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Overdrive Extra

Max Heine

E-logging: What’s trackable is going to get tracked

| April 08, 2014

During last month’s annual meeting of the Truckload Carriers Association, about 100 companies exhibited their wares – mostly of the soft, not hard, kind. They hawked software that tracks equipment, analyzes data and does other impressive feats, all in the name of helping fleets make more money.

That’s why, even if we lived in an alternate universe where hours of service did not exist, fleets eventually would monitor drivers’ locations and hours. Not just because it’s doable, but because it’s data that could improve efficiencies.

The electronic logging mandate could take effect in the second half of 2016.

The electronic logging mandate could take effect in the second half of 2016.

So when it comes to the proposed electronic logging device mandate, we’re long past the point of inevitability. Had it not been for the holdup of the driver harassment issue four years ago, we’d be seeing implementation much sooner than what now looks like late 2016.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has made a reasonable attempt to mitigate potential harassment by adding eight provisions to deter it. There’s always some way to skirt protections, but it’s doubtful the holes are big enough for the rule to get delayed again for that reason.

As fleet after fleet has gone to electronic logging, the most common refrain from drivers is that it’s been a surprisingly welcome change. That’s because it really can protect drivers from coercion to violate hours.

Executives at TCA said it’s the smaller fleets, unwilling to abide by legal hours or unable to afford the new systems, that are most resistant. “If you’re running legal, there’s no legitimate objection,” said Tom Kretsinger, Jr., president of American Central Transport and immediate past chairman of TCA. “It’s just a cost.”

The opportunity for unscrupulous fleets to run illegally has always been more than a safety problem. Pushing drivers to run over hours has been one way for those fleets to steal business by under-bidding their rule-abiding competitors. Once the new rule blunts this edge, that could, ideally, make for slightly better rates once fleets don’t face competitors willing to run for artificially low rates.

I spoke with an owner-operator at the Mid-America Trucking Show who was amazed, having recently switched to Landstar Systems, that his net income is strong enough to relieve the pressure he’d felt to run almost constantly at a former fleet. And, by the way, that’s been while using e-logging, required of all new Landstar owner-operators.

It can take some getting used to for older drivers, but it’s no roadblock to earning good money. And with CSA hovering so closely, a tool that keeps you clean on hours can be quite helpful.

  • Elizabeth Nut’nbutTrouble Aud

    Can’t read half the article because of the TaxAct add on the left side of the screen.

  • Wes

    No legitimate resistance my a$%! My truck is MY PRIVATE PROPERTY! Where it is is none of the government’s business, see the 4th amendment to the constitution!

  • Realistic

    That is totally untrue we run legal and have always gotten great rates. Having the government control our beds and bed time is inconceivable This has nothing directly connected to sAfty in fact just the opposite A person should go to bed when they are tired and need and can sleep. Run when they are rested and capable The gov tells you when to go to bed but you are not sleepy at all now your up with no place to go. Now you are told when you have to go and drive now hour tired. Really safty they should leave something’s to the pro’s doing the job not pencil pushers that go home when they feel like and sleep when they want to

  • art

    I agree with Wemake me put something in my vehicle that I don’t want nor do I need on top of that me having to pay for it and add it maintenance cost to its

  • art

    all it really comes down to isbeing able to make more money I’m parking is going to get even harder

  • eric

    I have my own authority and have never used e – logs . My concern is I do not drive from truckstop to truckstop . I have a dedicated customer on a pretty regularly route . I like to drop my trailer and go to the gym . Get a good workout and a shower . Or go to a real restaurant for dinner . Ive always logged it off duty . My time my ride . It doesn’t stop my 14 clock . My biggest concern is Friday night . I drop my trailer at my customers dock and bobtail home which is 60 miles away . If over my 11 on my way home what do you think I’m going to do . Being a one truck owner with no accidents no tickets no violation of any kind with over 20 years on the road . With a big zero for a csa score .Why are we all held to the same standard . I’m a successful business owner, why should I be held to the same standards as someone new to the industry . Then the cost of a e- log and upkeep . And what do I do with that information ?

  • moos

    We have to understand that small businesses and owner operators going to be out of business. Because we can keep those who have a lot of money like this big business . For example cost of the e log big business and owner operators. And know for a fact that this big fleet management have a lot more people behind the table fixing mistakes. Think about if something is going wrong in this big business what are they doing? They’re going to cry for a money out . And government going to halp them no matter what just so this . C. E . O have money to throw out the window. And don’t forget only of you are big gets pieces of pies . Don’t forget taxpayers money have to spend right way

  • Kendall Oakleaf

    That is exactly the way I feel just some more electronic BS they want you to buy and continuously pay for service. They should be more concerned about where our government is spending our money, build a Electronic recorder that tracks government spending and see who really needs to regulated.

  • ralph

    Funny thing is that I get better rates than most of the big companies do even tho I run loose leaf logs. My freight gets to the customer on time and I don’t run out of hrs 15 minutes away from a shipper or receiver! The infrastructure of the country with regards to parking areas for all these trucks inconveniently running out of hours can not sustain the demand! We need less govt oversight not more! Also no govt handouts to any companies period!!!

  • Judy Buckner

    This was supposed to be my semi retirement to afford to travel and see the rest of the USA. We don’t even come close to getting too many hours and when we go to a state we want to see we take a few days off and see the sights. As far as I can tell it’s the huge fleets slashing everyone’s throats on rates. I won’t even touch half the crap they call good rates. They are the only ones that can afford to hire drivers with no experience because they are self insured. I know this because when we first started we were leased to one of their divisions and we couldn’t even afford to eat because of their “good rates”. Let them keep their electric logs they need them and apparently already have them. But until someone can prove the smaller fleets are causing the problems LEAVE US ALONE!!!! We haven’t spent over $100,000.00 to be told what to do!!!!!

  • Lace Lacey

    Amen!! If we know when we are tired and stop take a nap with these new rules I have found myself driving tired because of hours running out, not appointment times. I get to customer 4- 6 hrs early but I’m lucky not to be in a wreck BC I’m so tired. And the flip twiddling my thumbs for hours waiting on a box to tell me I can drive, then later I’m tired from not sleeping !! It’s totally changed the way I drive and I’ve noticed a change in my attention spand also!!!

  • Kntryboy

    Tell the goverment to leave us and our church ALONE and clean up there own back yard an stay the hell outta mine

  • Donald

    you are allowed to log off duty driving time with electronic logs.

  • billy


  • gemstoneprincess

    There is an option to drive under personal conveyance on e logs if you are not hooked to your trailer, running to do whatever it is we do when not working. It is, off duty not driving, on my system. Hopefully this answers the question.

  • gemstoneprincess

    I know I use to take great naps. Now I can’t, because the 14 hour rule messes me up.

  • tom

    This is about control. Industry after industry is being controlled by the government. We’ve let government take over our personal responsibilities so we don’t have to do anything for ourselves.

  • brad

    I have the same situation.My longest run is two hundread miles one way.I am home every weekend with my own customers.I run legal.I don’t want to be forced to buy an eld when its a waste of my hard earned money.I do this because I love it and if I had known I would be treated like a criminal that needs twenty four hour monitoring when I started back in ninety seven I would have considered doing something else.It doesn’t matter if it raises rates if you spend it back out in new mandates.Being treated like a new driver with no experience is not fair.I put up with a lot of crap from crappy companies to get where I am.

  • John Ryan

    Because your being stomped on by big brother and you need to submit and move out of the way. no more wildcaters will be allowed. Single and small trucking co. are being removed so UNCLE SAM can have more control.

  • John Ryan

    They have it’s called the federal funds report and if you request one from your rep. they will send you one. and you can see where your tax money goes

  • John Ryan

    The E-LOG will record on duty while the truck is moving hooked or not hooked. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

  • John Ryan

    mine would not

  • Cameron

    Clearly, the individual that wrote this piece has never driven a truck for a living.
    Clearly, the individual that wrote this piece is not concerned for the privacy rights of the driver.
    Clearly, the individual that wrote this piece is not concerned about the individual driver’s ability to earn an income.
    Clearly, the individual that wrote this piece is not concerned about safety.
    ELDs do not make us safer drivers. They do force us to be compliant. Compliant with rules that have only a tangential relationship to safety.
    ELDs do make large carriers money. Forcing ELDs on everybody makes large carriers more money because it puts small carriers at a severe disadvantage. Large carriers have a much greater chance of meeting the logistical demands of their customers even when unforeseen events occur because they have other options, like re-powering a load. The small carrier cannot re-power a load if a driver runs out of hours 2 hours away from his delivery. The large carrier can.
    Notice how the author of this ridiculously ignorant article really doesn’t say anything about how ELDs will improve safety?
    Nope, his concern(I would guess he makes his living in some way off large carriers) is all about economics. There is only a thin veil over his agenda, and it has nothing to do with THE ONLY REASON THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD EVEN THINK ABOUT ELDs=SAFETY!

  • DavidMac

    The federal government will still regulate the trucking industry, no matter how much angst is displayed by the rank and file. I can see the day when all vehicles (4-wheelers) will have a black box (colored orange) that records the previous 1 or 2 hours of driving to show speed, braking, location, etc. That should cut down on the lawsuits.

  • John Ryan

    We all know from experience a human can become fatigued at any time and it’s best many times to just pull over and rest a bit. NOT SO NOW: now we must do 11hrs work in a 14 hr span if you become fatigued you must keep driving to get the time in you need with in your now 14hr day. Can’t anyone see how dangerous that is? When I went back out just to try the E-LOG I found that I could not come close to running the miles that I used to. back when I drove when I become fatigued I pulled over and rest. That’s always been my rule. My life is worth more than the load. B

  • John Ryan

    Sorry Ralph but Gov. incentives for the big boys have always been a part of trucking. It’s just another way of killing any independence of the common man.

  • John Ryan

    What everyone seems to be missing is Gov. intention is to cause you to fail and to move the wildcats and O/O into co drivers. In that way Gov. can have total control.

  • John Ryan

    Finally some who understands

  • Kendall Oakleaf

    That’s right but the Federal Funds report is like a loose leaf logbook they only write down what they want you to know so actually anything can be fabricated on a pc of paper.

  • Sarah

    They have an off duty driving option for those scenarios. As long as you don’t have a trailer you are good.

  • Sarah

    Too bad your truck runs on those PUBLIC roads with all the other public citizens….

  • Mind Games

    I drove for Dart (Probably a sponsor of the E-Log mandate given the fact the guy running the show over there was pushing for dropping speeds on all trucks) and it was the most nit picked thing I had ever dealt with enough to make a man wanna just go find the people pushing for the crap and beat em down in the middle of the street! Change of duty even just to PEE! Pick up hunt and peck Change of duty pick it hunt and peck Change of duty hange of duty Change of duty pick it up hunt and peck Change of duty pick it up hunt and peck!!! I got tired of it made me so sick had I been a company driver I would have filed for workman’s comp!!!
    When you drop and hook its the worst enemy to have in your truck and trust me you WILL FIND another company to work for that has nothing but long distance miles.
    Speaking of take’n a leak get you will do that as you ride down the road because you will get sick and tired of that keyboard real quick!
    People we have the power to cut these large carriers down to size all you guy need to do is throw the keys back at em make a few small sacrifices such as medical and 401-K and let them drown in their own vomit.
    I am seeking out nothing but little guys to work for and yep they are a tad bit hard to find but I feel like a true patriot for doing so and if any of you wish to join me on the battlefield come on let’s go there is plenty of room and a hell of a lot of carriers to defeat
    These boxes along with the current laws and the current corrupt two party system will not make anything safer in fact due to their corruption it will make things worse just do your own study in your spare time or have your kids do it while you are on the road, Hey a classroom project would be nice! That way you could show the members of congress who’s smarter that an 8th grade!
    They will be hampered by many due again to corruption but it can be done and then as a follow up to that study a study that could really hit home is to follow the money and pull all their pants down!
    You took money from the trucking industry to get these unsafe laws passed YOU GOT TO GO!!!
    I hate these people so much I wish that the money system would collapse and take them with it!!!

  • Wes

    So what? by that logic we should put the same device in your car. Using private property on a public roadway (car OR truck) does not negate private property rights. Nor does it give the public or the government an ownership right in said private property.

  • PerdidoKing

    Eric, in the situation’s you presented, you would be able to complete each of these legally by using line 5 “Off-Duty Driving” with a comment line entry of “Personal Conveyance”.

  • Ralph

    Thank God I’m short haul and will not be mandated for this. Yet. But I’m sure it will come one day.

  • Rey Moreno

    Ya next they’ll have us wearing mind reading helmuts with built in printers. So when you think of breaking the law, a ticket will automatically print your citation. The cheating trucker always finds a way around the rule, because he jams a paperclip into the print-roll and stops feed. “It did’nt Print,” the driver exclaims with his hands raised.

  • Rey Moreno

    You stick your finger up your ass and suck on your thumb with your other hand cause your a little baby and Momma FMCSA is here to take care of you now.

  • Rey Moreno

    FMCSA—-“We Stand behind our shit!”

  • Rey Moreno

    And to think! All this time I have been flushing my turds…I could have been contributing for decades!

  • Sean

    That’s exactly what these big companies think. These big companies think that everyone is going to come work for them, but they are going to be in for a surprise. That’s why all of them are in favor for elogs, as a owner operator the name of the game is to hustle. Therefore it looks like us owner operators got two years left to hustle before implementation of this design plan.

  • J & S Karis Trucking

    I agree we are owner operators no tickets no accidents our CSA is 0 but they will charge the owner operators to pay out of there pocket it all amounts to that lady in office needs to get in a truck and not just any truck a real one not swift, jb hunt nor schnieder. I am in agreement with u we like to stop at the gym eat a healthy meal not fast food something has to give yes we could strike and shut down but that would just let the bigger companies in even deeper.

  • @neriumsheri

    With Elogs you just go off duty PC and the 11/14 doesn’t count since you bobtail. The amount of miles doesn’t matter you get it set up for what you need. I live 200+ miles from our yard in DFW so I can off duty PC up to 300 miles

  • Sal

    I think we are all dumb asses for letting them dictate us!! We are the truck drivers/owners and if we stop then America stops remember we are in control not them. Let’s all shut down just for two days then we will see how they treat us!! Remember the legendary strike in Europe in the early 2000 and look where it got them they got what they want but our problem is that we are NOT united as the industrie and that is y they walk all over us tell us what to do when to drive/sleep etc!!!

  • Paul F. Meyers

    I’d like to see how the construction company I deliver to will like it when i’m outta hours in the middle of their jobsite. Or a crane is waiting and i’m outside on the pavement with 2 hours to wait until I can drive a half mile to unload on site. There are so many reasons these things will back up the economy it’s endless. I’m held up in a scale waiting for my elogs to reboot and that puts me an hour over my 14 to make the hour drive I planned to get to where I’m scheduled to unload at 8am. Now that whole jobsight is held because of these stupid things. I don’t think any of these ATA or other large carriers understand that not everyone delivers from dock to dock. What about real time loads???? These same folks told us Obamacare wouldn’t have any glitches either. What happens when these elogs freeze up and I’m stuck in a scale because some DOT guy says “no proof of hours? Ur OOS for 10” . Why do you suppose they voided the rules for propane haulers this winter?? Because they don’t work for real time freight!!!

  • Charles Griffith

    If you run line 5 (off duty driving) you are limited on how many miles you can run. If you are under a load you can’t drop the trailer and use line 5. More regs that they can shove up there a $$…..

  • Nick Tenace

    I’m not a fleet!!!! I have my own authority and do not want to be CORPORATIZED

  • nivk

    Idiot missing the point

  • serutcip1

    Having a trailer or not shouldn’t matter read my other post

  • serutcip1

    I have been for the last 2 years where have you all been? Out trucking instead of sticking with me ur fellow trucker and brother you make the grapes of your own wrath…. grapes of wrath great movie every trucker needs to watch

  • TruckerJohn

    Personal conveyence is supposed to be logged as “on duty”. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.