Danger on the Road
June is theft prevention month. This week a tractor-trailer was stolen in Texas and ended in a standoff with police on Interstate 30. While the trailer was unloaded, the entire unit was totaled. The standoff lasted two hours and as many as 12 people were injured during the chase as the suspect rammed into vehicles blocking his escape.
In the increasing danger that the summer months bring to truckers, a new push to get Michael’s Law passed through Congress is taking place. While the legislation has been brought up for debate on at least two occasions since the start of the new year, a vote has yet to come to fruition. As parking continues to be sparse, particularly on the East Coast, danger lurks for drivers stuck in the middle of nowhere trying to rest during their resets and restarts. With summer recess fast approaching, it will be interesting to see if this comes up in a vote anytime soon.
In other dangers, at least eight semi-trucks received heavy windshield damage as rocks were thrown at them from overpasses in Indianapolis on Monday. No arrests were made but at least two of the trucks reported shattered windshields.
The biggest news of the week came from the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court decided not to hear OOIDA’s appeal against the mandate. This ends a battle that has extended out more than a decade against the implementation of electronic logs. OOIDA had successfully killed or delayed similar mandates via lobbying starting in 1993 and again in 2002. When the EOBR (Electronic on Board Recorder) mandate came out in 2012, OOIDA took the case to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and won the case. After looking closely at how the mandate failed, the FMCSA took care to ensure that harassment policies were buttoned down and that they spelled out exactly how the tracking would work within the ELD mandate — at least in the eyes of the courts. The mandate, written in 2015, was taken again to the 7th Circuit in August of 2016, where the court ruled against the very same arguments that OOIDA had presented in 2012 based on the additional language that surrounded tracking and harassment policies and procedures. This ruling by the Supreme Court leaves little chance that the mandate becomes delayed or is removed entirely. OOIDA has turned its attention back to lobbying Congress and the Office of the President for the change. Compliance with the mandate will need to occur by Dec. 18, 2017.
The FMCSA will be hosting two ELD question and answer sessions in July. These are free events. While there are plenty of analysts and experts that can give you their understanding of the mandate, few things beat direct from the source information. These sessions will be an hour long in length with the first being held on July 6 from 10-11 a.m. Eastern time and the second on July 13 from 1-2 p.m. Registration for July 6 session can be found here and for July 13 here.