EOBRs/ELDs are being put in the wrong place

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Updated Feb 20, 2014
The author of this op-ed is one half of the Landstar Ranger-leased duo of Susan and Warren McCurdy. The pair became owner-operators “because we were newly married,” Susan says, “and I got the wanderlust.”The author of this op-ed is one half of the Landstar Ranger-leased duo of Susan and Warren McCurdy. The pair became owner-operators “because we were newly married,” Susan says, “and I got the wanderlust.”

Electronic on-board recorders [or electronic logging devices] are forcing drivers to bear the financial burden of and accountability to the unreasonable and constantly changing and contradictory standards placed upon them by non-driving rulemakers. To me, EOBRs are being put in the wrong places. The devices should be placed at all the shippers and receivers in the country rather than in the trucks of this nation. When EOBRs are placed at the customer’s business, each time a driver shows up to load or unload, they bring in a time card and the customer time-stamps it. When they leave the customer, the customer time-stamps it again and they should be billed at $50 an hour for the driver’s time spent at their business.

Roadside inspection sites, toll booths, construction zones and inefficient fueling stations should also have to time-stamp a driver’s time card — and be billed for delays in their areas. 

Dispatchers, too, have an accountability role in driver efficiency and fatigue. When a driver calls in for a load, the dispatcher should record the time between the call and the dispatch and pay the driver accordingly for sitting.

The driver should be able to choose a driving time frame, meaning the time they start their work day, and not be dispatched at all hours regardless of time of waking and time of sleeping. With the current hours of service, the driver can be ordered to go to bed at 3 p.m. and expected to get back up again and drive 10 hours later, or 1 a.m. This is abnormal for the circadian rhythm of any person and grossly affects the driver’s ability to get sufficient rest in order to be healthy and alert. In other words, if their day starts at 7 a.m., and their load is ready at 3 pm, they will automatically receive $50 per hour for hours waiting and the end of the day is 9 p.m., regardless of miles traveled. 

Compensating drivers for their actual work hours will eliminate the perceived need to drive past the fatigue threshold and create safer and healthier working conditions for all truck drivers, keeping the four-wheelers safer too. 

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This is time management where it counts. Determining the driver to be responsible for the inefficient operations of all these entities and situations is ludicrous. Holding customers and trucking agents responsible for wasting a driver’s hours, and paying the driver for all hours of their working day, is the most equitable system for maximizing a drivers time, safety and income. It places the burden of time management on those who are the most inefficient and creates the most desirable system for recruiting and retaining high-quality drivers.

This is not welfare, nor socialism, nor Big Brother interfering. It is the system that was in use by one of the largest privately held corporations in Wisconsin, Gateway Foods. We know this because we worked for them before we became owner-operators.


McCurdy encourages owner-operators to email or comment with their ideas and thoughts as to how to act in concert to affect “positive, sane and equitable conditions to make driving a profitable, enjoyable and safe occupation that will keep and recruit the best and brightest.” Post your own ideas for regulatory revision or new business practices in the comments here with your name, or email to [email protected]. We’ll get them out via our Voices section and Overdrive‘s Facebook page