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Tri-State truckers protest new regulation for logging hours electronically

They say it will be costly for them and consumers
Posted at 12:40 AM, Apr 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-09 00:50:06-04

CINCINNATI - Imagine sitting at your desk or working at a construction site or treating patients or teaching in a classroom and watching an electronic device that logs the minutes and hours you work.

You probably wouldn’t like it, would you?

That’s how truckers feel now that a new regulation requires them to do just that. Some Ohio truckers and company owners say it will end up costing them – and consumers – and they’re taking their protest to Columbus and Washington, D.C., on Monday, hoping to convince to lawmakers.

“You're supposed to attach your cellphone or your tablet fixed up on the dash so you can sit there and stare at the minutes as they're climbing off of your ELD (electronic logging device),” said Todd Campbell, truck driver and owner of Campbell Farms.

In the past, all truckers had to do was log their hours on pen and paper. That gave them some wiggle room to make their deliveries on time if they got stuck in traffic. But they're not able to do that anymore since a new mandate took effect April 1.

ELDs are now required for truckers. If a driver operating a commercial vehicle gets caught without a working ELD, he or she could be placed out of service.   

"You literally have a clock that's in your face counting down your hours that you're allowed to operate for your work day. It just pushes you to the most extreme limits,” said truck driver Steven Rehm.

The federal government put this mandate in place to keep sleepy drivers off the road. But Rehm said it might just do the opposite.  

“It's going to make them more dangerous because they have the clock staring right at them. You only get paid when these tires are turning. Across the board it's going to be detrimental to another stage," Rehm said.

Campbell said it can be too pricey for smaller trucking businesses and families who make a living out of it.

“For a small company like me, it doesn't make sense to spend the extra money when they run from $400 to $1,500 to get one and then $30 to $65 for a monthly monitoring fee,” Campbell said.

Rehm, who has a wife and five children, worries about how he’s going to provide for his family.

"I put a roof over their heads. I feed them. I clothe them. And now it's shifted to a point where this keeps me up at night and I'm scratching my head wondering how are we going to make it to the next week," Rehm said.

Rehm warns that everybody will see prices go up.

“You're going to start seeing food prices skyrocket … fuel … the daily necessities that people need to raise their families. It's all going to be passed on,” Rehm said.