Local truckers protest new federal mandate in Fresno


"They say it's about safety, but it's not about safety, because you're racing against the clock", said Ray French Jr, whose been driving trucks for over four decades.

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.

Killeen says he understands the importance of safety but feels many established drivers are being punished for having clean driving records. 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.

The FMCSA estimates that ELDs will prevent hundreds of crashes a year by keeping exhausted drivers off the road.

A Texas congressman has introduced a resolution that would delay the ELD mandate for two years.

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"Companies that are on them are racking up 15 mile-an-hour over speed violations with trucks that are barely capable of running the speed limit on the highway".

That mandate, they claim could take away their freedom to get their jobs done, is coming down from the federal government, requiring them to install what's known as ELD's, or electronic logging devices. "By the time you get loaded and try to go somewhere, you're about down to only six hours for the rest of the day to drive".

The ELD will replace paper logs and keep more precise track of their hours. "The smaller companies are the ones who get hurt by it because they may run out of hours to get a load to their destination".

During those waits, they watch TV and sleep, resting up to hit the road again.

This creates what Kratz called a "beat the clock" mentality. "We're taking back what is ours". "They don't know whats going on out here". "What are you going to do when we can't get to the market in time?" The hours of service rules have not changed due to the ELD mandate. So if a driver gets exhausted and feels the need to take a short break during the 14 hours, it wouldn't go unnoticed. "These people who are sitting in the office mandating this, they're not in the trucks", Audrey Wright said. "To me, that's not safer".