Letter: Invest in Devices, or Drivers?

This letter to the Editor appears in the Jan. 5 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today. ELDs More Stick Than Carrot

In the “stick or carrot” discussion of employee motivation and management, electronic logging devices typically are considered as and used as a “stick” against truck drivers.

Maybe this should be expected, as the two groups of people who commonly lead the list of proponents of ELDs are those who are less than knowledgeable about the actual driving of trucks, and ELD manufacturers.

ELDs are not install-and-forget devices. The machines take maintenance and updating, and the data take some work to extract and utilize. That considerable money and time usually could be better spent hiring, training and paying the driver who is doing the work.

That driver has the ability to make or break the operation, with or without a “watchful eye” attempting to micromanage his or her work.

Trucks equipped with ELDs crash every day.

The more across-the-board restrictions that we place on truck drivers, the less professionalism that we are showing that we expect of them.

How can this be an improvement to safety or to productivity? Each day, drivers make countless decisions based upon changing conditions of traffic, weather, schedules, equipment issues, their own alertness, and so on. However, you track the truck or whatever the hours that are available. The truck driver is a thinking person and simply cannot call in to dispatch before every decision. Drivers are trusted with the truck and load and company’s reputation and well-being every time that they put the truck into gear.

So if you run a trucking company and you have a dollar and a minute to invest, does it make more sense to spend those on a quality driver or on a device to monitor whatever driver you happened to hire?

Danny Schnautz

Vice President

Clark Freight Lines Inc.

Pasadena, Texas


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