Local truckers protest new federal mandate in Fresno

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The nation's trucking industry is pushing back against a new mandate that will prevent drivers from logging too many hours. (KFSN)

Local truckers joined a nationwide rally Monday morning aimed at putting the brakes on new federal regulations.

The mandate would force every driver to install an Electronic Log Device in their cab by December 18th.

The ELD automatically records the time a driver spends behind the wheel.

James Beltran has been driving a truck for over 40-years and says he is against the idea.

"They don't know whats going on out here. If we have to slow down our rates have to go up, nobody wins. You're going to pay more, I'm going to have to pay more, everyone across America will have to pay more for their goods," Beltran said.

The law allows truckers to drive for no more than 10-hours in a 14-hour work window with a 10-hour break after driving.

Currently, it is up to the driver to fill the log out with a pen. According to Beltran, the new ELD would prevent him from taking short breaks and would count against him when he is at the dock waiting to load or unload.

The mandate could slow the trucking industry to a crawl.
"What are you going to do when we can't get to the market in time? You need eggs, you need milk, produce, you need toilet paper. It's just that simple."

Federal regulators say the devices will save lives and the industry millions of dollars by reducing the amount of paperwork but some drivers are calling for the government to offer special training before spending the thousands of dollars to outfit their trucks with the new electronic logs.

Truck driver, Harvinder Singh said, "I am not good in computers either, so how am I going to put in my information there is no classes or institution. The government need to give us time so people and driver can prepare."

Since truck drivers are paid by the mile and not the minute -- most claim the electronic readers will negatively impact their bottom line

"When I get to a place the clock is ticking... that means I can't do another load. So it's cutting into my revenue," Beltran said.

Monday's local rally was one of 40 rallies from around the country. The new mandate goes into effect December 17th.

Action News has discovered the stories miss an important little nuance, though. The regulations are federal and do not apply to intrastate drivers.

If drivers stay in California entirely, they can stay on paper logs. In fact, by state law, if they are driving no more than 100 miles from their home base, they do not even have to record more than a time card.

California might eventually join the feds in mandating the use of the electronic logging devices, but it does not right now. No state does. Texas is the first to announce it will require them, but that is not until December 2019.

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