Press Releases

Babin Sends Letter to President Trump Requesting Executive Order to Delay ELD Mandate

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Washington, November 9, 2017 | comments

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) sent a letter to President Trump urging him to issue an Executive Order to delay Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate, which is set to go into effect Dec. 18th, 2017.

“Millions of hard working American truckers, farmers and small businesses need you to take immediate and decisive action to protect them from a massive new regulation that is scheduled to go into effect just 39 days from today.  I am writing on their behalf with a plan to help you do just that,” the letter states.  “Accordingly, I respectfully request that you issue an Executive Order as soon as possible, instructing the Secretary of Transportation to provide an immediate waiver for all trucking sectors and operations subject to this mandate, until such time as it can be certified that implementation will not cause economic or other harm to the millions who are subject to it.”

The full letter can be read below:

November 9, 2017

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

Millions of hard working American truckers, farmers and small businesses need you to take immediate and decisive action to protect them from a massive new regulation that is scheduled to go into effect just 39 days from today.  I am writing on their behalf with a plan to help you do just that.

This December 18th, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is scheduled to begin implementation and enforcement of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate[1], a $2 billion regulation written and set in motion by the Obama Administration back in 2015.

In consultation with the Congressional Research Service (CRS), I have identified a course of legal, appropriate action that you can take with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to delay this rule and provide much-needed relief to the millions of Americans who will be impacted.

Accordingly, I respectfully request that you issue an Executive Order as soon as possible, instructing the Secretary of Transportation to provide an immediate waiver for all trucking sectors and operations subject to this mandate, until such time as it can be certified that implementation will not cause economic or other harm to the millions who are subject to it. 

Provision 49 U.S.C. 31133(a)(10) stipulates that the Secretary of Transportation may "perform other acts the Secretary considers appropriate" with respect to regulating commercial motor vehicles[2].  Combined with the DOT and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) authority to issue waivers and exemptions from the ELD mandate[3], which they have already exercised for certain package delivery[4] and rental truck operations[5], I believe the Secretary, the DOT and the FMCSA not only have the authority but the obligation to extend that same relief to all Americans.

My preference would be to delay the rule for as long as it takes, but at a bare minimum, I would encourage an initial waiver for all sectors until April 1, 2018.  First, a three month delay eliminates the very predictable havoc of trying to implement this massive, complicated regulation just a week before Christmas – perhaps the busiest time for the consumer freight network of the year.  Second, this is the same date that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) recently announced they would begin to fully enforce this mandate (with partial enforcement starting December 18th)[6] , their well-intentioned but nevertheless ambiguous path forward for public safety officials to gradually begin enforcing this new requirement.  Third, an additional three months will provide FMCSA with the time to continue processing applications for waivers and exemptions that are currently under consideration.  And finally, this would set a relatively close new deadline for this issue to be revisited, keeping the pressure on both government and industry to answer the questions and solve the challenges that this mandate clearly presents.

As you may know, I am the lead sponsor of H.R. 3282, the ELD Extension Act of 2017, which would implement, by law, an additional two-year delay of this mandate.  Since introducing that bill back in July, I have had the privilege and honor to meet hundreds of hard working independent truck drivers and others with deep concerns about this mandate from all over the country.  Based on the stories and information they have shared with me, here are just some of the concerns that I believe must be addressed by the new leadership you have installed at DOT before this mandate, which, again, was written by the Obama Administration, goes into effect:

  • COST
    The Obama Administration itself estimated that this regulation will impose $2 billion a year[7] in compliance costs, with a disproportionate impact on small businesses.  With Republicans in control of Congress and the White House, the last thing the American People expect us to do is mandate that every hardworking truck driver in America spend thousands of dollars on the purchase, installation and monthly service fee for a government-approved tracking device.

  • SAFETY
    Claims that these devices will make our roads and drivers dramatically safer are dubious at best, based on research authorized and gathered by the Obama Administration.  In fact, some of the large trucking companies with the worst safety records on the road have already been fully utilizing ELD’s in their fleet for years.  At a minimum, the reports that the Obama Administration used to justify this rule warrant another review by the team you have put in place at DOT.

  • CYBERSECURITY
    The ELD device required by the regulation doesn’t just sit in the cab of a truck and monitor motion.  It connects directly to the engine and onboard computer of the vehicle itself.  The implications of this are particularly profound.  There is simply no assurance at this time that these ELD’s, which are being manufactured with components from around the world and sold by numerous companies across America, are safe from a cyberattack that could cause these trucks, many of which carry hazardous materials, to inflict terror on Americans.  The National Motor Freight Traffic Association recently commissioned a study by leading security experts laying out this troubling issue, and I have enclosed a summary of it with this letter.

Mr. President, rolling back the regulatory overreach of the previous administration has been one of our proudest achievements since you took office.  Together, we have now used the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to block 15 separate new burdensome regulations from going into effect, and the economy and stock market have responded in kind.  A few powerful interests will tell you that this mandate is good for trucking, and our country, but millions of hardworking people across our country who came together exactly one year ago to elect you president profoundly disagree.  I ask that you listen to those millions of voices, and give everyone at least another three months to get this right.

In conclusion, I respectfully ask that you respond to this letter or otherwise indicate your intentions on this matter no later than December 1st of this year.  While I am hopeful you will undertake this course of action, it is also critically important for these truck drivers to have a clear understanding before the scheduled deadline.

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.

Sincerely,

Brian Babin, D.D.S.
U.S. Representative (TX-36)

cc: Vice President Michael R. Pence
     Secretary Elaine L. Chao, U.S. Department of Transportation
     Chairman Bill Shuster, U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
     Chairman John Thune, U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
     Mr. Raymond Martinez, Nominee for Administrator of FMCSA

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