ELD mandate: Readers respond

| March 17, 2014

Though an electronic-logging-device mandate has been unveiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, leading into the release readers continued to air ideas on the best way to handle logs. 

S.E. (Susan) and Warren McCurdy

S.E. (Susan) and Warren McCurdy

S.E. McCurdy, one-half of a Landstar Ranger-leased owner-operator team, proposed an alternative system that she had experience with. It uses electronic time-stamped records placed at driver stopovers, delivery points and other locations along interstate routes.

“This is not welfare, nor socialism, nor Big Brother interfering,” she wrote in this piece on OverdriveOnline.com. “It is the system that was in use by one of the largest privately held corporations in Wisconsin, Gateway Foods. We know this because we worked for them before we became owner-operators.”

Among Overdrive readers, emotions run high on the very mention of a requirement for interstate haulers to utilize electronic logging devices for hours of service compliance. More than half of the respondents to this poll, conducted in the weeks prior to the ELD mandate's release,  showed a strong preference for another line or work or retirement over use of the devices. Running intrastate, assuming states didn't adopt the federal rule (unlikely in most), to avoid using the devices was the second-most commonly chosen poll result.

Among Overdrive readers, emotions run high on the very mention of a requirement for interstate haulers to utilize electronic logging devices for hours of service compliance. More than half of the respondents to this poll, conducted in the weeks prior to the ELD mandate’s release, showed a strong preference for another line or work or retirement over use of the devices. Running intrastate, assuming states didn’t adopt the federal rule (unlikely in most), to avoid using the devices was the second-most commonly chosen poll result.

The idea struck a chord with readers. They particularly liked McCurdy’s justification for an alternative to the truck-tied electronic logging devices currently on the market, which with some variations are the kinds of devices that would be mandated by the new rule. EOBRs/ELDs are “forcing drivers to bear the financial burden of and accountability to the unreasonable and constantly changing and contradictory standards placed upon them by nondriving rulemakers,” McCurdy wrote. “EOBRs are being put in the wrong places. The devices should be placed at all the shippers and receivers in the country rather than in the trucks.”

When deployed this way, “each time a driver shows up to load or unload, they bring in a time card, and the customer time-stamps it,” McCurdy wrote. It’s stamped again at departure. Customers “should be billed at $50 an hour for the driver’s time spent at their business. Roadside inspection sites, toll booths, construction zones and inefficient fueling stations should also have to time-stamp a driver’s time card and be billed for delays in their areas. Dispatchers, too, have an accountability role in driver efficiency and fatigue. When a driver calls in for a load, the dispatcher should record the time between the call and the dispatch and pay the driver accordingly for sitting.”

Related

FLSA reform, parking, detention: MCSAC prioritizes reauthorization recommendations

Reforming employee-driver compensation by removing the FLSA overtime exemption was among top recommendations, likewise expanding truck-parking availability, sleep apnea, further New Entrant attention and more.

While such an idea may sound unreasonable to those in other parts of the industry, there is at least some appetite for increasing safety-regulatory authority. At the February meeting of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, made up of diverse representatives advising the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on safety policy, boosting such authority and enforcing an as-yet-unspecified restriction on driver detention were top priorities. The ideas were among items the committee recommended FMCSA take to Congress to approve in the next highway bill.

MORE READER RESPONSE, following the mandate’s announcement 
Del Ray Johnson: ”Few drivers think or talk about the money [which is the real issue]. If they say ELD we babble about it, if they say Mexican truckers we babble about that. If they say brake inspections on self-adjusting slack adjusters we babble about that, too, instead of “Hey man — you aren’t paying me so I do not care and I am going to park your truck! Like I said, ELDs in trucks: Great we can do it July 1st because I ain’t using paper logs to run 90 hours a week anyway.”

Scott T. Nixon: “The independent owner-operator derives no benefit from any of [a typical e-log with fleet-management capabilities] since he/she is already in the cab of the truck and can already monitor his/her truck from behind the steering wheel. He/she has no fleet to monitor and no need to communicate with dispatch. The result is a competitive advantage for the larger fleets over the single owner-operator resulting from this ELD mandate, something the federal government should not be doing as the Justice Department should be enhancing competition, not inhibiting it.” 

Chris Thomas: “I’m going to go turn wrenches myself once the logs come into play, work my ass off, still make bank, still play with trucks.” 

Terry Gunderson: ”Laws should be for everyone… If you pass a law regulating a motor vehicle, then all motor vehicles are to be subjected to the same law. Cars not able to be used after 14 hours since first daily startup without a consecutive 10-hour break and sitting at work doesn’t count. Try getting that one into law.

The detention issue was front and center throughout the meeting’s first discussion day. MCSAC member Danny Schnautz of Texas-based Clark Freight Lines hammered away on the need for shippers and receivers to come under federal safety-regulatory purview, putting forward ideas to impose a requirement that drivers and carriers alike be paid for time detained. 

Said MCSAC chair Stephen Owings, “That whole concept should be expanded to require that the whole chain of responsibility is on the hook financially and in every other way for doing anything to encourage dangerous behavior.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s initial statement on the issue also hammered on issues it considers of vastly more safety benefit than a mandate for ELDs, which it has long opposed:

Congress and the courts have set the standard of requirements high for FMCSA [in MAP-21 and elsewhere]. The agency must address the serious safety issue of how EOBRs are used to harass and coerce truck drivers into continuing to drive regardless of driving conditions, such as bad weather, congested traffic or simply if the driver is too tired to drive. Plus, there is no known device that is capable of automatically recording a driver’s duty status throughout a work day, not just when they are driving, and this is also a requirement from Congress. We will examine the proposal in detail to see how the agency has attempted to meet these requirements, especially considering that an important study on the harassment issue is still listed as “ongoing” on the FMCSA website.

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Does the EOBR mandate have another problem?

Some believe the electronic on-board recorder mandate written in this year's highway bill could well be impossible to achieve, given the legislation's language defining the ...

Further, the issue of cost to truckers and what specific technical requirements are called for, especially when FMCSA has yet to show any direct safety benefit between ELD/EOBR use and reduced crashes, will be a critical focus of our review of the proposal. This is the first stage in the regulatory process for the agency’s latest attempt to craft a rule on this topic, and OOIDA and small business truckers will certainly be weighing in and providing comments.”

In the weeks before the ELD mandate rule’s release, Overdrive asked readers what their response to such a rule would be. Results of the poll, along with further reader response via Facebook and here at OverdriveOnline.com, follow. 

Rob Singhisen: Retire. I’m fed up with government regulations anyway. Trucking is not a crime – I’m tired of all the harassment.

Lawrence Lamson: I don’t know what people complain about [so much with] e-logs. I was skeptical, but once I went with a company that runs it and learned the tricks to it, there’s not one load that came across that screen I had to reject because of lack of hours. You get accounted by the minute, not by 15-minute increments. I still get 3,000-3,300 miles weekly out of a 65-mph truck.

Rene Barboza: I don’t run them as a local driver, and if they ever mandate them for local drivers, I’ll quit! It’s already the reason why I refuse to run OTR. Carriers are taking the money right out of drivers’ hands with this garbage! E-logs equal more time sitting. More time sitting means less time running, which equals a lot less revenue for the truck and the driver.

Related

Logging device mandate could come in 2016, outlines hardware spec’s, harassment provisions

The rule addresses driver harassment protections, hardware specifications and hours of service-related supporting documents.

Chris Dodds: Never in my truck. I drive it, I own it, I paid for it.

Todd Ramey: I’m on e-logs (small company driver) and don’t have a problem with them, and I still get 3,000 miles a week. What I do have a problem with is mandating them for all trucks. Let the companies put them in if they want. But there are, for the most part, good law-abiding owner-operators out here. Don’t punish them by forcing them to put them in. Punish the bad apples who continually have multiple log violations.

Related

Logging device mandate could come in 2016, outlines hardware spec’s, harassment provisions

The rule addresses driver harassment protections, hardware specifications and hours of service-related supporting documents.

Ron Spencer: My wife and I run team [from] Seattle to the Carolinas, but the truck sits every night for at least eight hours. I’m not worried about e-logs one bit until it can report who was actually behind the wheel at any certain time. Another toy for my entertainment.

Shawn McConniel: I’ll put them in when they pay for it. 

While OverdriveOnline.com strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions, it does not welcome comments reflecting racism, vulgarity or spam. Violations of this policy can be grounds for removal of a comment or banning a user from the comments system.

  • vince

    I agree john, I live a very personal life, and 100% against any intrusion. ANY! but they do have ways of putting small business out of business. you and I know this industry doesn’t stick together. half of my trucks are on EL, thru comdata system, and I sort of like it. you’ll never have to do a fuel tax return again 36 bucks a quarter per truck they do it ,and I never worry about sloppy books . I didn’t like it at first but after 3 years with half the fleet on them, I really don’t want to do the figuring of fuel tax on the other half a fleet, it makes you very lazy shall I say . and you state auditor can go pound sand, because he cant beat a system that’s bigger than the IFTA office he works for . just my opinion.

  • Wendell

    I am sure I will catch flack, But please write tour congressmen and senator’s. With enough letter’s they may have to rethink the ELD mandate.

  • BIGRED

    I believe if the drivers who support the dang e-logs realized that they also take away from their pay, they might not be so quick to support them. I don`t think any of the big company Steering Wheel turners understand that sitting in a parking lot at least 3 days a week does not get them now or will ever get them any higher wage. You have to pick up and deliver freight to even start to get paid, less will never equal more in this business….UNDERSTAND

  • mousekiller

    We already have more regs on us as truckers than air line pilots do. .
    Want to protect the public? educate the 4 wheelers and mandate the
    violators to a E logs type program to prove they have improved. Drunks
    get to have a breath activated ignition in their cars. Lets face it. It
    matters not what we believe or know,. the government is not going to
    punish any voter especially the ones that vote several times with a
    penalty for being stupid behind the wheel and for causing 85% of car
    truck accidents. .

  • mousekiller

    The drivers you need to worry about are not just Mexican nor from south of the border. They are the illegal Russians, Serbians, Lithuanians and those from other eastern countries also that are illegals among us. You do not care because you don’t see them and of course millions of them are here.. They are white and blend in. Not just Spanish speaking drivers.

  • mousekiller

    As long as you don’t pay for it your ok with it.? What doe who pays for it have to do with it being an ankle bracelet to monitor you and your driving actions. Just a little heads up. Suppose you have a hard braking situation. Why is immaterial. The company will know seconds after it happens. You can be fired or your lease canceled just for that. The EOBR will monitor a lot more than just your hours.

  • mousekiller

    If you are leased to a carrier they DO have control over your truck. Read your contract.

  • vince

    I’m aware of that. it monitors the speed also. half my trucks have them for almost three years now . Drivers don’t like them, mine are comdata and also do the fuel tax and pay it and bill me later, no audits, no paperwork, it all make my job worry free.
    I’m not going to fire anyone over a hard brake situation, it happens. just because I own the company doesn’t mean my collar went white. one problem today with corporate trucking is no one in control has ever driven a semi. sort of like an army general that was never a solider

  • Terry Dee Robinson

    I’m not going on a white house web page to sign any petition. Why don’t we just sign our own petition and send it in? Don’t we have a safer place to go with our grievance?

  • Jon B. Quick

    Bob,

    I don’t fly 200 or 300 people around the country. I My truck is not flying at 35,000 feet loaded with thousands of gallons of jet fuel. Your comparison of pilots and truck drivers is absurd. I’m a pilot and there is no mandate for electronic logs for me.

    Why not just throw the log book out the window. Let trucks run daylight hours only, no weekends and no holidays. This would make enforcement easier. If you are on the road after dark or on weekends or holidays you are in violation.

    Think of what this would save the industry. Scale workers would only have to work half the time. Carriers would not have to spend thousands on EDR’s. This is the way the over sized truckers have to run. Just think you could be home with your family or be off on weekends and holidays just like normal people. Let’s see what a 40 hour week is like and let the shippers and receivers bear the brunt of this HOS action.

  • Jon B. Quick

    Why not just throw the log book out the window. Let trucks run
    daylight hours only, no weekends and no holidays. This would make
    enforcement easier. If you are on the road after dark or on weekends or
    holidays you are in violation.

    Think of what this would save the industry. Scale workers would only
    have to work half the time. Carriers would not have to spend thousands
    on EDR’s. This is the way the over sized truckers have to run. Just
    think you could be home with your family or be off on weekends and
    holidays just like normal people. Let’s see what a 40 hour week is like
    and let the shippers and receivers bear the brunt of this HOS action.

  • http://thedotdoctor.com/ Andrea Sitler PhD DsC

    The cost of the ELD is minimal. We all expected them to be expensive but they are not. The Keller ones are very intuitive. They can handle a variety of rule sets and work off a smart phone to further reduce costs.

    Driver compensation has been an age old fight. Pay a driver salary and that ends all the arguments over detention time by shippers, receivers and dispatch. Drivers know what they will make each week and budget just like anyone else instead of wondering each week what can be achieved by running crazy. Salary puts the burden back on the company to provide runs on a working time schedule. ELDs provide drivers the proof to say NO.

    It is going to take a change in mindset across the industry. ELDs can work. First companies need to step up and pay a driver properly. If that had happened; the need to run over hours would never have been an issue to begin with. Look at the companies that do pay hourly or salary. They rarely face these issues at present. It can be done. We just need to move from mileage pay.

  • rich

    Dear Anne Ferro . No if , ands , or buts, Hurried trucking is NOT safer trucking .

  • treesaver

    you go jo jo

  • treesaver

    you said it all…. they have a duty to protect all the public drivers including truck drivers ….. so make these rules aplly to all drivers and these devices in all vehichles inclding those of the politicians,doctors attorneys airline pilots,wall mart employees,taget employees,well hopefully you get the picture ’cause we need protection from them much more than they from us

  • treesaver

    I personally do not see eld as benefitting us in any way shape form or fashion,hourly or salary wow how communistic is that? All truck drivers get the same pay,yes sir eliminate competition,destroy the desire to have a better lifestyle,while you are at it why not just set up a comune,yeah everyone bring all your earnings to the head of the comune and let them allocat to each member sure that would work wouldn’t it?
    Better wake up lady this isn’t about earnings or standards of life it is about control of us by our politicians, once the trucking industry is “FULLY CONTROLLED” Guess who will be next? if you said the general public then you get five stars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    oh yeah you also become a politician!!!!!!!!!!

  • treesaver

    keep on killing them thar mouses man good job

  • treesaver

    sure that would work except the only person whjo sees them is the filing secretary,,, yup the one who files file 13

  • treesaver

    amen sister

  • treesaver

    that day rapidly approaching girl

  • treesaver

    EXACTLY

  • treesaver

    why would you lease to begin with?

  • treesaver

    don’t bet on that next to your last statement man big brother gov’t can do anything they want to and they are now proving it yet again!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • treesaver

    tes but just think of the long lined to those time/date stamps at already slow truckstops,rest areas etc

  • treesaver

    sure then the non owner driver blasts out to the interstate abd attemps to run 80 mph so they can make the same money in less time,nope don’t think so

  • treesaver

    say good bye to the mehicans and hello to the towel heads and the taliban who undoubtedly will use a truck to blow up thei next target say maybe the capitol bldg it seems that I see about 10 towel heads to one mexican and they say nothing ( hear no evil speak no evil do no evil) yeah right

  • jojo

    I was so worked up reading about this box I actually misread this paragraph.

    For every 24-hour period the driver is on duty, carriers must maintain no more than 10 supporting documents from either of these categories (1) bills of lading, itineraries, schedules or other documents that show trip origin and destination, (2) dispatch records, trip records or similar documents (3)
    expense receipts, (4) electronic mobile communication records sent through fleet management systems or (5) payroll records, settlement sheets or similar documents that show what and how a driver was paid.

    Just caught my mistake yesterday.

  • bigred

    If the big companies did not have drop/hook capabilities and afford to move a bobtail 500 miles to transfer loads they would scream bloody murder and go bankrupt with all of us that are forced to use these.

  • http://thedotdoctor.com/ Andrea Sitler PhD DsC

    Communism or Socialism is the last thing I desire. It is just I see the benefit of these devices as have many drivers and companies. It takes team work a dispatch team that know who to dispatch by HOS not the way too many of them do it today.

    I fail to understand the privacy issue arguement. Unless you are doing something you should not do with someone else’s equipment; there should be no issue. You are already tracked so you do not run out of route or steal the truck by a GPS system at most companies. This is no different. We are not talking about dashboard cameras. Now those that point at the driver, I do have an issue with.

    As for my political aspirations; I have held them since a child. One day maybe I will be a politician.