Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

All I want for Christmas – ELDs

20 Comments

Dad and his camper parked among commercial trucks ten years before he was killed.


My dad was killed by a tired commercial truck driver early on the morning of December 23, 2004. Dad was driving to the Atlanta airport to catch a flight north for Christmas. The driver of the semi, who didn’t see all the lanes of traffic stopped up ahead of him, had been driving all night in an attempt to get a shipment of electronics to an Atlanta retailer in time for Christmas sales.

Back in those days commercial drivers recorded the hours they drove in paper logs; safety advocates sometimes called these logs comic books because of the amount of made up information that got recorded. Truck drivers are paid by the mile, not by the hour, so it benefited them financially to drive further and faster, maybe even further and faster than was legal.

So after dad was killed, and I began to learn more about what happened, I began to work toward mandated electronic logging devices, ELDs. Last Monday, December 18, 2017, thirteen years after dad died, my wish came true. Trucks are now required to have electronic logging devices, and though some truckers are still opposed to what they consider is a infringement on their right to privacy, or their right to make a living, and though I’m sure there will be some unintended consequences, I’m happy.

As far as I’m concerned this was a very big, very important, Christmas present to the families of people killed and injured by tired truckers across the country. And, if they’re honest, perhaps it’s a gift to the drivers too, because it will be harder for an employer to push a driver past legal limits now that everything is monitored by ELDs.

ELDs might have happened without the Truck Safety Coalition and our volunteers pushing legislators for years. The American Trucking Association (ATA) which represents big truck companies wanted them too, so for once we were on the same side of an argument. But I have to think it was stories of regular people like us that helped tip the balance and get this technology mandated. So to all of you out there that have supported our work, for this gift of safety that begins this holiday season, I say thank you.

I think I’ll consider the ELD mandate as a personal Christmas present sent straight from dad.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

20 thoughts on “All I want for Christmas – ELDs

  1. GOOD WORK, DAWN!!! I’d say “Congratulations!” but this is a big win for the whole country, so I’ll just say THANK YOU! to you and your coalition.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am sorry for the loss of your dad in such tragic circumstances. As we are out driving around with truck and trailer, I am so cautious around the truckers. Thank you for your efforts to make us all safer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am very sorry about the loss of your father. A very awful event, but I am glad that you could use it to help others.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s great news!

    I know my senator (Gillibrand) and Rubio submitted a bill last week for underride guards. In this age of deregulation, not sure if it has a chance, but safety really should be a non partisan issue.

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    • Yes Sara, your Senator is awesome (well, both of them are!). The Truck Safety Coalition has been working on underride guards as a priority this year, and worked with Senator Gillibrand, along with other groups, on this bill. We’ll see how far it can be pushed.

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  5. Awesome, Dawn!!! I know this was a hard-fought battle for you, but I am so happy for this special gift. Wonderful news.

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  6. Merry Christmas. The world needs more people to stand up and fight for what is right. Be a voice to be reckoned with!

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  7. I’m so sorry Dawn. Thank you for all the work you do to make our roads safer.
    Christmas must be bittersweet for you, but I hope you remember the good times with your dad this Christmas.

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  8. Kudos to you and your team for this great news! Progress feels slow, and I know there are LOTS more improvements to be made, but this is a step in the right direction.

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    • Thank you Debbie. This was such a no brainer and yet it was 13 years, and being worked on long before dad died, so really even longer. And yes there are lots more things to work on, but this was a very big step for me, as these might have saved dad’s life way back then. And saved so many others the grief and trauma they went through.

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  9. My heart is happy for you Dawn. And I thank you for all your hard work and perseverance to this cause so close to your heart.

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  10. Way to go Dawn! I’m a retired FedEx truck mechanic and used to watch a few of those drivers spend WAY too much time behind the wheel, especially the weeks before Christmas. Thank you for doing this. It matters.
    Love Katie’s posts too. 🙂 Such a sweetie.

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    • I have noticed that FedEx has had some pretty terrible crashes…of course I don’t know the cause, but driving fatigued and under a lot of pressure certainly doesn’t help. I hope all the delivery drivers are getting some rest today! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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