A Sikh political action committee in the US has urged the Trump administration to delay installation of an expensive logging device in trucks, a move that will entail huge costs on the trucking industry, dominated by the Sikh-Americans. The new regulation, to be effective from December 18, will require almost all commercial trucks, unless a truck is in an exempted class, to buy and operate an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) to record the hours they are on and off duty.
An ELD synchronises with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time, for more accurate hours of service recording. “We seek a delay for the ELDs mandate so that we can make sure we are following the law,” Gurinder Singh Khalsa of Indianapolis-based Sikh Political Action Committee said. Representing the voice of some 150,000 truck owners, a significantly large number of whom are Sikhs, Khalsa said technology is not strong and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has not approved devices.
Noting that as of August 30, there were 99 different devices registered as complying, all offering various degrees of functionality and price points, Khalsa said the immediate concern is that they have to spend of money to buy something that may not be compliant. Industry reports say a wide range of prices exist for different versions of the technology, running from USD 165 to USD 832 annually, the most widely used being USD 495 a truck.
“We have no way of knowing which company will stay in business to service the purchased device. Please understand that beyond the initial purchase price, the driver or company must pay monthly service and cell phone charges,” he said. “There will be maintenance charges, upgrades and other fees to keep the technology current. The purchasing decisions are not simple nor easy. If the wrong decision is made the truck may be put out of service, a company can be administratively penalised and a driver may lose points on his Commercial Drivers Licenses,” Khalsa added. Responding to questions, Khalsa argued that ELDs are not safer and do nothing to stop a tired trucker from driving. The current mandate of the ELD is unfair to the American taxpayer and consumers, he added.