OOIDA Foundation calls out FMCSA survey on ELDs and driver harassment

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | 11/19/2014

The data says one thing, but the conclusion points to another. That’s the way the OOIDA Foundation feels about the recent FMCSA survey of truck drivers on the use of electronic logging devices and driver harassment by motor carriers.

The survey, commissioned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and conducted by MaineWay Services, shows what amounts to tens of thousands of professional truckers being harassed by their motor carriers, asked or forced to break the rules, and asked or forced to cheat on their hours of service.

FMCSA states that driver harassment is out there but is “not a very common occurrence.” The survey also said unrealistic load schedules, job threats, interruptions during rest breaks and other forms of harassment could not be tied to the use of electronic logs.

“Based on driver responses, this is not a very common occurrence,” survey researchers stated. “Only 4 percent of paper-logging drivers and 3 percent of ELD-logging drivers said this had happened to them, which was an insignificant difference according to HOS logging method.”

In a written response to the survey, the Foundation arm of  the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association takes issue with the findings and conclusions.

“Despite the insignificant difference between HOS logging methods, the statement above demonstrated that the practice of asking a driver to break the HOS regulations or to operate when they felt ill or fatigued is far from just a rare occurrence. Regardless of HOS logging method, this practice overall would affect 161,000 drivers, including 69,000 drivers that use ELDs,” the Foundation stated.

FMCSA believes that an industry-wide mandate for electronic logging devices would improve hours-of-service compliance for drivers and therefore improve safety.

The Foundation says the numbers just aren’t there to make that conclusion.

“… MaineWay’s study has demonstrated that thousands of drivers are experiencing harassment that might contribute to fatigue, and a part of that harassment is instituted by carriers that utilize ELDs,” the Foundation stated.

“Thus, the research has validated that ELDs do not increase HOS compliance and, in fact, contribute to the overall problem of fatigue. Furthermore, the study also validated that ELDs can be cheated, and do not always record HOS as accurately as the agency has suggested.”

See related story:
FMCSA study shows driver harassment prevalent but does not tie it to e-logs

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