The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is considering the idea of requiring all commercial motor vehicles operating in interstate commerce to possess a unique electronic identifier. But why?
According to a petition from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, a mandate would improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the roadside inspection program by allowing officers to focus their efforts on high-risk carriers and drivers.
Meanwhile, hundreds of truck drivers have raised privacy concerns and questioned the need for another burdensome regulation.
“I believe that this proposed new regulation is totally unnecessary,” Derrick Bryant wrote. “With the use of ELDs, you already have all the information you need within a matter of seconds, and electronic ID is nothing more than another way for you to invade driver privacy or company privacy or to harass drivers or companies that you feel (are) high risk.”
OOIDA opposes electronic ID mandate
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association also has an array of concerns regarding a potential mandate of electronic IDs.
“We’re concerned, first and foremost, that there’s no indication that this will improve safety,” Collin Long, OOIDA’s director of government affairs, told Land Line Now. “There’s no indication that this will improve roadside inspections. They’re throwing out claims, but there’s no data or research to back up those claims.”
Bryce Mongeon, OOIDA’s director of legislative affairs, added that there are a lot of ways an electronic ID mandate could go bad.
“We don’t think it will improve safety, and we think it could even move safety in the wrong direction,” he said. “We could see this turning into law enforcement instead of actively looking for hazardous behavior … waiting for an ‘unsafe’ carrier to pass them by and they pick on them.”
Mongeon said OOIDA is concerned a mandate could also create a “downward spiral” for carriers who get one bad inspection and then are continually targeted.
Through its Fighting for Truckers website, OOIDA is actively encouraging truck drivers to file comments in opposition to any regulation requiring electronic IDs.
“The agency asserts these changes would allow law enforcement to target high-risk carriers, but we are skeptical of these claims and have a host of concerns about how this proposal would negatively affect truckers and highway safety,” OOIDA wrote in an email to its members. “This proposal sends up red flags about privacy, information security, enforcement fairness, cost to truckers, and more.”
Truckers also pointed to privacy concerns before the introduction of the electronic logging devices mandate. In 2020, an FBI bulletin pointed to cybersecurity concerns regarding ELDs.
How to comment
Commenters are asked to provide feedback on functionality, populations affected, cost/benefits, and other areas of using electronic IDs. A full list of questions from FMCSA can be found in the notice.
To comment on the notice, click here or go to Regulations.gov and enter Document No. FMCSA-2022-0062. LL