New regulations that force truckers to submit to a sort of “electronic nanny system” that watches the number of hours that they’re on the road have truckers throughout the Ohio area furious.
They point out that employees in other jobs would likely resent the regulations just as much. Under the laws, which are designed to limit the hours any given driver is on the road without sufficient rest, truckers are expected to use an “electronic logging device,” or ELD. The device replaces the traditional handwritten log books that truckers used to keep.
The problem with the old log books was simple. They were easy to manipulate. There were even cases of individual truckers and whole trucking companies that kept two sets of logs. They had one that they could show authorities and one that kept track of a driver’s real work hours.
Driver fatigue is a huge issue and is associated with a lot of big rig accidents. Authorities have been combating the problem for years. The new ELDs seem pretty effective at doing their job.
According to the truckers, however, the ELDs lack flexibility for routine issues that wouldn’t endanger the trucker or the public. A traffic jam, for example, could slow a trucker up close to the end of a trip. Once the time allotted for an individual trucker to be on the road is up, however, he or she has to stop. That would force a trucking company to send out another driver to complete the trip, delaying delivery even if the truck was only a few miles away.
It’s also expensive. ELDs can cost $1,500 each, and the monitoring fees are up to $65 per month. That’s additional overhead some smaller trucking companies and independent operators can’t afford. The costs will probably end up being passed on to consumers.
In addition, truckers say the ELDs may actually force a trucker to drive faster and harder than he or she would have without it. Trying to beat that little clock becomes a necessity for each delivery, so drivers may take chances that ultimately lead to more truck accidents than before.
Drivers should be aware of these issues. As always, to avoid ending up in a truck accident, it’s important to drive defensively and steer clear of any trucks that seem to be speeding or driving erratically.
Source: WCPO, “Tri-State truckers protest new regulation for logging hours electronically,” Paola Suro, April 09, 2018