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September 3, 2012 8:00 AM, EDT

Letter: Do the Right Thing

This Letter to the Editor appears in the Sept. 3 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

This is in response to a letter published in your Aug. 20 issue and titled “Big Brother Is Here” (p. 4).

Let me understand you correctly: If a driver runs out of time 30 minutes from the yard and is on an electronic onboard recorder, “He either spends the night 20 miles from home or, more likely, breaks the law and comes to the yard anyway.”

So, how does being on an EOBR differ from a paper log? Illegal is illegal. If a driver runs out of hours, he runs out of hours, doesn’t he?

You’re suggesting that a paper log will allow him to “legally” come home. This thought process is what continues to hold our industry back. If the driver and his dispatcher planned properly, they would avoid this situation.

My company has been using eLog for almost two years in 100% of our company trucks. Was it a challenge to make the transition from paper log to eLog? Most definitely, yes.

It took a significant investment in technology, training and a lot of perseverance to make the transition a success, but the choice was mine; “Big Brother” didn’t make it for me. My team works every day to make sure our drivers don’t get caught 20 miles from home without hours.

In addition, you have to have conversations with your customers so they understand what you can and can’t do. Dropped trailers on both ends, pickup and delivery, is important as well. This allows my drivers to get in and get going again quickly.

I know my drivers like the eLog because if there is a glitch in communications and they temporarily have to switch back to paper logs, they are disgusted. I hear from them: “When is eLog going to be back on? Doing paper logs is a pain.”

I also know my drivers are getting the rest they need to be safe on the road. I have made significant investments in making sure my drivers and operations team stay within the legal limits of the hours-of-service rules.

A safety culture within any organization starts at the top. I believe eLog implementation reflects to the U.S. Department of Transportation that we are a safety-conscious industry.

And to the letter writer, I say that change is difficult to embrace, but I will assure you that, in the end, implementing eLogs is the right thing to do, not just for your company but more importantly, for your drivers.

Sherri Garner Brumbaugh

President and Owner

Garner Transportation Group

Findlay, Ohio