Do EOBRs Benefit Truckers?

Allen Smith is a tireless trucking industry advocate. (Of course, you probably already knew that.) And last week, he published a piece that explored whether EOBRs benefit truckers and it’s worth a read: Making a case for trucking industry EOBR mandate. In it, he looks at the arguments for and against electronic logging devices — from detention time to highway safety and more.

We appreciate Allen’s efforts to present both sides of the issue and, more importantly, his efforts to improve the lives of hardworking drivers. That said, we’d like to add to the conversation…

Logging detention time – Who benefits?

In his article, Allen suggests that while EOBRs are certainly capable of tracking lost time at shippers’ docks—and charging for it—that extra pay won’t likely end up lining drivers’ pockets.

That could very well be the case.

However, CSA is changing the way trucking businesses must operate. Now, CSA scores are easily accessible to shippers, insurance companies and prospective drivers for review. In order to remain competitive in the industry, carriers must maintain strong CSA scores—and that means attracting and retaining drivers with excellent safety records.

In a blog post we shared this spring, we illustrated a number of ways carriers can improve their driver retention programs. One of those suggestions involved paying drivers for time lost at shippers’ docks. With the data to support those extra charges, carriers have the ability to bill for the time and compensate their drivers accordingly.

Carriers would be wise to reward the drivers that help them maintain strong CSA scores. If they feel under-appreciated, they may look for work elsewhere.

Hours of Service data integrity

Allen also cautions readers that carriers can edit a trucker’s e-logs, remove legal hours and push tired drivers to keep on driving.

We contend that this is not an issue of electronic logging technology, but of management. A carrier that pushes its drivers to run illegally will do so regardless of whether or not their drivers are running on EOBRs; it all comes down to their commitment to safety.

We’d also like to reiterate that a carrier can’t unilaterally alter a driver’s hours without the driver’s knowledge. If a log is edited, the trucker must review the changes and determine if their e-log is true and accurate. If it isn’t, the driver should not accept the changes. This is completely within their control, just as refusing a load is when they’re tired.

Improving CSA

Here at XRS, we support the use of EOBRs throughout the trucking industry, both as a tool for improving carrier safety programs and for increasing efficiency and productivity.

That said, we do understand that CSA is a work in progress.

The legislative community is now reviewing the CSA calculations, and weighting calculations that have been called into question by the industry for some time. And the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has made changes and reviewed calculations brought to their attention in some cases, though there is significant complexity in those weightings and algorithms, which make them difficult to understand in some instances.

We believe that with proper review those cases should be resolved in the near future, and we are eager to help the broader community understand the benefits we’ve found in using a fleet-wide EOBR solution.

We’d like to thank Allen for his article—we definitely “hear” you!—and we’d be very interested to hear from our XNation community, as well.

Do EOBRs benefit truckers?

What has your experience been with EOBRs? Are you finding benefits, or do you believe those benefits are realized only by the carrier? Tell us.