
Also, even the House legislators seem to be reluctant in integrating the ELD mandate delay into the transportation appropriation bill, as the wording of the appropriation report only asks the FMCSA to analyze and examine whether the mandate truly needs a delay.
It means that a simple justification could set the ELD mandate being implemented on schedule.
Also, even if the delay bill were to pass House standards, it still has to be agreed upon by the Senate as well.
This condition can be problematic since the Senate did not mention a single thought concerning ELDs on their side of the appropriations bill.
For the bill to become law, first it has to be passed by both chambers of the Congress, which means that both chambers have to confer and produce a unified bill if there are discrepancies in the passed bills.
The bill then has to be approved by President Trump.
Trucking groups and associations have varied responses regarding the attempts to delay the ELD mandate. However, most groups are against any attempt to delay the ELD mandate at this last stage.
For example, ATA’s executive vice president of advocacy, Bill Sullivan, wrote a letter to the FMCSA’s deputy administrator, Daphne Jefferson, revealing convictions that are strongly against those who favor the mandate’s delay:
“At the end of the day, I believe the implicit reason opponents of electronic logging oppose this regulation is because they intend to cheat on their hours-of-service. Arguments against the ELD mandate are arguments in favor of violating the hours-of-service rules.”
He then continues with his firm stance on the matter, saying:
“If the hours-of-service rules are believed to be inappropriately limiting, that is a policy debate I’m sure the agency can address. Suggesting that it is overly burdensome to use an electronic device to log compliance with hours-of-service rules that don’t change whatsoever in December is a false argument.”
Pinning your hopes around the bill to delay the mandate isn’t the wisest thing to do. As the deadline grows closer, carriers who still haven’t adopted ELDs will start feeling more and more pressure.
Therefore, we suggest installing ELDs before it gets too late.
Use our ELD price comparison tool and our ELD features comparison tool to assist you with your selection and decision-making process. In the meanwhile, suggest your drivers to start using an elog mobile application so that they can get acquainted with electronic logs.