By: Allen Smith
Anne Ferro, Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), has made the agency’s commitment to the EOBR rulemaking very clear by stating, “It is definitely on the way.” Professional truck drivers who oppose any such mandate are now faced with the reality that, like or not, EOBRs may be coming.
A question today for drivers is which EOBR company would you rather be associated with: a company that is focused on the benefits of the motor carrier only, or a company that is supportive of the carrier and driver and who actually makes the effort to listen to the concerns of those drivers?
Opponents of the EOBR mandate can continue to fight against its implementation, but if it is to become a rule, as it appears it may, drivers must have a plan B in place; that plan is to align themselves with the best possible alternative to yet another industry regulation.
A majority of professional truckers remain concerned with electronic on-board recorder issues such as driver harassment, hours of service data integrity and detention time pay. If there is no technology available that can be installed within the EOBRs that can prevent such issues, then further FMCSA regulations must be mandated to ensure driver protection.
XRS Corporation, a compliance, performance and fleet optimization company, recently began its move away from EOBRs and believes that the days of expensive, hard-wired, on-board installations such as the EOBRs are over and the future of fleet optimization technology is mobile.
In a recent Examiner article, Making a case for trucking industry EOBR mandate, XRS responded to some of the driver concerns that were included in the article, in their blog post: Do EOBRs Benefit Truckers?
- EOBRs will not guarantee that drivers will receive retention time pay
“That could very well be the case. However, CSA is changing the way trucking businesses must operate. Now, CSA scores are easily accessible to shippers, insurance companies and prospective drivers for review. In order to remain competitive in the industry, carriers must maintain strong CSA scores—and that means attracting and retaining drivers with excellent safety records. In a blog post we shared this spring, we illustrated a number of ways carriers can improve their driver retention programs. One of those suggestions involved paying drivers for time lost at shippers’ docks. With the data to support those extra charges, carriers have the ability to bill for the time and compensate their drivers accordingly. Carriers would be wise to reward the drivers that help them maintain strong CSA scores. If they feel under-appreciated, they may look for work elsewhere.”
- Carriers can edit a trucker’s e-logs, remove legal hours and push tired drivers to keep on driving
“We contend that this is not an issue of electronic logging technology, but of management. A carrier that pushes its drivers to run illegally will do so regardless of whether or not their drivers are running on EOBRs; it all comes down to their commitment to safety. We’d also like to reiterate that a carrier can’t unilaterally alter a driver’s hours without the driver’s knowledge. If a log is edited, the trucker must review the changes and determine if their e-log is true and accurate. If it isn’t, the driver should not accept the changes. This is completely within their control, just as refusing a load is when they’re tired.”
As questions, concerns and answers are freely given by drivers and other industry professionals, the answers given usually lead to more questions and concerns. Should a driver deny the carrier’s change in his or her electronic logging records, they could easily find themselves removed from the carrier’s employment. The real-word reality of truck driving has proven many times over, that drivers who refuse to run under fatigue or any other such CSA basic, often find themselves unemployed.
However, XRS Corporation is showing a supportive concern for all of their customers, carriers and drivers, placing a high regard for safety-commitment on both parties. Without commitment to safety and the use of EOBRs or in the case of XRS, the mobile technology platform, by the motor carrier and driver, these problem issues will continue or even increase.
Christian Schenk, vice president of market development and product marketing and Megan Derkey, marketing communications manager for XRS Corporation joined us as guests on the Truth About Trucking “LIVE” talk radio program on Thursday, November 15th, 2013 for: Replacing EOBRs with Mobile Fleet Optimization.
Discussion included their newest mobile technology, the future of electronic on-board recorders and they anwered the tough questions of most concern by the professional trucker.