House committee gets earful about HOS problems, ELDs

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Monte Wiederhold, president of seven-truck fleet B.L. Reever TransportMonte Wiederhold, president of seven-truck fleet B.L. Reever Transport

The House Committee on Small Business heard Wednesday from owner-operators and small carriers about federal regulations, including the upcoming Electronic Logging Device mandate, and their impact on trucking businesses.

Monte Wiederhold, president of seven-truck fleet B.L. Reever Transport and Owner Operators Independent Drivers Association board member, told the House committee the negative attention the ELD mandate has receive stems from the rigidity of hours of service regulations.

“These rules push drivers to drive farther and faster,” Wiederhold said. “There is no flexibility in the hours of service right now. The clock never stops, and it penalizes drivers who are trying to be safe.”

Wiederhold added that he’s not against the use of ELDs, but he is against the devices being mandated for all truckers. “For small businesses, it’s only a cost,” he said. “There are no savings as FMCSA has said.”

Marty DiGiacomo, owner-operator of True Blue Transportation and testifying on behalf of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies, told the committee he agrees that ELDs shouldn’t be mandated.

“If it benefits my business and helps me be safer, I’ll buy it,” he said. “Give us the choice. At some point, I could see looking into it if it benefits me, but right now, it doesn’t because the hours-of-service regulations are the biggest problem.”

Also testifying at the hearing were Stephen Pelkey with the American Pyrotechnics Association and Robert Garbini with the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association. Both said that given the nature of their respective segments of the industry, the ELD mandate poses problems for their members.

Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) said it’s obvious there is disagreement between small and large trucking companies, and the committee will relay the concerns of small trucking businesses to their colleagues in Congress to consider easing the regulatory burden on the industry.