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Protect Drivers from Harassment Under the ELD Mandate

by Aristides Smith  04/28/2016

Now that we know the courts upheld the electronic logging device (ELD) ruling, let’s look forward and consider the impacts. One item the mandate addresses is carriers harassing drivers. Let’s break the issue down further to explore the problem and better understand whether the ruling will help mitigate this concern.

The problem

One form of harassment is based around reporting Hours of Service (HOS). Due to budget considerations, lack of supply chains, or other issues, dishonest carriers sometimes rely on drivers to go beyond the standard HOS to make deliveries on time.

This may include carriers

  • interrupting drivers’ sleep time,
  • requesting they skip breaks along the way to make up hours,
  • forcing them to edit logs to show rest when maximum hours are reached, and
  • punishment for trying to enforce compliance against dishonest practices.

The solution

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ELD rule prohibits a carrier from harassing a driver. Should harassment take place, the driver can file a written complaint.

On the technical side, ELDs offer provisions to limit harassment. These “include a mute function to ensure that a driver is not interrupted in the sleeper berth” and “limited edits of an ELD record by both the driver and the motor carrier’s agents.”

In addition, the mandate prohibits changes to the original ELD record. This can decrease the chances of carriers “forcing drivers to violate the hours of service (HOS) rules without leaving an electronic trail that would point to the original and revised records.”

Those in the industry react

Drivers and carriers with ELD implementation haven’t detailed improvements. If there is a downside, over 50% of carriers in an ELD survey said they lost drivers when they implemented ELDs. As far as implementation rate, many large carriers have already hooked ELDs to their drivers’ rigs while those in the small-to-medium-sized business range have yet to do so.

It’s difficult to predict how the ELD mandate could impact driver and carrier relations at this point. So much of the transportation side of the supply chain is built on fulfilling orders on time, so some tensions are still likely to exist.

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