It’s always refreshing to see a group of hardworking, patriotic Americans coming together to advance liberty. On Monday, truckers across the country gathered together to voice their strong opposition to the electronic logging device mandate currently making its way through the halls of Congress. Part of a so-called “ELD Media Blitz,” the effort to require truckers to use these electronic logging devices has successfully deflected both legal challenges and a proposal to delay the mandate, compelling the truckers to make one final stand.
Overall, the day was a huge success. In Nashville, Tennessee, for example, a group of drivers gathered early in the morning in the area of the Travel Centers of America, located just across the Cumberland River from the state’s capitol building. A man by the name of Tom Harris, who owns the company Kenworth T660, met up with several other truckers at this location, including owner-operator David Floyd of Collinwood, Tennessee, independent Ingrid Brown of Mountain City, and others.
Harris’s company consists of a 45-50-truck fleet and employs drivers from the United States, Canada and Mexico. The “special forces of trucking,” Harris says referring to expediters, are “conditioned to do special things, but in the same breath we know what our limitations are and we’re not going to do anything unsafe.”
Harris expressed concerns that the electronic logging devices will have an overall negative impact on truckers because the devices will compel drivers to continue on their route even when they need a rest. Obviously, truckers who get less rest and drive more have an increased chance of falling asleep at the wheel, creating an incredibly dangerous situation not just for the trucker himself, but also for everyone else on the road around them. (Related: Safety is not a major concern as the House of Representatives gives a self-driving car bill the fast lane.)
Ingrid Brown also expressed concerns over her own safety, especially when she thinks back to the days when she transported munitions for the federal government. To her, the combination of delivering such sensitive material and mandated location-tracking technology is extremely troubling. At the rally, Brown suggested that the group should go to the local media instead of waiting for the local media to come to them. “If they won’t come to us, then we’re going to go to them,” she declared.
Other truckers, like Pat Valenti of Buffalo, New York, said that they will be doing everything they can to resist the mandate. “Having to have a GPS location on my truck at all times is an infringement on my rights,” he explained. Valenti added that while he does understand that it is important to keep track of how many truckers are on the road, he ultimately feels that “where I was is nobody’s business but my own”. (Related: The government now wants all cars to have the ability to track driver behavior, seatbelt usage, and more.)
Doug Hasner, an owner-operator from Watertown, New York, expressed many of the same concerns that other truckers had during a series of interviews with local TV reporters. He stated that their goal is “to make people understand that [the ELD mandate puts a lot of pressure on the driver because now he is on a clock,” and that as soon as that clock expires, the driver is slapped with a large fine. “That’s pressure – a lot of pressure,” Hasner said.
Hasner made it clear that he feels as though Congress, the media and even the President of the United States are not listening to their legitimate concerns. Valenti agrees: “I am a Trump supporter, but I kind of feel he has turned his back on the people who helped him get into the office.”
The mandate is set to officially go into effect on December 18.