That is my story and I am sticking to it. The ELD mandate is getting blamed for a lot of things. Did it cause any of them? I don’t think so. What it did was expose issues that heretofore we covered over with paper, or baggy shirts. Drivers did the best that we could to solve problems on an individual basis. That kept them hidden.

Some of the issues are serious and need to be dealt with. Truck parking has always been an issue. The mandate exposed it. Stealing a line from Henry – There is not a shortage of parking, there is a shortage of places that they will let you park. Fuel has almost become a loss leader for truck stops. They can’t survive on selling fuel alone. Truck stops have discounted their fuel in an effort to get carriers to buy it. Prices are higher at a truck stop than they might be at a place that does not provide truck parking. It costs money to build and maintain truck parking. Now, truck stops have begun providing reserved parking if you are willing to pay for it. Is the mandate too blame?

Opponents are going out of their way to blame the mandate for anything that they can. Driving home from the Buckeye Invitational Truck Show, I heard perhaps the biggest stretch. The reporter was doing her best to blame the mandate for the demise of the truck stop chapels. Never mind that these chapels have been disappearing for decades. The evolution of trucking was not mentioned, at least I don’t remember it. The average length of haul is a lot less than it was 30 years ago. Trucking companies are providing more home time. A lot of that home time is on the weekend. That Saturday night, I didn’t have the hours, or the will to make it through Chicago. I stopped at an almost empty TA truck stop at the 230 mile marker on I65 in Indiana. There was one truck parked in the reserved spots.

I was looking through vacation pictures. The pictures are reminders of a week spent with grandchildren. They live in Florida. We visit them every year. I noticed something in the pictures. I am fat. Physically, it was a rough year. I broke my foot. That led to a lack of exercise, That led to weight gain. Being almost 60 probably did not help in my recovery either. I went right back to running without getting in shape to run first. That led to back and leg issues. The real issue was that I ate more and moved less. I intend to fix that. Regular exercise is helping. So is eating smarter. It takes real work to actually solve a problem.

The ELD mandate has been like an X ray. It has shown us the problems. Now, we have to fix them.

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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