There is always more to every story and today’s protest by truckers is an example of that. A lot of people didn’t understand what the protest was about. Some thought it was a display of patriotism. Some thought it was selfish and compared it to other protests about the flag and civil rights.
In order to find out more information about what is happening, I talked to Brittany Hamstreet, who works in the trucking industry. According to her, the protest is about a lot of things. Driver safety, the safety of the public and the potential for damage to the US economy.
The protest centers around the ELD (Electronic Logging Device) Mandate. Truckers currently keep logs, but starting in December they will need to use the ELD. There are exceptions to the rule.
What concerns the trucking industry is how this will affect their business and safety of the public as well as themselves. The ELD will limit the hours a trucker can drive. They can be on duty for 14 hours, but only drive 11 hours. This will not allow truckers to split their time. This means that if a trucker is feeling tired in the middle of their route, they can’t pull over and rest if they want to get to their destination during their on duty time. That could cause more fatigue related accidents. Their on duty time also includes loading and unloading, or waiting to be loaded. In some cases they may have to wait hours to be loaded and that cuts into their 14 hour on duty time.
According to Hamstreet, the public is going to see more trucks stopped along the roadways. With the scarcity of trucks stops and their not being to park in large lots like Walmart or Home Depot, the truckers will park at on and off ramps, which makes it less safe for truckers and the public. Some drivers have been robbed and killed as the result of the new rules.
The price of goods will go up. The ELD’s are expensive and require a monthly subscription. Some trucking companies have and will be going out of business according to Hamstreet. Some stores may see a shortage. The FDA mandates how refrigerated food is delivered and the ELD mandate will affect that too. If truckers can’t make it to their destinations on time, they are not allowed to unload. California trucking companies will be also be facing an increase in fuel taxes. Another disadvantage according to trucking companies in California is the 55 mph speed limit.