U.S. Rep. Brian Babin: ELD law is the ‘Dodd-Frank law of the trucking industry’

President Trump at an Executive Order signing earlier this year. Opponents of the ELD mandate are hoping it will sign a last-minute order delaying the rule.

Texas Republican says he’s not opposed to ELDs, but is concerned for the viability of small trucking businesses as law kicks in

Last-minute efforts to delay or stop the electronic logging device rule (ELD) are continuing, but it may be too little, too late unless President Donald Trump throws a Hail Mary.

In an exclusive interview with FreightWaves, Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) said it’s unlikely any legislative relief will come for those opposed to the Dec. 18 mandate before then.

“Legislatively, at the Congressional level, we’re not going to get this done by the 18th,” Babin explains. “But where we can get this done is at the presidential level.”

On Nov. 9, Babin sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to issue an Executive Order to delay the ELD mandate. In the letter, Babin noted he consulted with the Congressional Research Service and believes Trump has the legal authority to issue such an order.

“Accordingly, I respectfully request that you issue an Executive Order as soon as possible, instructing the Secretary of Transportation to provide an immediate waiver for all trucking sectors and operations … who are subject to it,” he wrote.

Babin asked for a delay at least until April 1, 2018, preferably longer. April 1 is the day that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has slated as when enforcement personnel will begin placing drivers out-of-service for not having a legal device. Prior to this date, enforcement will issue only violations.

Babin, who says he is not opposed to the usage of ELDs in general, believes a three-month delay will assist FMCSA in dealing with a large number of exemption requests. Already, FMCSA has issued exemptions around rental vehicles and agricultural vehicles and specific exemptions for UPS and other companies.

There are those who do not believe the president has the authority to delay the mandate, which went through an extensive regulatory process and comment period and has been several years in the making. Babin disputes that, pointing to the exemptions already issued.

“For those who say it is illegal, I’d say that FMCSA has the authority to issue an exemption to the ag haulers and cattle haulers,” Babin notes, pointing to one of several exemptions to the mandate FMCSA has issued this year.

Babin cited the cost of the devices in his letter to Trump, noting a “disproportionate impact on small businesses,” safety claims being “dubious at best,” and cybersecurity concerns as reasons for a needed delay in the mandate.

“With Republicans in control of Congress and the White House, the last thing the American people expect us to do is mandate that every hardworking truck driver in America spend thousands of dollars on the purchase, installation and monthly service fee for a government-approved tracking device,” Babin wrote.

Babin is hoping that Trump will act on his request and order a delay.

“We’re reaching out to the administration as hard as we can,” he tells FreightWaves. “These are hardworking folks, they play by the rules for the most part, like any industry. These people believed President Trump when he ran for office [and said] Washington elites weren’t listening to them. …He said it will be a new day and blue-collar workers across the country voted for him.

“I’m hoping the president and administration will listen,” Babin adds.

Babin previously introduced the ELD Extension Act of 2017 that would delay the mandate two years. That bill, H.R. 3282, has 67 co-sponsors, but has not advanced yet out of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where it was referred on the day it was introduced.

“We appreciate Congressman Babin’s leadership on this issue. While we still believe the ELD mandate should be outright repealed, FMCSA simply isn’t ready to implement this rule,” Todd Spencer, Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association vice president said at the time of the bill’s introduction. “Congressman Babin’s bill would provide more time for the agency to address a number of significant unresolved concerns identified by stakeholders.”

Despite the number of co-sponsors, the Extension Act has not moved out of committee and Babin acknowledges that it’s too late in the process for it to advance at this point. Most of his concerns center on the questions surrounding the devices and whether the industry and enforcement are ready to roll it out, and what impact it will truly have on the small businesses.

“This ELD mandate is the Dodd-Frank law of the trucking industry,” he says, alluding to the banking law implemented by the Obama Administration following the Great Recession. “Over the years, small banks have gone out of business [because of Dodd-Frank] and I’m afraid the same thing will happen to the small truckers.”

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.


  1. make no mistake about it. This mandate has nothing to do with safety, if anything, it will cause more accidents. Everybody rushing, not having time to be deffensive drivers, not stopping to get a rest when feeling like it, all do to the fact that a darn clock is ticking. This is about big businesses puting their small business competition out the window. Thats why they were the only ones lobbying for this garbage. Trump needs to do what he promised, listen to the little man or lose massive support.

  2. I get off from industry becouse it’s not fits me. No explanation. If trucking get back to common sense, I will get back. No participation in that madness.

  3. And to what end is this "delay"? In two years we will still have the same whining. I, too, was opposed to the ELD, until I tried it. The 14 hour clock does pose a hurdle, but, I have found I can still run a 700 mile day. Shippers and receivers will HAVE to comply, eventually.

  4. I know of 2 private truck owners with their own operating Authority… as of Friday their parking their trucks. Shutting down One owns 10. The other owns 7 .. the cost Rolf the. E. L. D. And to pay someone to be on call 24–7. At the company office Incase a truck needs paper copies faxed to a scale house was just enough for those 2 owners to say. Heck with it !!!

  5. this mandate is nothing more than another step in the direction of a complete take over of the transportation industry by large companies that’s been going on for years. If you look back at the changes made since deregulation,the large companies have been slowly posturing to drive out the competition for freight from o/o and small fleets through regulatory changes in the HOS,the medical requirements,insurance requirements and the like and by changes in their operations such as going to a hub centered business model that,unless you’re a large enough company,you can’t compete against..they’ve also been getting larger by buying up the failing fleets and combining those fleets into larger conglomerates of "transportation companies" which keeps the freight rates at low levels even though the cost to the independents and small fleets continue to climb because they can’t take advantage of saving on fuel,repairs,insurance,and other business expenses at the same rate as a large firm. Add all this to the government sponsored "kick backs" that the large fleets get for driver training,which a small fleet doesn’t qualify for,flooding the industry with poorly trained inexperienced driver’s who,through no fault of their own,drive up the crash data numbers and you can use the "It’s all about safety" line to push through more unnecessary,costly,and small business killing regulations until only the government funded,corporate owned transportation companies and a few "specialized" hauling companies are all that remains in the trucking business.

  6. dae tripper said it right. That how swift was created from 5 smaller companies.
    Than where is a anti monopoly law. Another commentator reminded about promise to get rid of pity regulations.
    Instead more regulations. How they say they care about working people and small business. Sure in next elections we’ll say you are fired but looks after Reagan only rich get better.

  7. All I’ve heard is that it’s about safety. But I guess if you haul cattle or gas etc. You don’t have to worry about safety. If it was about safety there would be no exceptions. Plus they’re more trucks in accidents with ELD than without. So who’s bull ……… who.

  8. Well so far there more accident with eld no place to dam park hardly its bs really dose the dot not realize there cutting their on job security. Not only that u cant keep live stock an produce on wagons that dam long. Unless the government wishes to pay for the lost of the value of r cargo.

  9. Well I been driving for 22 years clean record not even a fender bender don’t know how many million miles but it’s a lot. I think this is all about money safety? I don’t think so why our government haven’t done anything about medical doctors they kill and poison millions of people and no body goes to jail?????????

  10. Will are government pay for are parking in the TA/Petro, Pilot/Flying J and all of these greedy people out there that realizes the potential to capitalize on the situation.

  11. Bottom line is if truckers and dispatchers would run legally . We would not have to be going to ELF logs.. To many cheaters.

  12. Eld being safer is completely B.S. and to all you driver’s that don’t make a stand and park the truck then u deserve to be miserable driving down miles down the road. I’ve already stopped driving. ..