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ELD’s DO NOT prevent truckers from working more than 70 hrs/wk


 Truck ELD

ELD’s DO NOT keep truckers from working more that 70 hours/week

Has the General Public and Safety Advocacy Groups been Duped?

THE BIG LIE: ELD’s keep drivers from working more that 70 hours/week and thus have the ability to reduce Truck Driver Fatigue?

Fact is:  Truck ELD ‘s are just a smokescreen pretending to create Safer Highways as they LEGALLY reduce a drivers available hours to drive, therefore pushing drivers to work additional hours without pay.

For many years it has been an objective of the FMCSA, Safety Groups and a host of government agencies to create safety by introducing and mandating a continuous onslaught of regulations onto  drivers as a way to create safer highways.
Ironically, many of the rules within the FMCSA create more stress  including the Hours-of-Service (HOS) and the ELD ( Electronic logging device) which measure and records the Hours of Driver Drive Time, keeping drivers HOS compliant with the 14 hour clock. But does it really?

Purpose of the ELD  Final Rule

According to the FMCSA The electronic logging device (ELD) rule is intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier, faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data.

Theoretically the ELD is to address and prevent: “Cheating” on Logs which would allow drivers to drive more hours, thus reducing Truck Driver Fatigue. In the minds of many this would logically create safer highways.  Although an ELD can accurately measuring a drivers drive time, it does not automatically monitor hours logged.
In other words, the device does not ensure a drivers hours are logged correctly, but rather will permit drivers to work many times in excess of 100 hours/wk

But how can that be?
An ELD synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time, for easier, more accurate hours of service (HOS) recording.

Additionally, whatever the driver enters, is what it records. The only thing the ELD can measure  relatively accurately, is when the truck is moving, or logged, “On Duty Driving”
Once the Truck is disengaged ( turned off or stopped) it no longer “automatically” logs what the driver is doing. The driver still manually enters either: Off  Duty, Sleeper Berth, Driving, On Duty Not Driving

 The FMCSA issued a Final Rule for ELD in December 2015.

Before we continue, these are some well known facts among the driving community

1) Most Truckers are paid by the mile with little or no compensation for their other jobs performed or “extra hours”
2) Drivers are mandated by FMCSA to a 14 hour clock, allowed to drive 11 hours within a 14 hour work period.
3) Drivers are held to a 70 hour work week
4) Drivers Log those hours according to the following in order to remain compliant
a) Line 1- Off Duty
b) Line 2 sleeper birth
c)  Line 3-On Duty Driving
d) Line 4-On Duty Not Driving
5) Most TL Drivers are not paid for detention time.
These hours readily eat up the 14 hour clock and 70 hour work week
6) Drivers will log either Line 1 ( Off Duty)  or Line 2( Sleeper Berth) to preserve their 70 hours while waiting at loading docks
7) Drivers often work 100+ hours /week
8) Drivers are not paid for as many as 40 hours/week of their time spent waiting and/or doing other tasks. Again, many times drivers log Line 1 or 2 to preserve their hours.

Map 21 -FMCSA – In 2012, the United States Congress enacted the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” bill, or, more commonly referred to as MAP-21. That bill, which also outlined the criteria for highway funding, included a provision requiring the FMCSA to develop a rule mandating the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs)

There is a possibility however, that the change in interpretation of CFR 395.2 in 2012 (from April of 1997), without public comment I might add, could “muddy the waters” as to define when it is “legally“allowed to log waiting at docks, Off Duty/Sleeper Berth, no matter how long the delay. How can that be? Aren’t drivers “at work” while waiting at the docks? Shouldn’t they be paid for waiting? Or could this change any hope for that?

Why do drivers log line Off Duty or Sleeper Berth when they are actually “On Duty not Driving”?  Is that Legal?
Shouldn’t they be logging line 4?What about  when waiting at docks?

Every driver reading this knows EXACTLY why this is…. Because as stated in Fact 1- Drivers get paid by the miles THEY DRIVE ONLY… NOT for their TIME.  This means that ANYTHING other than driving will not be compensated:  waiting time at docks ,weather, paperwork, looking for parking, eating, etc… This is “expected free time”  without pay that drivers accept as part of “their job”

Do ELD’s make roads safer?

Theoretically, ELD’s will monitor a drivers  11 hour drive time, determining when the truck moves. ELD’s do not monitor ANYTHING else however.
Example: A driver could drive 11 hours, shut down, manually log off duty while waiting at a dock for 10 hours (not sleeping) and then go on to their next load. No one would know.

On Paper ELD’s Seem like the perfect solution to safer roads, right?
But is it? The ATA, Safety Groups, and even Congress seems to think it will. But what do drivers say

Before we answer this, let’s talk about  the 70 hour work week?  Will ELD’s be able to monitor this?  Are they really only working 70 hours? Do drivers even  know or care that they are working over 70 UNPAID hours?
Fact is, ELD does not monitor what the driver is actually doing, even if logged Sleeper Berth,  they can still be working. Unless there is a probe connected to the driver or a camera watching EVERY move to ensure they get his/her rest, absolute assurance that a driver is “resting” is impossible.
Are we to expect Biometrics to follow?

The myth and Lie of ELD’s


1)Drivers have been conditioned to believe that THEIR TIME IS NOT VALUABLE. They believe only the hours they drive are valuable.
2) Drivers get paid by the mile, not for their time
3) Drivers Wages have remained stagnant for decades
4) Drivers believe that the only way they can make more money is to drive more miles
5) Drivers believe that logging off duty or sleeper birth is “legal” if they are waiting at a loading dock. They do this to preserve their 70 hour clock, which means they are working  70 hours plus 30+ hours extra waiting at shippers and receivers. They log this way to have more time to drive in order to make more money.

FMCSA: Definitions, Rules, and Guidance

Part 395

Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 395 July 12th 2013 Update from April 4th 1997
Hours of Service for Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers; Regulatory Guidance Concerning Off-Duty Time

What Is Off-Duty Time?
By understanding the definition of on-duty time, you will get a good idea of what is considered off-duty time. In order for time to be considered off-duty, you must be relieved of all duty and responsibility for performing work. You must be free to pursue activities of your own choosing and be able to leave the place where your vehicle is parked.

On-Duty Time In a Commercial Motor Vehicle-  On-duty time means all time from the time a driver begins to work or is required to be in readiness to work until the time the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work. On-duty time shall include:

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) excludes from the definition of on-duty time, any time resting in a parked commercial motor vehicle, with the driver relieved of all responsibility for the vehicle. Also excluded to be considered on duty, is up to 2 hours in the passenger seat of a moving commercial motor vehicle, immediately before or after 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth. This rule continues to require drivers to take 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, and allows them to take an additional 2 hours in the passenger seat when the vehicle is moving, without artificially confining them to the sleeper berth for the entire 10-hour period.

Drivers already know that ELD’s will not create safer roads, but the media, general public, and safety groups unfortunately have all been given a false sense of security, believing that ELD’s and HOS are the answer to Safer Highways, eliminating Truck Driver Fatigue, and preventing fatal crashes… All of which are a cover up, designed to keep wages down and to keep drivers working harder to chase that carrot hanging down.


Here is a comment on a FaceBook Thread that veteran driver Pat Hockaday made in response to an ELD article by another veteran driver, Bob Caffee You can read ALL other Driver comments also HERE


Pat Hockaday Comment:
Time has value! We are governed by the clock, not the number of miles we may run!
In order to run miles, we must have Available Hours to do so. In order to run miles, Mandated Breaks Must Have Been Taken! Mandated breaks deny us the use of our time, possession of our time has been taken away from us. Are we expected to just donate our time to the Job????
“Relieved of All Responsibility” implies that the Driver has the freedom to do as they please. OK, I want to mow my grass but my grass is a thousand miles away! NOW I Have to Hire Somebody to do “As I Please”.
If the Driver is “Relieved of All Responsibility” who has assumed the responsibility?? If the carrier, shipper or receiver has relieved a Driver from “All Responsibility” aren’t they responsible to return “All Responsibility” back to the Driver with the equipment in the same condition as it was when they accepted “All Responsibility”?
An employee Driver may leave the truck in the possession of the carrier when they go home but when you or I go home, aren’t we still responsible??
In order to be technically “Off Duty” the Driver must be relieved of duty and all responsibility to preform work and to be in readiness to preform work while being “Relieved of All Responsibility” for the truck, trailer and cargo.
HOLD ON A MINUTE, that’s how the definitions were written BUT the definitions have changed in 2013.

“Through the revision of the regulatory guidance, FMCSA makes clear that the motor carrier need not provide formal guidance, either verbal or written, to drivers with regard to the specific times and locations where rest break may be taken. The revised guidance also emphasizes that periods of time during which the driver is free to stop working, and engage in activities of his/her choosing, may be recorded as off-duty time, irrespective of whether the driver has the means or opportunity to leave a particular facility or location.”…/FR-2013-07-12/pdf/2013-16687.pdf

Any OO or Independent worth two cents know that they must price themselves by considering the amount of time needed to do the job. Of course we must work within the prevailing labor rate that the market has set. Hmm, if we must compete against a labor force who’s value has been set for them by only considering the production that may be performed, the value of OUR Time has been established by the market, A Controlled Market, as is evident in this amendment to Part 395.2 that reads;

On-Duty Time In a Commercial Motor Vehicle
Effective February 27, 2012, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration excluded from the definition of on-duty time any time resting in a parked commercial motor vehicle, with the driver relieved of all responsibility for the vehicle.
Combine this with the previous definition of “Relieved of All Responsibility” and it may be interpreted that Drivers may legally log “Off Duty” while waiting.
This goes against Part 395.2 that reads;

On-duty time means all time from the time a driver begins to work or is required to be in readiness to work until the time the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work. On-duty time shall include:
(1) All time at a plant, terminal, facility, or other property of a motor carrier or shipper, or on any public property, waiting to be dispatched, unless the driver has been relieved from duty by the motor carrier;
(2) All time inspecting, servicing, or conditioning any commercial motor vehicle at any time;
(3) All driving time as defined in the term driving time;
(4) All time in or on a commercial motor vehicle, other than:
(i) Time spent resting in or on a parked vehicle, except as otherwise provided in § 397.5 of this subchapter;
There is a lot to be considered that affects Drivers pay. ELD’s can be utilized by Drivers to increase the Safety of the Roadways only if they can AFFORD to operate in full compliance of the HOS.
How do the Drivers put these boxes to work For The Drivers????



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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

View all posts by Allen Smith →

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3 Responses to ELD’s DO NOT prevent truckers from working more than 70 hrs/wk. - Post a Comment

  1. […] the laws are written, most over the road truck drivers can “legally” work 100+ hours. Read more ELD’s DO NOT keep truckers from working more that 70 […]

  2. Vicki Simons

    Thanks, Allen, for putting all of this in black and white.

    Let’s break this down and look at it in pieces.

    1. Each logbook (and I assume electronic logging device, ELD) requires a driver to accurately log his or her time. Any variation from how the driver spent his or her time could be called falsification.

    2. I fully realize that there is a need to preserve driving time, but a driver who does not record the time he or she spends doing truck- or load-related tasks as On Duty Not Driving is falsifying the record.

    3. If drivers began to log all of their truck- or load-related activity as On Duty Not Driving, then that would start to put the pinch on trucking companies, shippers and receivers. (Example: “I can’t move my truck because I haven’t had a 10-hour sleeper berth break and I’ve already been on the clock for 14 hours.”)

    Yes, the amount of time that a driver could drive would be reduced, but it would eliminate fatigue. And if truckers were paid by the hour for being On Duty Not Driving for all truck- and load-related tasks, it wouldn’t matter so much whether or not they were “having” to drive to earn a check.

    If trucking companies pressured their truckers to falsify their logs to force them to drive in violation of the Hours of Service regulation, there could be a class action lawsuit and the carrier could be shut down by the FMCSA.

    4. There will most likely always be a segment of the trucking population that is willing to do what is being done now and log a lot of what should be On Duty Not Driving as either Off Duty or Sleeper Berth time.

    If there are two sets of truckers — those who refuse to fake their logs and those who are willing to fake them to earn cents per mile money — trucking companies may temporarily turn toward those who are willing to fake logs just to get the miles run. However, I think that this will eventually backfire as their “fakers” will also be more fatigued and more likely to be involved in accidents.

    5. If drivers demanded being paid by the hour — or by the hour plus some other measurement — instead of being paid by the mile, how long would it be before change started to happen?

    Is any Owner-Operator or Independent currently being paid on any basis other than by the mile? If so, what is the pay rate?

    Is being paid by the load any better than being paid by the mile?

    Are any trucking companies anywhere within the USA or Canada currently paying by the hour instead of by the mile? Which ones?

    Thanks for letting me share these thoughts. I welcome others’ feedback.

    Vicki Simons

  3. […] ELD’s DO NOT prevent truckers from working more than 70 hrs/wk […]

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