Hours, EOBRs: Adapt or fight?
The EOBR mandate is a crucial topic, as it represents the mindset of the American people. They are brainwashed into believing that by placing an EOBR on a commercial motor vehicle the following problems will be solved:
- a) Drivers will be better rested because they will be forced to sleep.
- b) They no longer will violate their hours.
- and c) Accidents involving trucks will be eliminated.
Nothing is more far from the truth. Drivers will not be better rested, because the problems that keep them from resting still remain: Lack of adequate truck parking; dispatchers pushing drivers to drive when they say they are either ill or tired; shippers and receivers holding drivers up at the docks for hours, cutting into their rest time; dispatch waking drivers up via Qualcomm, etc., to ask questions, failing to respect and abide by the HOS regulations; retaliation tactics from a carrier if the driver states he or she is too fatigued to drive; etc…
The devices track only the amount of time the truck is actually moving. But for much of a driver’s “on duty” time, the vehicle is stationary, waiting for a trailer to be loaded or idling at a truck stop. This time still has to be reported manually by the trucker, leaving significant room for error or misreporting. Similarly, EOBRs do nothing to ensure that drivers have had the required hours of off-duty time — all they can verify is how long that particular vehicle was not moving, not how long the individual driver was resting.
EOBRs have little to do with safety, but rather are a way for large trucking companies to level the playing field within the industry, as many already have EOBRs. If EOBRs were mandated, it would keep owner-operators and small fleets “in line,” reducing competition for qualified, well-trained drivers who may go to a carrier who does not have EOBRs.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit tossed the [limited mandate] electronic onboard recorder regulation only to see an expanded version of it in the transportation bill. Drivers need to write and call their Senators and Reps if they do not agree with mandating EOBRs. There are almost 4 million drivers. They have the power to change things, but many just don’t believe it.