Proposed Government Mandate Could Mean Big Changes for Truck Drivers

By: Bergen Baucom Email
By: Bergen Baucom Email

MARIANNA--Some members of the trucking community were upset to hear that a proposed federal transportation bill could cause undue hardship on the drivers, depending on who you ask.

The 2012 Surface Transportation Extension Act contains a proposal that would require all truck drivers to install an Electronic On Board Recorder, or EOBR.

"It's an automatic logging system. It would do away with paper logs and take away the driver's ability to cheat" explained Dan Smith, a truck driver for Hartland Express.

Smith has been driving big rigs for 15 years and has had an EORB for the past year. He said he doesn't mind it now, but has not always been so comfortable with it.

"I've gotten used to it and actually like it better now," Smith said. "Before, when I was using the paper I could fudge a little bit and run however I wanted to. With it now, I can't."

In addition to accountability, Smith said EORB's cut down on paper work and increase safety by reducing demands that he perform outside the law.

"If they want me to do something more than I have time to available, sorry, I can't do it. I don't have the time to do it. I can longer run illegal. We're a much safer industry than we ever have been."

But not everyone feels the way Smith does.

One driver recently wrote the Floridan newspaper to say the mandate would likely hold truck drivers responsible for buying the EORB, a cost he felt was unnecessary.

Smith said that many large trucking companies have already moved toward EORBs and away from paper logs.

The Senate and House have sent different versions of the bill to a conference committee for resolution. Congressman Steve Southerland serves on that committee.

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  • by Mike Location: Elgin IL on May 8, 2012 at 07:29 PM
    Interesting piece. The presenter's comment that "most big companies are moving toward AOBRs" is true BUT she probably doesn't know that the industry is moving toward smaller motor carriers. And, smaller carriers are NOT moving toward AOBRs. I said AOBRs instead of EOBRs because EOBRs, by definition, do not exist. It is time for mandatory EOBRs.
  • by DB Location: PCB on May 8, 2012 at 03:32 PM
    Drivers cheat on their logs because the job doesn't pay what it should and they need the extra time & money. Having witnessed a driver fall asleep at the wheel and kill a 2 year old child, it's past time for the government to do something to put a stop to the practice. Average truckers work over 70 hours a week without a penny of overtime, companies threaten to have drivers sit for days if they don't cheat and electronic logs will help drivers that want to drive safely. Driver retention is a huge problem for most companies due to the hours required and the pay, maybe someday they will realize that a good driver is worth more money. I drive for a living and I know what it's like to be dead tired and still have 600 miles to go before I can rest again.
  • by Anthony Location: Westville on May 8, 2012 at 06:32 AM
    For those of you who read the toilet paper comment and are so nieve as to think that we are free as long as you obey law, this is my point they are passing new laws everyday that infringe on your cival liberties to make safe decisions for yourself.
  • by Anonymous on May 8, 2012 at 06:15 AM
    So glad we live in the land of the free. How long before the government madates the type of toilet paper we use.
  • by Neil Location: Panama City Beach on May 8, 2012 at 04:40 AM
    Government rules, no matter how well-intentioned, generally have an adverse effect. It's best to let drivers decide for themselves when to drive and when to rest than to have a computer decide.
  • by Jim Location: Panama City on May 7, 2012 at 03:53 PM
    I drove a big rig for 10 years after I got out of the military. I think that it will be a big benefit for the driver and the COMPANIES may have to re-think their pay scales . People do not relialize what a driver has to put up with.
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