This Letters to the Editor appears in the Aug. 20 print edition of Transport Topics.Click here to subscribe today.
I feel like I’m the only truck operator who believes the feds are trying to control every facet of my life. It’s not just that electronic onboard recorders or EOBRs or whatever you call them are an intrusive invasion into my company and our drivers’ lives. They’re expensive, too, and are just the next step toward the government running even more of my life.
What happened to treating people and companies with the respect the framers of our Constitution anticipated?
The government has a history of grabbing more and more of our freedoms under the guise of safety. All one has to do is look at the history of the expansion of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the Bureau of Land Management and dozens of other agencies to grasp this trend.
I object to EOBRs not just from a philosophical perspective, but also from a practical point of view. Practically applied, what happens when a driver runs out of hours 30 minutes from our yard? He either spends the night 20 miles from home or, more likely, breaks the law and comes to the yard anyway. You can reasonably bet that the next time that situation looks like it could develop, our driver will drive fast enough during the day that he doesn’t run out of hours by shift’s end.
That’s the part that worries me.
Many of you won’t remember why the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act does not provide for time-and-a-half after eight hours if a log for hours of service is used to count driver time. That is because the early drafters of FLSA regulations realized that paying time-and-a-half could lead unscrupulous truck operators to order drivers to drive faster than was safe.
Let us continue to rely on the current system. Our drivers are professionals; let’s ask the feds to treat them as such.
Dalton Trucking Inc.