MANSON, Iowa -- Iowa 4th District Congressman Steve King visited a small trucking company in Manson to learn how new rules are making it harder to run the business.
PTI Trucking has around 50 trucks on the road. New regulations launched in December are making it hard for trucks to get where they need to be when they need to be there.
The new Electronic Driver Logs can track when a driver is on the road, stopped, unloading, or even sleeping. The issue is drivers have to work 14-hour days, only 11 of which can be spent driving. When a driver is forced to wait for hours to unload or pick up a load, though, that time is counted as a part of the 14 hours, even if the driver has a two-hour nap in the truck sleeper while waiting.
“This really penalizes companies that have to sit and wait and unload and be loaded,” said Chad Hartzler, Operation Manager at PTI. “I have a driver who can sit at a steel mill for seven hours, waiting to be loaded, and his 14-hour clock is still running.”
A small, private gathering of local trucking companies met with King to brief him on the trouble the new rules are causing. Companies are in favor of the electronic logs, but officials say the rules that come with them are not flexible enough.
“That downtime should be able to be counted as rest time, so if he can take it two-hour nap in the sleeper, let him take a two-hour nap in the sleeper, give him credit for that,” said King. “Let them manage their lives, we don’t need a nanny state of the United States federal government.”
Hartzler said the lack of control over the truck schedules is already causing the price of freight to go up in some areas.