EOBR session planned

| February 22, 2012

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has scheduled a listening session on electronic onboard recorders and driver harassment for the trucking show in March in Louisville, Ky.

The EOBR is scheduled for Friday, March 23, from 10 a.m. to noon and 2-4 p.m. or as long as comments are to be made, an FMCSA spokesperson said. The session will be in the South Wing Conference Room C101 of the Kentucky Exposition Center.

Additional EOBR listening sessions are being planned, the spokesperson said.

  • F. McHenry

    Are EOBRs about safety? No! Are EOBRs necessary for compliance? No! Are EOBRs a invasion of privacy? Yes! Do EOBRs enable the harassment of drivers? Yes! EOBRs are not about safety! EOBRs are about productivity control. Just look at who’s pushing em. Beside the FMCSA large motor carriers are. The American Trucking Association(ATA), the lobby arm of large trucking companies, is colluding with the FMCSA to get EOBRs, and sleep apnea testing too, mandated across the trucking spectrum. The ATA is literally sponsoring studies hoping to find a magic bullet that will legitimize the EOBR proposal. Large trucking companies see EOBRs as a means of exerting a kind of control on the productive capacity of all industry players. Growth and acquisition of market share through production control is their method of choice. Corporate trucking companies see a three fold benefit with EOBRs. First they think EOBRs will level the playing field by making sure smaller companies and one truck, one owner shops behave themselves; control the competition. Second EOBRs align drivers of big companies to fit the logistical operational model of their JIT freight. JIT freight(just in time freight), is freight that results from alliances formed by corporate trucking companies and their customers, that typically require expedited service. Third and most importantly, big trucking companies want to control their own company drivers by EOBRs. They see EOBRs as tool and means to micro manage a drivers log book and maximize a drivers productive capacity. OOIDA has already indicated that a EOBR can readily be used to push drivers when a driver stops to rest when hours are available to continue to drive. This should be quite obvious to any casual observer, but as one company driver Jiles indicated, it is much worse than that. Here is the exchange he had with his dispatcher by ph: disp; “why are you out of hrs,” “you’ve only run 2,000miles for the week?” Jiles; “I had a lot of pickups & stops on a couple of loads.” Dual; “I see you’re logging line 4 when you’re delivering.” Jiles; “I logged it like I did it.” Dual; stay out of line 4.” “When the truck stops log off-duty, I don’t care what you’re doing!!” “If you continue to use line 4 on your log we’ll route you to the yard for a log class.” “If that doesn’t work you’ll be terminated!” “You need to treat this like it’s your business.” “We’re here to make money!” “If you don’t understand that, then maybe you’re in the wrong line of work and trucking is not for you!!” As you can see from the exchange, the EOBR allowed the dispatcher to see Jiles’ log and enabled the dispatcher to coerce him to cheat!! WOW and they were suppose to be doing the opposite!! This happens because EOBRs tend to validate and create a sense that only driving counts as work. But driving truck involves so much more: loading, unloading, inspecting trk&trl, scaling loads in-cab administrative support work like filling out paper trip sheets and scanning them with BOLs, in-cab safety courses in computers Qualcomms or Driver Techs, waiting in detention of the trk for pm srvcs or repairs, chaining when the weather demands, fueling, sweeping trls, washing out reefers, and the list can go on. EOBRs can’t account for any of the above. To make matters worse and exacerbate this problem of extra-driving work and loving line 4, the ATA is trying to get the FMCSA to not require RODS(record of duty status) for audits. The reason is clear. It is RODS that show on-duty activity. RODS are all of the aforementioned work listed above. It is by this paper trail that a driver can and should prove he or she is working beside driving. And a driver must show this activity in line 4 regardless of whether or not a driver is being paid for it. Not using line 4 is what leads to a driver being up around the clock and not sleeping! As for whether EOBRs are necessary for compliance? To that I say nonsense!! I’ve already shown that EOBRs cannot account for all activity and actually open the door for cheating, and cheating by coercion I should add. But to the point about driving hrs and compliance, paper logs work just fine. Consider this: under our current system if a driver leaves Wa drives to Ca then Tx up to In the to Pa the total aggregate miles would still have to be accounted for on any audit. RODS would show fuel stops and any other paper trail left that would have to match the log. Furthermore, it is becoming more common that scale crossings at POEs and other enroute weigh stations time stamp a trucks scale crossing. This together with RODS makes any tampering with line 3 on a paper log virtually pointless. To anyone that thinks otherwise, I suggested that person attempt to cheat on their logs while traveling from N. Calif to N. Washington state along the I5 corridor and see what happens. You’ll find yourself out of service faster than you can say Jack Robinson. It should be quite clear what is really driving the proposed EOBR. As for the privacy issue; think you’d like wearing a ankle braclet? I’ll save that and sleep apnea for another day…

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