The discussion of EOBR’s (now labeled ELD’s or electronic logging devices) continues and many drivers are as angry and frustrated as ever. As far back as I can remember I can not recall a topic creating more controversy or heated arguments.
The idea sounds logical and simple: place an electronic device on the truck which will increase safety by ensuring that drivers are compliant and accountable to the Hours of Service rule. This will make sure that drivers get the rest they need and roads will be safer. Makes sense, right? For most who have never operated a CMV it does, and the thought of anyone being opposed to such a device to increase safety is unheard of to many. So what’s the problem?
Why then are drivers so opposed to ELD’s? Is it the principal of having your privacy invaded? Will ELD’s actually cause an even greater safety risk and if so, how? Will ELD’s create more costs for many whose profits are already suffering? Will they drastically decrease wages earned? And the most devious of all, “Will ELD’s prevent drivers from “cheating” on their logs?” Why would a driver want to DO THAT?
Recently a thread was started on LinkedIn asking a question by James Lamb of DOTAuthority.com and AIPBA. The title of it alone pulled an emotional chord:
“Is opposition to the new electronic logging proposal grounded in truckers being upset this removes their ability to squirm out of HOS regs, fudge log books & falsify business records (commit fraud)?”
As most know, threads on LinkedIn usually do not receive the level of response that FaceBook receives, however, this thread received over 100 comments, many from drivers and company owners like myself. I personally voted “NO” on this poll and commented why (comment included safety and harassment). As the thread began to evolve, many of the comments began to go in the direction of driver wages and increased safety risk.
I then posted this question on FaceBook:
If drivers were paid for All their time, would EOBR’s be less of an issue/concern or still the same? Let’s “assume” the driver harassment issue is resolved when answering. Owner Operators still have to deal with the Cost.
The thread received over 300 responses and if I had to sum them up (you need to read them), I’d say this: EOBR’s do affect driver wages and hold only the DRIVER accountable, not the other major players who are involved in load logistics: shippers, receivers, dispatch, brokers, carriers.
An article by Jeff Clark best explains one aspect of this: “The Mandate.” Without a doubt driver wages, including paying drivers for all their time, came out ahead.
Jeff Head has been writing for years about the challenges drivers face in his book, “Running Legal Blues” and in his very vocal social media threads.
During this thread Mr James Lamb introduced this plan which provoked the interest of many (including myself): “We will be launching a new paradigm designed to increase independent driver pay in the coming months. We are not ready to disclose the details but we will introduce the new brand at MATS during the AIPBA seminar. In time it will pull company driver pay up too. You’re gonna like this, truckers…”
Another relevant point made is that by enforcing ELD’s, the actual safety of the driver is compromised, not taking many variables into account: lack of truck parking, weather, delays at docks and so-forth.
So is a valid question, “Is the present HOS rule ONLY affecting and creating accountability to the driver when enforcing ELD’s?”
There are so many facets to include when looking at what is included in the effects of ELD’s. Every segment of the industry has an affect on the other. Driver wages, cheap freight, HOS, ELD’s, lack of truck parking (and no, it’s not always because the driver has not planned his or her trip properly), forced dispatch, lack of detention time compensation, cdl training (yes, that plays a part too). You can even include CSA methodology in the mix.
Just as CSA methodology has been determined to be flawed (GAO report), so has the HOS rule been questioned when establishing driver/company compliance safety for all. The FMCSA study was four months late and lacked data. Read more …
Do we need an HOS rule? Absolutely.
If an ELD is going to increase safety by enforcing compliance and accountability, then the rule it is measured by must also ensure safety as priority….taking ALL variables into consideration and making ALL accountable.
Creating a one size fits all HOS rule that is FAIR and EFFECTIVE is challenging to say the least.
Question: Why are drivers opposed to the ELD mandate and who are those supporting it, and why?
This Saturday at MATS will be a seminar by James Lamb, as part of an outreach coalition, Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) will introduce the idea of small business working together, increasing accountability, and ultimately increasing driver wages:
SAT. MAR. 29 11AM
SOUTH WING ROOM B-104
© 2014, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.