Channel 19

Todd Dills

Dear American people: ‘You are about to be tracked 24/7’

| March 09, 2013
Many owner-operators object to a vehicle-miles-traveled tax, for various reasons including privacy concerns.

Many owner-operators object to a vehicle-miles-traveled tax, for various reasons including privacy concerns.

Jason Haggard, an owner-operator I’ve talked to in past about his custom-spreadsheet solution in lieu of purchase of an owner-operator software package, had this to say to the U.S. public upon hearing news of talk of a vehicle-miles-traveled/usage tax to replace or supplement fuels taxes rearing its head in the House of Representatives: “This requires mandatory GPS tracking devices in all vehicles,” Haggard noted, commenting on our Facebook page (unless, of course, we want to create all-toll highway infrastructure, big long shot). “Everyone said it would never happen but here we are. Wake up America: you are about to be tracked 24/7 and you get to pay for this ‘service.'”

He’s got a point, for sure, but if the breathless headline over results from a recent insurance-related poll of consumers — that proverbial “America,” no doubt, though only a slight 500 members of it — is correct, it could be falling on deaf ears. Ring the gongs, folks: survey finds many drivers would welcome Big Brother

“A new survey by finds drivers would be willing to trade a lot of their privacy in return for a discount on their car insurance rates.”

Look closely, though, and that “many” and “a lot” of drivers turns out to be, well, not so many. The only technology that a majority of respondents said they would willingly install in exchange for an insurance discount was a breathalyzer — and only 64 percent would even do that. Other results are as follows:

  • 39% would let an insurance company install a data-monitoring device.
  • 37% would install a cellphone disabling device.
  • 28% would let an insurance company limit their car’s speed.
  • 27% would severely restrict their driving miles.
  • 24% would severely restrict when they drive.
  • 20% would let an insurance company install an observation camera.

As notes, there are no discounts currently for breathalyzers, speed governors, in-car cameras or cellphone disabling devices in the consumer market — “but insurers are rapidly rolling out what are known as pay-as-you-drive plans, with substantial discounts for installing devices that monitor driving habits, the number of miles driven and the time of day the driver is on the road.”

As I’ve reported here, such plans may soon also be based on speed and road class where drivers are actually driving.

Setting aside the potential ancillary benefits to tracking such data for your own purposes, if such small minorities of consumers would go along with such intrusion to get back money, given a tax is what it is, ultimately Haggard is correct in suggesting what may ultimately prove to be a wide, broad-based backlash to any such attempt to move toward VMT as the standard for raising highway-infrastructure revenue.

Congress/regulators may have better luck, God forbid, selling it as a safety solution and limiting it to commercial operations — they’ve already got their EOBRs coming down the pike. Just think: complicated IFTA calculations as fatiguing, taking up drivers’ brain space and distracting them from from safe driving. It’s an epidemic! Oh lord…

  • martymarsh

    We are already being tracked with the use of computers and anything an insurance company gives you the will take back on your next policy. This has gotten so out of hand and everyone just puts up with it. To hell with the government, they are going to squeeze every dime out of you. How America can not see that the system is broken just baffles me.

  • ilovdieselsmoke

    I guess they will impound my truck the day that happens. NO, EOBRs in my life, no in cab cameras focased on me, I won’t be followed 24/7 by any government eletronic devices or those of any insurance company. It’ll be end of line for me. There’s enough government intrusion in our life now.. I won’t be purchasing any of the environmental tree-hugger so-called green engines either so I guess it will be retirement within the next few years or outlaw trucking again until captured. It’s high time for a revolution in this country. Our forefathers never anticipated America would return to the dark era that we are headed into. Next it will be implants within our body to locate citizens at any given moment of the day! This stinks of the socialist idiots running amuck in DC rather than the freedoms America was founded on. It’s sad that a very small percentage of the people who make up these rules for the majority don’t have to spend quality time working under the same rules to make their own living. The results of their rule making decisions would be very different……

  • Ghostrider96988

    I got out of trucking 2 years ago sold my truck and left. WHY, Many reasons but the one that put me over the edge ( I’m 51 at the time don’t do drugs but I do drink and never why I’m working) hair samples (drug test) I do not know what these people can and will do with my DNA. I’m thinking like you is this the frist step to injecting something into our bodies to state testing what can be put into our bodies that will work. I have got a messaged back from drivers that are willing to give up there DNA with no question ask.

  • Sharon Estes

    Oh most people do…they just don’t know where to turn, or what to do. We have to make a living. Big Brother is in all aspects of life these days.

  • JeepCollector91

    Sold my truck and gave up on trucking as well seeing that my truck was going to need so many modifications or even a re-power to meet modern emissions. That would kill my fuel economy and hurt my trucks reliability. I sold it before it became worthless. I miss my ’03 Freightliner but don’t miss the BS that has come around in the last couple years.


    The government can do whatever they want. They can implement devices to look at your butt while you are driving down the road. Then you can say poo-poo on them.

    But when they do, they might as well be ready to put their drivers on the road to fulfill an already abundant shortage of drivers as this industry is already evident of..

    I, for one, will be glad to take my truck/trailer home and plant flowers in her.

    I’m sure the truck will be happy to retire just as I will. They are both paid for, and it is almost time for me to hang up this saddle.

    Then I will say: Adios Amigos!!!

  • Dave Nichols

    it seems we already report the state mileages for the ifta fuel tax system. why would it be any different? gps is not needed although it does simplify the reporting process.

  • Owner Operator

    Feds want to kill already strugling industry, they dumb to realize that america stops when the truck stops and i 100% confident i will not let them install GPS on my truck if it will become a law i will definatly close my business… They should stop the log books, demolish weight stations than drivers will drive when they are strong and want to drive and im sure no driver will drive more than 600-700 miles a day anyway so QUIT SCREWING PEOPLE TRUCKER…

  • Owner Operator

    Last year i made 130k 55k went on fuel 9500 on Insurance 18k went on truck repairs 3k on prorates and oregon tax 5500k on lumpers and pallet exchange, 3500 on tolls 6k on food while im on trip so at the end i spent 100,500 brought home 29,500 as owner operator and on top they want me to buy a new Truck and new Reefer AND i forgot i paid about 2k for tickets and attoeney fees during the year… This has to stop. GOVERNMENT GOT NOTHING TO DO OTHER THAN SCREW TRUCKERS?

  • David S. McQueen

    It has become obvious(if it wasn’t already) that the Obama regime is bound and determined to control the private sector. It has already done that with health care and is attempting to do it with energy and transportation. IFTA isn’t enough? Good grief, does every motor vehicle in the USA need to be monitored 24-7? Why am I not surprised? I was screaming (not literally) in 2007 when Obama reared his ugly Marxist head. OF COURSE HE’S DOING THIS!! It’s what he is! And your friends and neighbors voted for this, so park your truck if you want to, but don’t whine about the government. America got the government it wanted (unfortunately!).

  • dotdoctor

    With GPS in the cell phone, we are already being tracked. Those of us with toll tags; another tracking device. Snapshot by Progressive is probably another one. EOBRs are definitely tracking you. It is their purpose.

    Add all the cameras (red light, ATM, personal and so on) and we are constantly tracked. Plus with social media and constant posting of we are here, we are there; we are tracking ourselves.

    Watch Person of Interest and just think about how that is actually playing out in our day to day life. Every cell phone out there is “capturing the human experience” (you have seen this commercial) and tracking us all as we do. If we have a pet that it chipped, more tracking.

    How many of us have trackers on our children’s cell phones? Well, if they in the car with us; we too are being tracked.

    Look at the new technology coming to Disney with the wrist bans. Cool and creepy all in one. It tracks you through the park to “personalize” your experience. You are welcomed by name at rides and told thank you for riding, #name when you exit. The in park cameras will capture your image to add to your photo package for those “extra pictures” and special moments all via the RFID tracker you are wearing on your wrist; which you can accessorize.

    Not just Big Brother, but Big Business is tracking us. How many of us have web ads coming at us that mirror our last search? This is already happening to some degree and must of us do not even realize it.

    I don’t want my car “fixed” in any way just like I don’t want to be told what size fence I can install or what color I can paint my front door. But there are those who do and will give into this way. Their longing to be “a part of the crowd” and to not stand out will further this path. Look at any of the futurist TV shows/movies; we are all being tracking, monitored and censored. I fear this is a future that will one day come to pass.

  • Jim Reul

    Why not just a Fuel Tax? Fuel use represents how many miles you drive and it would reward people for upgrading to more efficient vehicles. Plus there would be less funds lost in administration.

    I know why they don’t want to put everything on the Fuel Tax; it would make them more accountable because everybody would better be able to see how much Tax they are paying if its in one big bill. And also they could create more Gov’t jobs by creating another bureaucracy instead of spending the money directly on Roads.

  • Lenny Ladner

    This is just another increase in the size, cost, extending the reach and power of government.
    We need to have the House of Representatives cut off the money for this and all other programs.

  • J C P

    Yep now they will know exactly where to aim the drone if they decide they don’t like your politics or religiion or whatever. Actually it is really a bad idea all around. We talk about freedom in america but then they want to track our every move. Thats not a free country.

  • Todd Dills

    You are correct, Dave. VMT tax would be fairly easy to implement for commercial vehicles.

  • Shaggy

    Welcome to the New World Order. Read Revelation in your Bible. Get Right or Get Left Behind. Then you can take the mark of the beast, and if you think what they are proposing now is intrusive think about that.

  • Michael Ridley

    while I feel pretty much the same it really is the capitalist that have driven data mining so fast and far

  • Freeman

    Symptoms of enslavement – WYSIWYG. Start here: and Just keep in mind:

    “The greatest ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about.”

    “Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

    “He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already
    earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” ~ Albert Einstein

  • USMC 69-75

    Those are the same jacks that are willing to haul cheap freight. Been in this for 41 years. Equipment is paid for, and I’ll run as long as I can…..FREE and won’t haul cheap freight!

  • USMC 69-75

    Big Gov is not Capitalism……. I guess you welcome Socialism with open arms? Well open them up, here it comes!!!!!

  • USMC 69-75

    O/O…Well as long as you are willing to pay lumpers, you are willing to drink their Kool-aid!

    That is why I got out of van and reefer freight. Once I got my own authority….. I now pull flatbed in a 100 mile radious of home, no log book, IFTA, or IRP. Life is a lot easier. If I still pulled reefrer or van, I’d be telling them they have 2 hours to unload “THEIR” freight off “MY” truck or it’s going down the road! I have done it too, even with a flat bed! You have options! I don’t pay lumpers, or finger print freight for anybody. Been in this to long to play that game anymore, use to when I didn’t know better! 41 years trucking, 20 as a company and lease op, and 21 with my own authority,

    They are doing a lot more than just screwing Truckers…..they are screwing UP the whole country and we’re letting them! Where are the good old days, when drivers stuck together, we HAVE shut the country down in the past. I was in every shut down for the past 41 years, I was also in several LONG convoys 300 plus trucks that got attention. But as long as you have drivers willing to give up their freedoms, DNA, etc….and not be willing to shut the trucks down.Time to pay the piper!

  • USMC 69-75

    That’s right David! Wait till the average Joe starts getting billed for the miles traveled. ( gas tax will won’t be deductible either, double taxation….just like our fuel tax (IFTA), and 2290 (highway use tax) double taxation) If they don’t pay it, they won’t be able to start that new car in the garage with Onstar and whatever the other manufacturers use.
    It’s all coming, and coming faster and faster everyday!

  • USMC 69-75

    AMEN Shaggy!

  • USMC 69-75

    Jim, You pay a fuel tax, everytime you buy fuel. Then if you don’t buy enough, you pay at the end of the quarter….IFTA. Then you pay you IRP, and 2290 all highway use or unrepresented taxes! They are already talking of doing the same thing to Joe Schumckatelly, with the autos, now they have the technology to track auto miles and shut the cars off at will! So you will be getting it at home and on the road!!!! Can we spell fun…..V A S A L I N E

  • No Reform

    Good Decision…too much STRESS in this industry…the pay is crap too.

  • No Reform

    Amigos is all that willbe left out there soon….Speaky Spanny???

  • No Reform

    many of them would allow a Micro Chip installed in their body and 666 Branded on their foreheads….

  • Jack Davis Jr.

    Fuck the government. We the people need to go back United. The bigger trucking companies better open there eyes instead of trying to take all the freight. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.