Trucking Toward the American Dream
By Rep. Kristi Noem
South Dakota is a big state with two major interstates running through. We rely heavily on our local trucking operations, so I take it very seriously when the federal government starts imposing regulations like the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. This U.S. Department of Transportation rule makes it more difficult to reliably move livestock, commodities, and goods through the state.
Time and again, I’ve spoken to South Dakota truckers with deep concerns about the added burden. No one wants to compromise when it comes to safety – especially those who make their living behind the wheel. But no one is looking to change the safety protocols. The Hours of Service Regulations, which limit the amount of time truckers can spend on the road, remain in place no matter what. The question is really about whether to require those hours to be recorded by a costly electronic device or by hand with old-fashioned pen and paper.
In December, I co-sponsored legislation that would put a two-year delay on this mandate. This would give additional time for further research into the impact on trucking operations, particularly small companies and those that haul live animals.
Earlier this month, I also sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation to request exemptions for small trucking businesses with exemplary safety records, saving these drivers with the tightest profit margins the $500 it costs annually to comply with the ELD mandate.
I believe strongly in evidence-based policymaking, and I have significant concerns about the questions left unanswered regarding the ELD mandate. Until more can be learned about the mandate’s efficacy and practical impact, I believe we need to delay this rule and work toward a solution in which South Dakota truckers can continue operating safely while pursuing their American Dream.