Letters to the Editor
I read in the October issue of Land Line that the United States Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, tossed the EOBRs regulation on the harassment argument. As Webster’s Dictionary defines harassment — “to disturb, persistently pester, prosecute, to trouble by repeated attacks” — I would say this is a great argument. With the introduction of “modern technology,” truck drivers are now electronically tracked by their fuel cards, PrePass, Qualcomm, cell phones and electronic logs for HOS violations.
Judge Diane P. Wood stated, “The court need address only the first issue of driver harassment and the FMCSA clearly define a distinction between productivity and harassment.”
The FMCSA’s definition of the “hours of service” — on duty vs. off duty — are clearly harassment for productivity, and here is why:
In the FMCSA regulation manual, part 395.2, it states: On-duty time means “any time a driver begins to work or is required to be in readiness to work.”
In this same manual, at the back under “Guidance,” question 20 asks: “How must a driver record time spent on-call awaiting dispatch?” The answer says a driver can be threatened with discipline by the motor carrier while off duty, and not paid [when unavailable] and presumably remaining in readiness for work. Therefore, if a motor carrier generally requires its drivers to be available and remain in readiness for work, all these times can be logged as off duty. All this was cleverly and deliberately crafted to be contradictory and clearly in favor of the motor carrier, not the driver.
The lobbyists for the motor carriers, shippers and receivers are all in concert with each other to ensure drivers are not paid hourly while waiting many hours to be loaded or unloaded or for any other en route delays in the HOS 14-hour window, with or without an EOBR. These unsafe practices and conditions by the motor carriers, with the unquestionable permission of the FMCSA, are definitely harassment for the total utilization and maximum productivity of a driver.
As a matter of public policy, you cannot allow any type of system that will inevitably jeopardize the life and limb of drivers and the public to further enhance the bottom lines of the motor carrier.
David P. Gaibis Sr.
New Castle, Pa.
The real issues
I already know you won’t put what I have to say in your magazine, but I’m still going to say what I think. [The driver who wrote the letter to the editor in January’s Truckers News] said we need to get paid by the hour. He’s crazy for thinking that! Not every driver drives for a big company. He probably is one of the drivers riding in the middle lane. While he is running 5 or more below the speed limit. Some of us drivers don’t need someone or a computer telling us when or how to do what we have/need to do to do our job safely. Or work for a big company. I have my own truck.
The DOT needs to practice what they preach about safety. I have seen them many times on the phone while driving. Also, the new logbook rule is a joke! The DOT just wants to put us drivers at their low pay scale. They are jealous because a real hard-working truck driver can make three times more than they can.