You would have to have been living under a rock the last few months to not know about the ELD mandate coming in December, 2017. One of the principle areas ELDs are meant to improve is safety; for both truckers and the general public who drive on the roads in passenger vehicles.
I do have to bring up a couple of questions surrounding this concept of improved safety. If the bulk of accidents involving big rig trucks are caused by the drivers of passenger vehicles, how exactly will an ELD inside the big rig make these accidents avoidable or less likely to happen?
My second question surrounds recent legislation in Oregon and Washington forbidding just about any use of electronic devices while driving your vehicle, backed by pretty stiff fines if an officer catches you using your phone, GPS or other device while driving…including be stopped at a traffic light. With this legislation now enacted into law in these two states, and other states sure to follow suit, how does it make sense to mandate an electronic device which in many ways can act similarly to a cell phone or GPS into big rigs and claim it will increase safety?
I’m sure that many ELD supporters will quickly jump to defend these devices to indicate that they will help keep big rig drivers more honest because they won’t be able to cheat their logbooks anymore, or any number of other arguments.
However, my suggestion is that instead of mandating more regulation and these devices on an industry that very clearly doesn’t want or need them, why not invest some funding into educating the millions of passenger vehicle drivers in the country about how to properly and safely maneuver around big rigs and other large vehicles? And while we are at it, make driver’s education mandatory and at least 6 months long so passenger vehicle drivers can experience what driving is like in different weather?
In other words, why not address the real root of the problem that is keeping drivers safe out on the roads; CDL drivers have to get additional education to ensure that they are operating safely, but what is being done to ensure those commercial drivers are not the only ones bearing the burden of safety?