FMCSA: Safety in Our Time!

Material Handling & Logistics reported a week ago (I don’t know how I missed this) that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says, “…on an annual average basis, use of [Electronic Logging Devices (ELD)] should help save 26 lives and prevent 1,844 crashes involving large commercial motor vehicles…”

What?!? How?

Do they have data that says there were 26 lives lost and 1844 crashes involving large commercial motor vehicles last year where the cause was attributed to drivers filling out paper log books and causing an accident? Or maybe they think the ELDs will prevent drivers from driving while tired? Or do they honestly think they can eliminate rule-breakers with more laws? People who already follow the laws will adhere to the ELD mandate. People who already break the law will find new ways to circumvent the ELD laws to make a buck.

Should we prosecute those who are unwilling to submit to governing authorities and put the rest of us at risk? Of course. But don’t make claims that are completely unreliable, unverifiable, misleading, and/or flat-out untruthful. And don’t make laws based on faulty assertions just because they sound good.

I read yesterday in a completely unrelated discussion about a football player’s drug use where the writer was quoting someone famous who said, “He’s either dependent or he’s dumb.” When the FMCSA touts or predicts things like this they come across as either dumb or delusional. I don’t want compare the seriousness of this issue to the much weightier event that World War II was but the FMCSA is being very Neville Chamberlain-like with their claims of saving lives.

The ELD mandate WILL NOT save 26 lives nor will it eliminate 1844 large commercial vehicle accidents annually. It probably wouldn’t even do that if 100% of truck drivers complied and did not try to circumvent that law. But some will…

Now please do not assume I am criticizing truck drivers. I think they, as a whole, are incredibly professional and most do a great job. But, just like in every other industry, there is a small percentage who will break laws to make a buck. My beef is with the governing authorities who make disingenuous claims or are too dumb to realize their policies won’t solve anything.

The FMCSA may never be roundly criticized as former Great Britain Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, but the parallel is apt.

One last thing, I’m not even sure I think the ELD mandate is bad one, but I am certain it won’t slice and dice tomatoes, bring us world peace, or save 26 lives.

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