Tracking Long-Distance Truckers

Thursday, April 21, 2011

WNYC's Transportation Nation recently discovered that the U.S. Department of Transportation has proposed a new rule for long-distance truck drivers. It would require truckers to install a device to monitor the number of hours they drive per day. DOT regulations state that truckers cannot work more than fourteen hours per day — and they can only drive eleven of those fourteen hours. Advocates of the digital monitor worry that drivers violate these rules and simply lie in their handwritten logs. But most long-distance truckers aren't too happy with the new DOT proposition. Harley Helms, long-distance truck driver and Takeaway listener, has had a such a device installed by his employer. He joins us with his take on digital monitors.


Harley Helms

Produced by:

Jillian Weinberger

Comments [4]

dkelly from Sanford

Japan has had this device for years.
Regulated hours for long distance driving

Aug. 30 2011 08:07 PM
Bobby McRey from Ohio

I used to use Xata and it was terrible. It didn't work half the time and then they tried to push me to this cell phone product thing which was worse. We moved to Peoplenet which has been much better.

Apr. 22 2011 11:32 AM
joey from pa

I've bean using xata as a logging system since 2007 without issues accept for a few times when it was first installed there was a bit of a learning curve because the version that I was using wanted me to enter more information then necissary , I didn't know that most of the information was all optional if I just wanted to track drive and off duty time like a logbook. I'd suggest this as a good system if your looking into analizing your habits and more then anything being critical about yourself and saving you money by keeping track of your truck idle time biggest benifit as far as I'm concerned. Plus a cornocopia of other little options as to what you want to be able to track. This is an effective system that has served me well I don't work for XATA but just throwing it out there if your forced into using an electronic logbook I've bean happy with it. I'd be safe in suggesting this system at the very least it keeps you legal.

Apr. 21 2011 11:22 PM
Miriam Brown

Hello! Heard this story this morning and I must say I'm disappointed in your choice of representation of the trucking industry! Mr. Helms is a company driver, which means the cost of his equipment (truck, trailer and EOBR among other things) are all taken care of by his company for him. He does not pay for fuel, his company does, so rising fuel prices have little impact on his daily job. Please consider the opinion of an independent owner operator, such as myself, where I am more than a driver, I run my entire trucking business and am responsible for every single expense! You failed to mention to proposed cost of the EOBR ($1,500 to $2,000 plus installation). Crete pays this for Mr. Helms. I will have to pay this out of pocket to stay compliant. A paper log book can be purchased for under $3 per month. As for keeping us truckers honest and compliant, and deterring tired drivers - this is our goal as well! We do not gain anything from driving our equipment illegally or fatigued. We have too much to lose to gamble like that, especially with DOT enforcement becoming more and more stringent. Have you heard of CSA 2010? There are serious consequences for equipment failure and especially log book violations. Yes, there are drivers out there that toss caution to the wind and run shoddy equipment and very well may drive outside of the legal requirements. Please know this is the minority. We see everyday in all facets of life the few rule breakers who ruin it all for everyone. I think the EOBR is not necessary. It only tracks movement of the vehicle, but the rest of the logging is at the discretion of the driver. How will the EOBR track that the driver is really getting the required amount of sleep and not outside loading and unloading instead? It doesn't. It allows for the same falsification, if the driver so chooses, as the paper log. What other industry is as regulated as we are already? Do the Air Traffic Controllers fill out log books? What about our doctors and surgeons? Our life is broken into four segments: Driving, On Duty Not Driving, Sleeper Berth and Off Duty. The current laws allow for the successful operation of a trucking business, no matter how each driver tracks duty status changes. The EOBR is just another way to dig into the pockets of the independent trucker. Yes, there are advantages for larger companies with fleets of company drivers, such as Crete, to utilize EOBR and similar systems. I just hope you can differentiate between a company driver and an independent owner operator. We are proud of our profession, proud of our equipment, and extremely proud of our safety record.

Apr. 21 2011 03:33 PM

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