Impure Thoughts #3: eLogs

Impure Thoughts #3: eLogs

Have you thought about your future, young man?

Or woman, as the case may be?

Recently, the company I work* for mandated that we match our log books to our qualcomm in terms of arrival times at shipper and receiver as well as departure times. In certain applications of trucking this shouldn’t be that big of a deal, and if one is telling the truth on their logs anyway, it would affect nothing. The strange thing is that this company is doing this because we are being audited by the DOT. What’s odd is that this company was just audited a little over a year ago. I think it’s a move by the government to assemble information about what drivers are doing in order to make a future ruling on electronic onboard recorders.

The problem in my particular field is that sometimes it can take literally hours to get a load properly secured, tarped and otherwise ready to travel. It doesn’t take much to realize that the DOT is going to want to see a lot more time on Line 4, which is then going to eat into the 70 hour maximum, and therefore have a negative effect on profitability, time available to drive, and even home time.

The government is intruding into this business on a level that we have never seen before, and it is going to transform this business in ways I don’t think any of us can accurately predict. I for one am not optimistic. I think black boxes are just around the corner. Manufacturers have been putting them in trucks for several years now anyway, so it’s just a matter of the government making it acceptable to use for enforcement.

Have you thought about how you are going to handle yourself in trucking when a stupid little government mandated computer tells you that you can’t go home, even though you’re sixty miles from the house?

I think the quality of life for the average trucker is going to go downhill tremendously. Honestly, I think “they” mean for it to happen to. One of the basic tenets of setting up a totalitarian regime is to destroy the family unit, and make people that much more dependent on government. Less home time for truck driver will go a long way toward destroying a lot of families. I think the overall big government movement in this country is a lot more sinister than any of us little people can possibly imagine. Maybe the illuminati are real, and evil, and in charge.

I’ve heard drivers say “They do that, they ain’t gonna be no drivers out here at all, and this country will come to a halt!”

No. That is not what will happen for several reasons. One thing I learned when I was dispatching is that truck drivers really are a dime a dozen. There will be a whole new crop of morons to fill trucks, and think it’s perfectly normal to have a computer telling them when and where and what and why. This job in many ways is little more than menial skilled labor, and there is really nothing special about it. Oh, sure we move the country, but there are plenty of people wanting to do it, and the reserves are endless. Already several large companies are using such things as paperless logs, and a few even have stickers on the trucks that say “Driver is using electronic logs” and “this truck is eobr equipped.” The first time I saw this, I actually got very angry at the driver of that truck, and wondered why the hell this idiot would willingly drive something like that.

I still haven’t figured it out.

I heard a driver say once that eobr’s mandates will be unconstitutional. It seems to me like anything a truck driver doesn’t like it automatically considered unconstitutional. It’s the easiest, most elementary answer, requiring the least thought. I am not a constitutional scholar, but I’m fairly certain that in matters of public safety – which is what eobr mandates will be considered – it doesn’t apply in any way. The constitution spells out both the role of government, and the individual.

Business runs the United States. Business will demand that things still get moved from place to place. Trucking will still happen, but I think it will be completely different, and I’m not sure I’m going to want to do it anymore.

Have you thought about your future as an over the road driver? You might want to. Hell, you have to.

*I originally wrote this when I was working for ATS in 2009.
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