Overdrive Equipment Editor Jack Roberts asked the question in the title of a blog post on the CCJ website in which he discusses the hours flexibility issue relative to the proposed electronic logging device mandate. (The issue was also recently discussed in this Overdrive Extra blog post by Max Heine and on the Channel 19 blog and elsewhere.)
Roberts’ commentary followed an appearance on Sirius XM’s Road Dog Channel 128 with host Mark Willis. “Going on the show gives me an opportunity to talk directly with drivers,” he wrote, “who never fail to impress me with their grasp of industry issues.”
His appearance followed a prior post, in which Roberts suggested that drivers could be the party to most benefit from the ELD mandate. Not all the viewpoints he heard on the radio were negative. “The feedback from drivers who were already using e-logs was overwhelmingly positive,” he noted. “In fact, not a single pro-e-log caller that day had anything negative at all to say about the devices.”
Among the views he heard among those opposed to the proposed mandate was on the flexibility issue. “In short,” he wrote, “drivers were concerned that e-logs will somehow remove their ability to adapt to road conditions, traffic, weather and untold other factors day-to-day. The most common scenario given was running out of time: Being within striking distance of getting home, seeing the family, having a home-cooked meal and climbing into your own bed – but being denied those well-earned privileges because an electronic box has logged you as being ‘out of hours.'”
While some of these situations could in particular cases be covered by the personal-conveyance and/or specific emergency provisions relative to the hours rule, many, as we all know, would not.
“The issue of flexibility has to be addressed in a meaningful and fair way,” he wrote. You can read his full commentary here.