An Old-School Driver Tries an ELD

Trucker's hand on the steering wheel, trying ELD

With the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate in sight, there’s still a lot of resistance from drivers. The Owner-Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA) is suing the FMCSA over the regulation, arguing that it will not have an impact on safety, as promised, and expressing concerns about driver privacy.

Still, many companies have started to install the devices, introducing them into their fleets slowly to spread out the cost, learn what they will mean to the way they operate, and get drivers accustomed to working with ELDs. Overdrive magazine recently ran a 7-part series by a veteran driver (pseudonym Wes Memphis) who was chosen by his company to make the transition from paper to electronic logs. His week-by-week assessment offers valuable information to fleet managers, dispatchers and drivers about what they can expect.

Here are some excerpts, but the entire series is recommended reading:

Week 1
“Not as bad as I thought.”

Week 2
“I had to call dispatch to tell them that, short of turning the truck up to 80, I just wouldn’t have the hours to make Detroit. It is difficult to express the sense of personal shame that someone who has done this for 30 years feels after making such a statement.”

Week 3
“It was the first time since week one out of driving school back in the ‘80s that I had ever told anyone I was out of hours and couldn’t haul a load. … If there was a hard load that needed special attention, I was the go-to guy.  … But today I was pulling into the yard with some trepidation. I had gone from Sonny Pruitt to just another downtrodden drone on the digital grid.”

Week 4
“There are times on e-logs you just have to sit in that seat for eight hours straight, regardless of how well you are dispatched. And if you’re an old man with a worn-out back and a cheap truck seat, things can get tough. In fact, any ergonomic deficit you have in that piece of equipment will become magnified by tenfold. … “I asked for a better seat.”

Week 5
“I closed out the e-log app, figuring I’d just log back in the following morning.  …Wouldn’t ya know, I logged back in two minutes early. The big red clock came up informing me I had no available hours to drive. Dang it, I had just enough time to make it to Tyler without being late, and by God, I don’t run late. What would happen if I just drove anyway? Reckon we’z fixin’ to find out.”

Week 6
“I had lost 18 pounds in two months, and my blood pressure was 110 over 70, the lowest in 15 years. …The only thing I could think which may have caused the weight loss was the increased sleeping time. Normally accustomed to four or five hours of sleep, I was now sleeping six to seven. I was no longer eating to stay awake all hours of the night. .. While I’m not an apologist for e-logs, I’ve come to believe this will not be the end of the world, and that we will figure out a way to survive this because that’s just what we do.”

Epilogue
“At the risk of throwing all my outlaw creds out the window, after taking into consideration the raise, the increase in speed, the lowering of my blood pressure, the weight loss — I don’t think I would go back to paper if I could.”

To learn more about the federal ELD mandate, CLICK HERE