- On Friday, July 21, the American Trucking Association issued a formal letter to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), stating its ongoing support of the pending Electronic Logging Device due for initial implementation in December 2017.
- In it, the ATA cited its reasons for supporting the mandate, going so far as to imply that the Owner-Operators Independent Driver Association's real intent for decrying the bill is to allow Hours of Service (HOS) cheating.
- The OOIDA has continually resisted adoption, having finally presented its concerns to Congress after numerous failed court battles. One of its main arguments is the cost of the technology adoption, which it states will be far harder for smaller lines and independent owners to afford.
The ATA letter to Congress illustrates the clear divide that exists between big carriers and smaller, independent drivers in the OOIDA. And while much of the ATA letter is cogent and well-organized, it clearly states that the concerns of carriers in opposition to the mandate should not be seriously considered.
In fact, the main argument within the ATA letter involves greater efficiency and simplification. While the OOIDA continues to express concerns about privacy, improper cost analyses and concerns over harassment, the ATA insists that nothing but recording methods will change. The OOIDA, however, continues to argue that issues related to enforcement, connectivity, data transfers, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and many other concerns are valid and of deep concern to drivers. As large and small carriers continue to entrench their positions on either side of the argument, the divide amongst truckers grows and may cause more disruptions in the industry regardless of whether the ELD mandate is implemented.
Though Congress has demanded further examination of the mandate, it requests results within 60 days, which still leaves plenty of time to proceed with December's implementation date. And while the ATA letter dismissed the idea that smaller carriers could drop out of the business just in time to affect the holidays, members of the association may be burdened by extra loads if smaller carriers do start quitting the business.