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Local trucking company says safety mandate is unconstitutional, increases risks on the roads

Concerned device can be hacked
Posted at 3:55 PM, Dec 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-22 19:28:34-05

PECULIAR, Mo. — The owner of a local trucking company plans to fight a safety mandate that was put into effect this week.

Scott Jordan, of Peculiar, owns Powerhouse Transportation, LLC. 

As of Monday, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires Jordan and other truckers to install electronic logging devices, or ELDs, to ensure truck drivers are not out on the roads driving for more than 11 hours in a 14 hour time period.

"It's my property, so the government doesn't have the right to enforce that on my property without paying for it," Jordan said.

Jordan, a second-generation trucker, runs a small operation of just six trucks.

He said the additional costs to install the ELDs will increase his operating costs, and in turn, the additional costs will fall on the consumers.

"The price at the shelves are gonna go up," Jordan said. "Food, clothes, houses, cars... we haul everything."

However, Jordan's greatest concern is that the device is required to be hooked up to every truck's computer system.

Jordan said hackers can break into the devices and cause problems out on the roads.

"They can shutdown the entire rig," Jordan said. "They can control the braking system, the engine, everything."

However, safety advocates argue the mandate is necessary, saying fatigue is a major problem in the trucking industry.

Last year, 13 people were killed and 31 people were hurt when a tour bus smashed into the back of a tractor-trailer outside of Palm Springs, Florida.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was waiting for the highway to reopen when he fell asleep.

When traffic began flowing, the tractor-trailer remained idle on the highway.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said the driver falsified his logbook to show he slept more hours in the previous days than he really had.

Still, Jordan argues, switching from paper logs to electronic logs won't stop people from skirting around the law.

"If I'm gonna go out there and outlaw like everybody says we want to do, I'm just gonna go unhook the ELD and I'm gonna go back to paper and say I had a glitch," Jordan said.

Jordan said he wants truck drivers to practice safety out on the roads but that there's a better way to monitor the hours they put in that doesn't include hooking up a device to the trucks' computer system.

Jordan uses an app to log his hours and also said a GPS can be just as effective.

"You can hack that but it's not going to affect my rig," Jordan said.

As of right now, Jordan hasn't installed the EDLs into his trucks. He said the mandate is not strict and won't be officially enforced until April.

Jordan said since starting his business, he's always followed the rules of the road and plans to take FMCSA to court for violating his constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment. 

"I got the authority. I paid for this stuff and now they're telling me I can't abide by the safety rules that were already in place," Jordan said.