FMCSA studying driver harassment potential of e-logs

| May 29, 2013

eobr electronic logThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration May 28 announced an Information Collection Request to study the issue of driver harassment relative to the use of electronic onboard recorders for use in its formation of an EOBR rule.

The agency says it will do in-depth interviews with carriers to determine “the extent to which [EOBRs] could be used by motor carriers or enforcement personnel to harass drivers or monitor drive productivity,” according to the agency’s entry in the Federal Register.

FMCSA says it will consider the results of its surveys before it issues a final EOBR rule. It had formerly issued a final rule in 2010, which was challenged in court and overturned based on concerns of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association that there were not enough checks in place to prevent driver harassment and coercion with the devices.

Public comment is being accepted for the information collection request, and comments must be sent by June 27 and can be made on the Federal Register website — Click here to see the article and comment.

  • martymarsh

    Drivers are already harassed with QUALCOMM’s and other computers, like making the computer beep when they know the driver is sleeping. You have some real low life people working for some low life trucking companies and this will be just another tool for them. If you really want to make things better for the trucking industry, make better harassment laws, the ones we have are a joke and only contribute to the harassment.

  • EF McHenry

    You’d think this was rocket science!! Come on folks, harassment is alive and well and it’s going on everyday out here! It’s just that FMCSA and large ATA carriers simply refused to recognize it! That’s why the surveys and questions continue as though they are unable or incapable of finding a problem!! The last thing they want to do is validate a issue that could drown the whole EOBR/ELD proposal.
    So let me lay out the situation:
    1)Harassment happens when motor carriers compel and or demand work without regard to human nature to include human needs and human capacity!
    2)It is also when a carrier treats the HOS rules as mandates to work instead of limits to work!! The later being the original intent of the regulation from days of old!
    3) It can also mean to pester and bother a driver like commentor martymarsh indicates concerning the onboard satelite tracking systems.
    4) It can also mean to compel or demand in stealth(by ph and or in person without leaving a paper or data trail) unsafe and unreasonable tasks that violate current rules&regs.
    a)primarily to instruct drivers to stay off of or out of line
    4 on a EOBR/ELD to conserve total hrs throughout
    the week so they can be dedicated to line 3
    instead!
    These things are only possible when the motor carrier is constantly monitoring drivers by satelite and or EOBR/ELD for reasons of maximizing productivity. When these things happen they end up destablizing a driver throughout his or her workday and work week!
    Here are some tactics used by dispatcher or large ATA member motor carriers:
    a)the customer must be service!
    b)we need to keep the load moving!
    c)we need to service the load
    d)you got 11 and 14 and you’re gonna run!!
    e)if you have the hrs you have to work! It’s the law!
    f)if you have the hrs and you don’t work, then you’re not compliant!!!
    Point “f” is a example of the mentality of dispatchers that are treating the HOS rules as mandates! This is where the problem is!!
    These things as I said come into conflict when a driver needs personal time(to stop to eat, stop to use the restroom, stop to shower, do laundry, take a break go shopping for supplies, or simply to take extended breaks and relax!)
    It happens even when a drivers requested timeoff is not honored so long as log hrs still remain!
    The harassment is built into the loads with compressed transit times! Another words you pickup the load and can’t stop until it’s delivered. The EOBR allows carriers to create JIT loads out of ordinary backhaul loads for the sake of maximizing productivity!!
    Some of the larger ATA carriers that purchase new equipment have a kind of internal “blue code of silence” as it were, where new equipment is already slated to run a specified minimum number of miles(2,500-3,000miles/wk is typical). Don’t turned the miles and you’ll be removed from the newer equipment a put into a older truck!!
    Never mind a driver can simply get tired and need a break from work regardless of available hrs!
    Will FMCSA every grant drivers some provision within regulations, something akin to a whistle-blowing rule? I seriously doubt it! And if they don’t a driver will have no authoritative way to decline work or simple say NO without being retaliated against!
    We live in a “at will” employment environment with laws that typically protect employers from lawsuits!
    YOU CAN’T DEMAND EQUAL WORK FROM ALL DRIVERS!!
    For one thing it is a truism that not all people have equal physical ability or capacity!! As such not everyone can equally perform work safely up to the maximum limit of the HOS!!
    One thing that would help would be a strict requirment for drivers to log all hours at a shpr or rcvr as on-duty not driving, so drivers can exhaust there hours naturally and eventually take a break! It seems FMCSA is interested in the exact opposite by offering carriers document relief for purposes of hrs verification and by redefining what it means to be on-duty not driving and off-duty! FMCSA the so-called agency of safety is actually directly contributing to sweatshop working conditions by not recogninzing the relevance and importance of all hours spent at customers, that are on-duty and must be logged. Because it seems to me FMCSA knows that this could eventually make a strong case for lifting the Fair Labor exemption!!

  • DMcKinney

    Hell yes they’re used to harass drivers! You’re mandated for a 10hr sleeper berth, but they send you messages every hour asking when you can run, how many hours until you can, when you’ll arrive, etc etc etc. If I’m asleep and woken by a damn beeping box, guess what? I’m not getting the sleep that I need to drive safe.

  • Lorie J Reed

    There’s a problem when law enforcement doesn’t know the computer system on board, and has to have the driver explain it’s functions as he’s doing his inspection.
    There not qualified, but there going to write you a ticket for a violation, which only comes down to their interpretation of the violation.
    No driver is going to outright violate their elogs.
    There are situations where you must move to a safe haven for your rest period, which the elog system doesn’t account for unless your carrier has paid for that additional app, which doesn’t always happen.
    It becomes a cost factor which qualcom and peoplenet stand to make more money, over high priced technology.

  • ExplEngineer

    I don’t understand all of this constant resistance to laws and regulations in place. The entire process is extremely simple, obey the law, comply with the FMCA and all other regulations and operate in compliance with them. Perhaps it is time to recognize that we are operating vehicles weighing 10x-20x the weight of those operated on the roadways by the average taxpayer/.voter and we need to become both more responsible, and responsive to their need to resolve the conflict that results from this size differential before we are taught the lessons the hard way, by the differential in numbers between CDL operators and the rest of the voters. If you operate in compliance with the laws and regulations you don’t need to worry about electronic logbooks and reporting, surveillance by the companies that you either lease to or are employed by to operate for them. As for their compliance safety officers, most of them are retired law enforcement officers, generally former Highway Patrol/MVE Troopers, but there are the few bad eggs. The truckers best defense against them is the electronic logbook and the GPS surveillance equipment that will counter their allegations. If we continue to resist, we will, in the not too distant future, finding ourselves with operating authorities and restrictions to specified routes to and from the nearest railway hub to the consignees. Do the math. And accept the realities. The time for “road bullies with oversized weapons” has ended and compliance will be achieved. If not voluntarily, than with every increasing fines, and even mandatory jail time for repeat violators if that is what is required to achieve compliance with the laws that exist. You may argue and resist, but just think back to history, and learn from it. Mines refused to operate safely and we now have the MSHA, unsafe employers brought OSHA upon themselves, etc., so if you want to see what can become of the relative freedom of our roadways, perhaps we don’t need to face a new enforcement unit under the DOT that operates in a manner similar to the TSA.

  • tinion

    i ALWAYS log all the time at a shipper / reciever. i am on line 4 (on duty) when i go check in and when i dock. then i am normally waiting about another 2 – 4 hours before they get me unloaded. while i am waiting, i am on line 1 (off duty). of course, asking them to let me know when they are done helps. yes, i am a spoiled driver in that i have rarely had to touch freight. and the rare times that i have, i HAVE gone to line 4.
    but, what you are talking about is the 14 hour rule. THAT is where the delay comes in. in 2005, i was picking up a load of shoes that the shipper was hand stacking (yes, those boxes the shoes come in)! i was going to be about 6 hours. so (while i was in the door) i asked the shipper to relieve me of any duties to the truck while being loaded. yes, it sounds odd. but when i explained to them that i could log that time in the sleeper, and thereby making the deadline even with the delay…. they had no problem doing it! they got me up when it was ready, and i was on my way. i got a 4 hour power-nap in at a truckstop a few hours later to balance out the 10 hour requirement so i was good on my logs.
    and, as to driving so hard that you are unsafe… PULL THE F*** OVER !!! i REFUSE to push myself past my safety limits! if your not able to see straight, get the rest you need so you don’t kill someone! that’s just common sense! dispatch can take a leap as far as i am concerned. if that jerk wants this load there so bad that he’s willing to risk public safety, he can run the load his D*** self !!!

  • gary d

    I was forced to be sidelined for 3 days because the quallcom lost communication and I didn’t exactly correct every movement of my time I was only off by 15 minutes on a line 4. so I sat at a truckstop 600 miles from home for three days over it. I quit one week later. thanks werner enterprises. I was awarded unemployment because I proved harrassment before the tribunal.

  • Jimmy the Greek

    Expl i am 60 years old and never drove a rig that had any of this Gps ,E-Logs or any of that electonic crap , i run the south east from east texas along the Gulf , when i have to i know how to never go into a chicken coop , i run how i want to run and do what ever the hell i want , If people like you is all that well be left in this country , America is screwed ! 25 years ago a co@#$! sucker like you would have got a ass kicking and locked in the back of some fright haulers van for a ride to were ever

  • EF McHenry

    I don’t see any refutations for anything I’ve said…
    Look EOBRs/ELDs whatever….. They are nothing but instruments to transfer a certain level of access and control of a drivers log to fleet management PERIOD!
    Problems is when control of a drivers log is transferred to dispatch, driver discretion is deemphasized or diminished! The only rational reason is for fleet mgrs to access all real-time hrs to strickly monitor and micro-manage a drivers avail time for load planning purposes to maximize production! Once again without regard to the human factor. The EOBR/ELD takes the human factor out, transfers access and control to fleet management in real-time and it all becomes a “NUMBERs GAME” from there! Hrs/loads, Hrs/loads, Hrs/loads ad infinitum……..
    What is interesting and is lost in all this, is how dispatchers and mgrs never share the legal culpability or legal responsibility with regard to tickets and accidents etc…
    All things being equal you’d think a dispatcher should share a certain level of legal blame with regard to HOS violations & tickets if that dispatcher is going to be actively involved in attempting to manage a driver time throughout the workday and work week. Of course we all know that won’t happen!! The hypocrisy here stinks to high heaven!! So Driver mgrs have a strong interest in managing a drivers time but want to avert at all costs any and all repercussions when things go south.
    With the FMCSA interested in granting carriers document relief with regard to their responsibility on HOS audits concerning the verification of on-duty not driving time, it becomes even more obvious what’s really going on!!
    So now we have the govt giving large motor carriers a tool whose real purpose is the following:
    a)Plausible Deniability&risk management(a industrial legal shield)
    bProductivity management
    c)Instrument to trouble transportation markets both labor and other regarding competition….
    And as I already indicated I find it rather interesting how a EOBR/ELD would seem to give dispatchers a strong ability to monitor, manage and proactively compel and demand action from drivers with no shared legal regard.
    The EOBR just invites and opens the door for a dispatcher to just interfere with the driver on the front lines of the highways. Can you micro-manage a soldier on the front lines from behind a PC? Can you micro-manage Police Officers on the front lines of the back allies from behind the computer and desk? I don’t think so! So why do you want to micro-manage a truck driver on his front line; the highways and byways?

  • rogerrabbit

    I had to retire after 20 years two years ago. Mild heart attack. There’s harassment,and always will be. It’s all about the revenue.

  • Mind Games

    I was at D**t Transit and what the safety department would do is go on the system and change the hours that I burned up in prior days to get e the hours to run a hot load.
    Hehehehehehehehehehe!!!!!! And the FMCSA I’m pretty sure ain’t as stupid as they act and they will just slap any of their good ol boys that run one of those huge trucking companies on the back when they avoid a potential lawsuite. And then after the trucking company wins the case they will then give up the real evidence in the civil trial and put the driver on the hook for all the money that is to paid to the victim’s family.
    If the driver is smart has a great lawyer and a honest congress person and knows what they did he could turn states evidence and do some time and take the trucking company down with him.
    Bill Graves and his buddies are in for a real treat just watch the blowback when the DOT comes knocking on their doors! LOL!!!! Eyes are gonna get big as cue balls!!! Yep the white ones!!! :)

  • Mind Games

    You are either stupid or new to the industry either way you don’t know all the rules because they don’t show you all the rules.
    You have the hand manual not the manual the safety department fires you with and or they lock you up with. Dude get a grip on reality. Our goverment has been taken over by facist. Yep the same ones like Rush Limbaugh and all the other rightwing radio extreemist and this time the Democratic party has shown themselves to be apart of the same group of thugs.

  • Mind Games

    You were on their property you were supposed to log in duty bud. Now if you left the property then you can do what you want. You were in violation.

  • cptdragn

    Err, no he wasn’t. he could have shown that time as line 2 sleeper and he did. Remember also he said this was 2005. Different rules then from now.

  • michael

    love it so true

  • Jimmy the Greek

    The far right is the only hope this country has ! liberals need to be taken to camps to learn how to be good Americans , the slow learners fed into wood chippers .

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