In a recent Press Release_ Babin Introduces Legislation to Improve Hours-of-Service Regulations, U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX-36), attempts to relieve truckers from the negative effects of the ELD mandate which went into enforcement mode on April 1st.
The ELD mandate has strong opposition among many professional drivers, including company drivers and owner operators.
Included in the many complaints against the ELD mandate is the fact that drivers are paid by the mile and yet governed by the HOS clock. That clock keeps ticking, no matter what. Delays, bad weather, traffic jams, loading docks, nothing matters. If the driver isn’t moving, he’s not getting paid.
The ELD enforces the FMCSA HOS (Hours of Service)
ELD mandate- Congress MAP 21
According to FMCSA—- The electronic logging device (ELD) rule – congressionally mandated as a part of MAP-21 – is intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data. An ELD synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time, for easier, more accurate hours of service (HOS) recording.
In other words, ELD’s will keep drivers compliant and not allow them to drive more hours than allowed.
U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX-36), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced H.R. 5417 The Responsible and Effective Standards for Truckers (REST) Act, legislation that would modernize hours of service regulations for truck drivers.
The REST Act would allow drivers to take one rest break per shift, for up to three consecutive hours. The single off-duty period would not be counted toward the driver’s 14-hour, on-duty allowance and would not extent the total, allowable drive limits.
“I’m proud to introduce the REST Act today and give America’s truckers the options they need to safely operate under today’s rigid federal regulations,” said Rep. Babin. “This bill is an important step in making the way for improved highway safety.”
The REST Act requires the Department of Transportation to update Hours of Service regulations to allow a rest break once per 14-hour duty period for up to 3 consecutive hours as long as the driver is off-duty, effectively pausing the 14-hour clock. However, drivers would still need to log ten consecutive hours off duty before the start of their next work shift. It would also eliminate the existing 30-minute rest break requirement.
Theoretically it all sounds good. But when you evaluate the situation it makes you ask,
” Is this just adding another 3 hours to your day?” Is the “rest bill” really allowing drivers time to “rest” without taking away from their 14 hour clock, or could they just use it while waiting at the docks?
Is it a way to give drivers more time to drive more hours to make more money?
TRUCKER WAGES and the 14 hour clock are the PROBLEM
If you are paid according to how many pieces you can produce while racing a clock that has no mercy on obstacles, it is an unsafe environment. When you add to that, being grossly underpaid (same wages as the 80’s) and not paid for waiting times, you create a desperate situation to drive as many miles as physically possible all while racing that 14 hour clock
1 If drivers were paid appropriately for all time and not just piece work wages , they could afford to rest anytime they’re tired. HOS does not prevent you from stopping to rest when you’re tired, the way you are paid and your low wages do.
2 When you are only paid for what you can produce, “wasting time” resting, just doesn’t seem that important.
3 The thought of losing time to “nap” when you’re tired is unheard of. Drivers already lose too many hours waiting at loading docks.
4 The fact that drivers are fighting for more hours to make a decent wage and would want to extend their day another 3 hours doesn’t make sense.
5 Truckers should be fighting for higher wages.
Note: If drivers were paid what they should be, based upon the rate of inflation since the 80’s. they would be making between 80-90cpm.
Here is a comment posted on the Rest bill Press Release by owner operator Les Willis:
I supported your efforts to bring about the demise of the ELD and to make it a choice for the American Trucking Professional. But i must break ranks here on this issue, as it effectively extends the duty cycle by 3 hours to a now whopping 17hrs. Totally ineffective and will change nothing.
The status Quo has always been, all inefficiency’s must fall into the drivers lap and all hours need NOT be compensated for services rendered. Mr. Babin, if you truly seek the change the Industry so badly needs, you should focus your efforts towards the F.L.S.A .and the Truck Driver classification as a piece work laborer.
Stop the Wage theft that is running rampant in our Industry. When you fix the non paid hours/ wage theft, everything else takes care of itself. All hours of the Duty Cycle must be compensated/remunerated at a rate comparable to the avg. per mile rate paid at time of dispatch/rate-con.
If paid on an hourly rate all hours over 40 must be paid at 1.5 times the hourly compensatory rate and all hours over 60 must be paid at 2.0 times the hourly compensatory rate. Stop beating around the bush and lets treat the root of the problem. There were many many reasons why the ATA/Carriers had a clear truthful argument against an hourly compensation. Today’s technological advancements negates their once logical arguments of no way to monitor productivity -Les Willis
H.R.5417 – To direct the Secretary of Transportation to issue or revise regulations enhancing flexibility in hours of service requirements for drivers of certain property carrying vehicles, and for other purposes.
Thank you Congressman Babin.
We want to Thank Congressman Babin for his interest and concerns for the truck driver community, there is not a long list of those who do.
Mr. Babin understood the concerns of drivers regarding the ELD mandate and stood up to the plate to delay the mandate for two years. On July 18th, 2017 he introduced H.R.3282 – ELD Extension Act of 2017 The bill has not passed although it has 75 co-sponsors.
We have no doubt that Congressman Babin is sincere in his attempts to help drivers with their HOS and ELD concerns. We believe that the truck driver wage issue must be addressed FIRST. If driver wages are brought up to what they should be, then H.R. 5417 could be feasible as the element of desperation to drive more miles would be eliminated.
© 2018, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.