A coalition of industry groups has asked House and Senate leaders to schedule hearings on the electronic logging device mandate and hours-of-service regulations for truckers.
The March 14 letter was sent to Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Transportation Committee the Senate Commerce Committee at about the same time the Department of Transportation extended the agricultural waiver on the ELD mandate from March 18 until mid-June.
The letter, signed by the United Fresh Produce Association, Western Growers, the National Potato Council and more than a dozen other industry groups, said lawmakers in the House and the Senate need to provide oversight to the ELD issue.
“While we understand the intent of the ELD mandate is to improve the safety of American roadways, neither the agency, law enforcement, or regulated community were prepared for the implementation,” the letter said. “In response to the overwhelming issues experienced by industries across the country, we have requested a two-year extension to the waiver for agriculture carriers from ELD usage in hopes it will provide ample time for Congress to review the implementation process and take any necessary legislative action.”
The letter said that industry associations have received feedback from producers and trucking operations “that ELDs currently on the market are not able to accommodate the agricultural exemption that is provided under the hours-of-service regulations.”
The letter said that without a “verifiable technological standard” that federal regulators stand behind, truckers face escalating costs for purchasing and repurchasing unnecessary devices in a futile attempt to meet the federal mandate.
“Without the available technology being able to implement the flexibility that Congress envisioned for perishable cargoes under the hours-of-service regulations, those exemptions effectively do not exist,” the letter said.
The letter said oversight hearing would allow industry concerns to be heard and help lawmakers understand the difficulties faced by truckers serving the produce industry.