It’s not often that a prominent drag racing series owner travels to Washington, D.C., to support opposition of a government mandate, but in late September, PDRA co-owner Tommy Franklin and his wife, Judy, did exactly that when they traveled to D.C. to join forces with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, who is spear-heading the coalition to oppose the Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) mandate, set to take effect on December 18, 2017.
The new legislation, which was passed by Congress in 2012 but doesn’t take effect until later this year, would require essentially every large truck on the road to switch their current log books to an electronic logging device, which are reportedly costly to purchase and potentially plagued with problems. “I definitely agree that public safety is important, but at the same time I don’t believe that this ELD mandate should apply to local level racers and courier services,” Franklin commented.
In reality, though, this legislation in one broad stroke will effect everything from large companies who transport goods exclusively, right down to small businesses who only truck occasionally, hauling everything from livestock, agriculture and utilities. Those who tow race rigs and show cars will also be effected in like manner. “I totally agree that people driving across the country shouldn’t drive 48 hours straight – I get that – but I also think this falls back to controlling your own destiny and doing what’s right. As a small business owner myself, I can say it’s hard enough to do business out there and the last thing we need is to have something else to have to manage and drive up cost, and I also believe the consumer is the guy that really gets hits from this,” said Franklin.
While ELDs have been around for years, previously only used as a fleet management tool, this latest mandate effects what Franklin believes is the ground floor level of small businesses, as well as people who consider themselves entertainers or hobbyist like many drag racers.
At the season-ending PDRA race at Virginia Motorsports Park, Franklin spoke candidly about the impact of this mandate on racing. “As I look out into the pits here at VMP, I see well over 300 race rigs that would be effected by this mandate. Additionally, the PDRA is made up of working-class people who compete on a professional level, so on Monday morning most of the racers in the PDRA are going to go back and check into their jobs,” added Franklin, who owns an electrical company in Virginia. “We’ve seen some strength in the economy, and the last thing we need to do is knock it over the head, and I believe this mandate would do exactly that.”
At this writing, many entities, including PDRA and Lucas Oil, have joined forces to support the coalition of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association in their opposition of the impending ELD mandate. Todd Spencer, Executive Vice President of OOIDA, is optimistic that the mandate will be delayed and further researched before being implemented in its current form.
“What we’re hoping for on December 18, is that good sense and good judgement will prevail and more people will be taking a closer look at the implications of this unwise mandate. I hope they assess how it is going to actually effect various things, like strangling business and driving up cost without any real benefit,” said Spencer.
Many of the entities that have joined the ELD mandate opposition are just now learning how this new legislation will effect them, and Franklin is hopeful that more people will join the cause. “I would encourage every racer in the PDRA to visit www.ooida.com and support their coalition,” concluded Franklin.