Bootlegger-and-Baptist Alert

Virtually all long-haul trucking companies use GPS-based tracking systems to record the locations and activities of their drivers. Guess what? These firms support a proposed federal rule requiring independent owner-operators to install the expensive (up to $2,000) devices in their trucks. The rationale? Public safety, of course.

Surprisingly, the NPR story gets it right:

And some big companies are now actively promoting electronic logging, with five major companies coming together to form a group called the Alliance for Driver Safety and Security. It’s lobbying Congress to pass a law requiring electronic logging, to make sure the proposed DOT rule goes through.

“These companies wanted some action, and wanted it now, and wanted to push for legislation,” says Bill Vickery, spokesman for the alliance. “The best way to get action in Washington is to push for legislation.”

“We don’t want to be defined by the worst in our industry,” says Don Osterberg, senior vice president of safety for Schneider National, one of the companies in that alliance. “We just think we need to elevate the expectations and the performance of all motor carriers.”

But Spencer, from the independent owner-operator drivers’ group, dismisses that argument. “When they talk about leveling the playing field, what they are really saying is we need to get behind efforts that will increase costs of our competitors,” Spencer says. “We don’t find that to be an especially noble effort.”

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