Small Business in Transportation Coalition Protests ELD, Echoes Sentiments to Chao

by Jake Tully - Published: 12/05/2017

With the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate slated for less than two weeks away, many truckers and trucking related groups have participated and organized protests across the country this past Monday, including the non-profit Small Business in Transportation Coalition.

The Small Business In Transportation Coalition (SBTC) reports that it participated in what is reported as a “mainstream media blitz” yesterday in order demonstrate opposition of the ELD mandate and to address Secretary Chao on behalf of small figures in the commercial transportation industry.

James Lamb, President of the SBTC reports that his organization does not feel as though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has looked closely enough at the economic strain that the ELD mandate may put on small carriers and independent drivers in the industry.

Last month, Lamb penned a letter to Secretary Chao on behalf of the SBTC, outlining what the SBTC felt to be problems as well as potential solutions related to the ELD Mandate.

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"...a reading of the FMCSA analysis suggests that FMCSA has essentially ignored and disregarded the impact on the smallest of industry players in an overbroad assessment that places one-man interstate owner-operators into the same category as other “small businesses” within the trucking industry,” said Lamb. “For instance, in referencing North American Industry Classification System (“NAICS”) codes 484110 through 484230 (Freight Trucking), the FMCSA makes no distinction whatsoever between businesses with annual revenues of $27.5 million and mere one-man operators of commercial motor vehicles."

Additionally, Lamb reports that the SBTC believes that owner-operators in the industry may be the ones particularly impacted by the ELD Mandate, with financial and business repercussions that could devastate a lone driver.

"To a one man owner-operator, even a $27 million operation, which is technically classified as a "small business," is distinctly different from his or her business,” said Lamb. “Forget about the largest carriers with their multi-billion dollar operations."
The SBTC reports that as a solution to the potential aftermath of the ELD Mandate, Secretary Chao ought to grant smaller trucking operations an “exemption application” that allows carriers with less than 50 employees entirely exempt from the ELD ruling.

"We contend the mandating of the form and manner of a driver’s communication of his compliance is not necessary to carry out the transportation policy of 49 U.S.C. 13101...ELDS are not needed to protect shippers from the abuse of market power... Restriction of commercial free speech through regulations that are more extensive than necessary is not in simply not in the public interest,” said Lamb. ”The Secretary therefore has the lawful authority --and obligation-- to modify the MAP-21 requirement and exempt a “class of persons,” in this instance-- the smallest of the industry’s stakeholders, from the ELD mandate.”

Interested parties may read Lamb’s full letter its entirety at the SBTC website.