ELD Rule Flawed; Is It Good Enough?

Leadership experts and motivational speakers often tout the cliché, “The biggest barrier to ‘great’ is ‘good.’” When we want something to be great, we cannot settle for something good. However, when making process-improvements, sometimes the biggest barrier to progress is trying to achieve or find greatness prior to taking the first step. Obviously those two philosophies are at odds with each other. So which one is right?

Now that we have achieved confusion, the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate is now final and trucks and drivers have two years to comply (the compliance deadline is Dec. 16, 2017).

So let me get back to my dueling philosophies. The ELD rule is designed to make roads safer. And written into the rule is also a provision to prevent companies from coercing drivers into driving more hours than they legally are allowed; to help drivers avoid driving fatigued; to keep the roads safer. And that’s a good thing. Right?

As ESPN’s college football analyst Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast, my friend.” The Owner-Operators Independent Drivers’ Association (OOIDA) argues that a driver can pull over to rest prior to reaching his hours limit because he knows his body. And that the very ELD designed to protect him from coercion will, in effect, tell his dispatcher that he has hours remaining. The very rule designed to prevent driver coercion could in fact, facilitate it. And now we have a third philosophy in play; the law of unintended consequences.

So is the law good enough that we should move forward with it? Or is it a fatally flawed, rule that gets in the way of a great law? And how hard will we all (drivers, shippers, employers, consumers) get hit by the law of unintended consequences?

The OOIDA has already announced that they will challenge this law.

Often, when I write about political issues I have an opinion as to whether or not the issue de jour is good or bad. I may or may not take a stance but I almost have an opinion. This one is different. I can see what the politicians are attempting to do with this law. But I can also see the flaws. Are they fatal flaws? Will the flaws be such that they make the law counter-productive? It will be interesting to see how the OOIDA challenge progresses.

Thanks for reading.

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