Trucker uses ride-along to tell lawmaker about problems with ELD mandate

October 2019

Mark Schremmer

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When Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-Pa., asked OOIDA member Randy Martin if he thought the electronic logging mandate made roads safer, the lawmaker was not surprised to hear the answer was no. However, Martin’s answer still opened his eyes a little.

“I expected his answer to be no,” Smucker told Land Line Now’s Mary McKenna. “I didn’t expect his answer to be that it actually makes the roads more dangerous. That’s the part that surprised me. He said drivers tend to be more aggressive because they know they have to get to a certain spot within those time frames.”

Martin, a truck driver from Denver, Pa., passed on his experiences in the trucking industry during a ride-along with the congressman on Aug. 27.

Smucker, a former business owner in the construction industry, said he was already opposed to the ELD mandate. Still, he said hearing directly from Martin shed new light on the problems associated with the regulation.

“I like less government regulation,” Smucker said. “Of course, we need certain regulations, but one of the reasons I ran is the growth I saw in federal regulations that made it harder to run a business.

“Some legislation has good intentions … Of course, it is designed to try to provide more safety on the roads, but sometimes regulation then has unintended consequences.”

Martin said having one-on-one time with a decision-maker was beneficial.

“I think it was successful,” Martin said. “The congressman asked some good questions, and I tried to give him the input from the trucker’s side and the logistics side and what works and what doesn’t work.”

In addition to the ELD mandate, Martin and Smucker talked about such trucking issues as hours-of-service reform, a proposed minimum insurance requirement, and the lack of truck parking.

A bill in the House would raise the federal minimum insurance requirement for motor carriers from $750,000 to nearly $5 million. Martin told Smucker that increasing the requirement that much will do nothing to improve highway safety.

Smucker said he could relate.

“I know the cost of insurance in the construction business, and I know in trucking it’s an even higher cost,” Smucker said. “We have to look at the facts, and the facts show that

$1 million in coverage is adequate for 99.5% of the cases.”

Smucker added that meetings with people in specific industries is crucial to his job, and he encouraged other truck drivers to reach out to their respective lawmakers to let them know how laws and regulations affect them.

“Show and tell still works,” Smucker said. “Having the ability to experience the business firsthand really does help folks to understand the impacts that you just couldn’t otherwise.” LL

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, staff writer, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and nearly two decades of journalism experience to our staff.