Mailbag: ELD choice — ‘wait and see’ mode a hope for common sense?

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Agri-Empresa truck manager and one-truck owner Gary Carlisle offered the following in response to last week’s look at the market for electronic logging devices and particularly the wait-and-see mode most owner-operators are in as OOIDA’s lawsuit challenging the mandate plays out and expanding market for the devices sorts itself out: 

Most experienced, knowledgeable professionals still hold out hope that some common sense will prevail in the government to recognize any positive impact on safety will not be due to the implementation of ELDs. Matter of fact, any and all common sense says that the ELD will have a negative impact on safety.  Of course, there is very seldom common sense included in mandated regulation, but this one takes the cake. The one and only purpose will be for coming up with another tax they can pass off as citations due to regulations. Add to that the feds’ idea of safety stats and carrier evaluation — it will do nothing but drive out independent competition and tear down the competitive nature of the trucking business.

In the long run, costs to the final consumer of all things brought via truck will increase due to monopolization of the industry by large companies. –Gary Carlisle

Cue reader Norman Ott, under this linked poll questioning the reach of hours of service violations into owner-operator businesses, much more succinctly, as it were. After e-logs, Ott speculated, “there will be a clearinghouse for [associated violations]. A computer will scan all logs and send out violations in the mail or right back to your e-log device. You will have to swipe your credit card to continue.”

Your thoughts?

Carlisle, who’s written in the past year about what he sees as the need for flexibility in the 14-hour on-duty clock with mid-period rest, offered these further thoughts about better workability of an ELD mandate if they came with such changes to the hours of service:

If the mandaters would use a little common sense and allow sleep breaks to defuse the 14-hour rule it could be a workable plan. But given the past history, the regulators/mandaters haven’t exhibited any sign of common sense. The attraction of completely invading CDL drivers’ privacy in the name of safety while yielding a plan for fleecing principally the only American industry left intact will be too tempting.

The regulators need to look ECM systems and at the lack of success of going full electronic on truck engines and cab operations. The increasing electronic sensors on trucks have increased the senseless downtime and expense for repairs. Their own demands for lowering the NOx have been and are a nightmare.

In short, the regulators can continue to pile the burden on the trucking industry, but the most critical, economical issue needs to be understood — all costs will transfer to the end user one way or another. To be blunt, if the regulators will stop making new regulations and put a hold on all that are not implemented to date, and maintain that for 10 years, this country’s economy might recover. On the other hand, if you keep beating that mule, the day will come that he can’t continue to supply your needs. 

A few other voices on the subject of ELD implementation:

Via Overdrive’s Facebook page
Dean Furey: I’m going to wait and see. If it comes down to having to use [an ELD] I will wait to the last possible minute. I used one for five months and hated it.

Michael Nicollette: Adapt or get out of the game. The days of West Texas bull trains running convoy at 100 mph and running three log books are over. If you have a problem logging legally you’re running way too cheap.

Larry Parker: Installed yesterday, not a happy camper.

Brett Ruge: To the people that will say adapt or get out of trucking, think about that statement for a moment. The industry that is so backwards and flawed and in which the only ones that are being forced to be honest are the drivers — no one is forcing companies and brokers to pay actual mileage or to load or unload in a reasonable time, or pick whatever flaw is your pet peeve. But we’re supposed to adapt to getting screwed? The government controlling you is never supposed to be adapted to.

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