SBTC Seizes on New Executive Order, Renews Call for USDOT to Suspend ELD Mandate
Washington D.C. – A trucking group is seizing on President Donald Trump’s new Executive Order to once again renew its call to suspend the electronic logging devices (ELD) mandate.
On Tuesday, in a meeting with his cabinet members, President Trump signed an Executive Order giving broad authority to each Department head to slash regulations that could impede economic recovery amid the fallout from the COVID-19 national emergency.
In a pointed comment, he urged United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary, Elaine Chao, to cut regulations “nobody would believe.”
“Elaine, you can do things that nobody would believe in your Department, the Department of Transportation,” Mr. Trump said.
Shortly after the signing, the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) quickly jumped on the President’s direction to Secretary Chao and called for the immediate suspension of the contentious ELD mandate.
In an email to the Secretary, SBTC president James Lamb, urged: “We hereby call on you to use Presidential authority to suspend the ELD rule which we believe has caused a now 31-year high in large truck occupant fatalities.”
Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a new report which reveals trucker crash deaths are expected to rise to a 31-year high when the final 2019 data is released later this fall.
This follows NHTSA’s 2018 report which revealed trucker crash deaths reached a 30-year high also coincided with the first full year of enforcement of the ELD mandate.
Critics like the SBTC argue the rise in fatalities is directly related to the enforcement of the mandate.
Also pointing to the USDOT’s unprecedented action in March when it suspending hours of service (HOS) rules for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators engaged in direct relief efforts to the coronavirus pandemic, Lamb further pressed Secretary Chao on the ELD issue.
“As you know, you suspended HOS rules for relief carriers. It is now time to use the authority vested in you by the President to help remove the ELD rule for all carriers during the recovery,” he implored.
In an exclusive statement to Transportation Nation Network (TNN), Lamb echoed these comments and reiterated his belief the time is now for regulators to take decisive action on the matter.
“The President has removed the leash and we hope FMCSA will now seize the day to remove this failed policy, quickly accelerate our recovery back to our pre-pandemic February levels, and at the same time make the roads safe again,” Lamb said.
Since the ELD mandate was passed through the legislative process, some have argued in order to effectively eliminate it would require passage through Congress.
However, the SBTC argues President Trump’s Executive Order gives Secretary Chao the authority needed to take such action.
Taking a closer look at the SBTC’s argument, consider that the Executive Order states:
The heads of all agencies shall identify regulatory standards that may inhibit economic recovery and shall consider taking appropriate action, consistent with applicable law, including by issuing proposed rules as necessary, to temporarily or permanently rescind, modify, waive, or exempt persons or entities from those requirements…
“Congress does not have to act any further for the Secretary, who serves at the pleasure of the President, to suspend ELDs as an unnecessary impediment to our recovery,” Lamb asserted. “We suggest she should do so as it is in accordance with this presidential directive and the public interest.”
The USDOT has yet to indicate what actions Secretary Chao may consider taking as part of the President’s directive.
TransportationNation.com will continue to monitor any new developments.