Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) are big in the news right now, after a study seemed to indicate that they did not prevent accidents.
But what we know is that the trucking business is full of lawless operators who skirt the rules for gain. It’s always been that way, since the days of ‘convoy’ (the song) and the deregulation of trucking, which fostered independent owner-operators.
And we’ve also seen what appears to be an increase in highway accidents that have a big rig involved. It’s not a big increase, and might not be significant statistically. But any accidents involving heavy-duty trucks are serious business and we should be working to reduce them. Especially trucking firms and the drivers; no business wants to have a reputation for accidents.
IF ELDs are not used properly, like any technology, they can be used to prevent the goals they were created to achieve.
In this article below, we have positive information, in the form of a video, that appears to show an actual ELD manufacturer’s agent creating a ghost driver when the regular driver runs out of hours on their HOS. It seems it was done on the initiative of the trucking firm the driver was hauling for.
That this is even possible with the equipment means that regulation of ELDs and their functions is out of control, and therefore any study done with recent history does not indicate what could be accomplished with properly-controlled ELDs. The FMCSA has not been empowered to provide proper oversight for the use of ELDs, nor are penalties severe enough. It’s too easy to break the rules.
It’s interesting reading how the reporter followed up. It seems that here the driver was the good guy, blowing the whistle on the trucking firm and the manufacturer. In fact, it isn’t clear how the manufacturer can be held responsible, since some shenanigans concerning ownership took place just as the video was coming to regulators’ attention. It’s possible this was done to prevent assignment of blame.
I’m sick of people who use the recent study about ELDs and accidents as a way to try to get ELD mandates thrown out, or HOS hours rules changed.
Instead, if we are serious about cutting down truck accidents, and if we want the advantages of proper ELD operation, we need to make sure the devices can’t be hacked. That means controls on the manufacture of devices, and it means harsh penalties for trucking firms, equipment manufacturers, and for drivers who abuse the technology.
Technology is only as good as the people who use it will let it be. Bad actors don’t care about trucking accidents and the harm to the public.
Clarissa Hawes·Thursday, March 30, 2023Video shows ‘ghost co-driver’ added to trucker’s ELD to skirt HOS rules – FreightWaves