Overdrive Extra

Max Heine

A “corporate mouthpiece” responds

| March 25, 2011

A few readers have taken me to task for my March editorial. One, asking to cancel his subscription, notes “a corporate mouthpiece type of opinion in every issue, the latest being from Max Heine.”

I had argued that the proposed mandate for electronic onboard recorders could eventually put pressure to raise pay. Carriers that have been cheating on hours, assuming they even stay in business under the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, would need more trucks and drivers to do legally the same amount of hauling they’ve been doing illegally. More demand for drivers means higher pay.

The other reader, retired owner-operator H.J. Steele, in a letter to the editor, says my argument made him chuckle to himself. “I heard this same song and dance when the CDL came into being and again when having a Hazmat endorsement meant undergoing a background check and fingerprinting,” Steele writes. “It didn’t happen in either of those two examples and I don’t believe it will happen with the advent of EOBRs.”

We’ll never know for sure. There are many forces affecting driver pay, mostly to push it higher. But even the best industry economist would be stretching it to strictly attribute any part of a pay raise in the coming months to an EOBR mandate.

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