Buckle Up Buttercup!

ELDs on the Menu Today!

Alright, buckle up buttercups because we’re about to talk about ELD logs! Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Oh great, another boring article about trucking regulations.” But trust me, this is going to be a wild ride. We’re going to dive deep into the world of electronic logging devices and explore everything you need to know about them.

What is an ELD?

First things first, what is an ELD? Essentially, an ELD is a digital logbook that records a truck driver’s hours of service (HOS). It’s designed to replace the traditional paper logbook drivers used to track their hours. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandated the use of ELDs to improve safety and prevent driver fatigue.

Now, you might be thinking, “Why do we need ELDs? Can’t drivers just use paper logs?” Well, let me tell you, honey, paper logs are a thing of the past. They’re unreliable, easily falsified, and can be a pain in the butt to keep track of. ELDs are much more accurate, efficient, and user-friendly. Plus, they help keep drivers safe by ensuring they don’t exceed their hours of service and risk driving while fatigued.

But let’s be real, not everyone is thrilled about the idea of ELDs. Some truckers see them as an invasion of privacy or a way for their employers to micromanage them. And I get it, change can be scary. But trust me, once you get used to using an ELD, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one.

Let’s Talk Benefits of ELD Shall We?

One of the main benefits of ELDs is that they save time. No more wasting hours on end filling out paper logs or trying to do mental math to figure out how many hours you have left in a day. ELDs do all the work for you, automatically tracking your driving time and alerting you when you’re getting close to your HOS limit. Plus, they make it easier to report your hours to your employer, which can help speed up the payroll process.

Another benefit of ELDs is that they’re more accurate than paper logs. Paper logs make it easy to make a mistake or forget to fill something out accidentally. But with ELDs, everything is automatically recorded and time-stamped. This means that if there’s ever a dispute over your hours of service, you’ll have a clear and accurate record to back you up.

Alright, Negative Nellie’s Your Turn

But let’s not forget about the downsides of ELDs. For starters, they can be expensive. Depending on the type of ELD you get, you could be looking at hundreds or even thousands of dollars. And while some carriers might provide ELDs to their drivers for free, not all of them do. So, if you’re an independent owner-operator, you’ll have to foot the bill yourself.

Another downside of ELDs is that they can be a pain to install and set up. If you’re not tech-savvy, it can be a real headache trying to figure out how to install the device and get it connected to your truck’s engine. Plus, there’s always the risk of technical glitches or malfunctions, which can cause even more headaches.

But perhaps the biggest downside of ELDs is that they can feel like a Big Brother watching over your shoulder. With ELDs, your employer can see exactly where you are and how long you’ve been driving at any given time. And while this can be helpful for safety reasons, it can also feel like an invasion of privacy. Plus, some drivers worry that ELDs could be used against them in the event of an accident or other legal dispute.

So, there you have it folks, the good, the ugly.

Let’s Put This In Your Wheelhouse

Now I know that reading all that was taxing. I know that everyone has an opinion on these. But let’s dig into WHY we all have an opinion and what it means.

Now, I am going to be totally controversial here, so DO NOT COME AT ME!

We work and drive in one of the MOST REGULATED industries in the world. Truck drivers are mostly “controlled” by those who have never even been INSIDE the CAB of a semi, much less driven one or LIVED in one. So that is why MOST of us have an opinion about this mandate for ELDs. It is strictly because, if you trusted me with thousands of dollars worth of equipment, much less trusting me with 84 feet of steel, diesel, and power, then why don’t you trust me to manage my time? I KNOW when I am tired, the clock does not. I know how to trip plan, the clock does not. I KNOW what my employer requires, my clock does not. It is MY job alone to manage and maintain my hours.

I will say that when I started driving, ELDs were making their splash on the scene and becoming a requirement, so I only got to use the paper logs for a short window of time. I really enjoyed it. However, it also stressed me out. I am a perfectionist so making sure my lines and times were straight in my “coloring book” (affectionately called in the industry) was rough. All that to say that the transition for me wasn’t as rough as it must be for the “old timers”.

Why does it matter?

Have you noticed that in the world today, in my opinion only everyone seems to think that we are out to get away with whatever we can? All because ONE bad apple in the bunch burned someone to get ahead. Are trucks dangerous? YES! If not maintained and driven properly. Are truck drivers dangerous? NOT as a whole! It seems that with the installation of ELDs they are mandating further that we cannot be trusted with whatever they want us to do. Now, for ME personally, it doesn’t bother me. Let me explain myself, I know my clock and my hours. I am seriously anal-retentive about it. I do NOT want the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association) to have a reason to come for me!! EVER!! I am not one of those pushing the envelope, I am not out to commit crimes. I am one of the ones that love what I do.

Now all that to be said, I know that there are drivers out there that aren’t safe, that don’t care that just treat this as a paycheck. Those are the dangerous ones because they simply don’t care. Ready for more controversy that I will catch hate for?

This next generation after Generation X, isn’t going to be as into what we do as we are. They are all about automation, they want the EASY path. Well buttercup, that doesn’t exist. Look at history. We are bound to fail if we keep repeating it!! We have had to deregulate the trucking industry TWICE because it got to be where we COULD NOT do the job.

I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this subject.

Thanks for taking the time to read! Have a great day! As always, Happy Trucking!

5 Comments

  1. Automation can be a good things, but it can also take over the personal control that some people prefer. Electronic logging devices for truckers can be a controversial topic. I can see both sides of the argument, as it can add safety for drivers that might not realise how many hours they have been behind the wheels. 

    But it can also make many feel as if they are not being trusted and that Bg Brother is watching them. ELDs cannot replace the personal relationship between a driver and the boss, but it is important to discuss any misgivings and concerns with your employer. 

    Personally I think using EDL is easier than using a paper log, but each unto his or her own. 

  2. Hi there, Les and Tammie.

    Thank you for sharing your website, lifestyles, and great trucking experiences.
    I’ve been thinking more about this career path for my stepson. He wants to make a career change. He says that he doesn’t want to be stuck sitting in an office all of his life.

    Lately, he has transitioned from his day job at a call center and is selling shoes online and says he wants another way to make a decent salary. I will point him in the direction of your website. this could be his lucky day.

    Rachele

  3. Being someone who is really interested in the trucking industry, I found your blog post to be very informative and engaging. I appreciate the way you delve into the complexities of trucking and offer your own experiences and insights into the industry (thanks a lot for that by the way).

    Your writing style is easy to read and it’s evident that you are passionate about what you do. Your advice and tips for aspiring truckers are practical and well-thought-out, and I can see how they could be helpful for someone just starting out in this field.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with us. Keep up the great work!

    1. Thank you for your reply!! I am glad I was able to help, is there something that I might be able to help you with in getting started that you would like to see?Just let me kno!

  4. Hey there!

    It’s great to see that the trucking industry has modernized with the implementation of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). As someone who has always been fascinated by “big rigs,” I have often wondered what those letters on the side of semis stood for. I agree that the old paper log system seemed outdated and unreliable. ELDs seem to make the process more streamlined and efficient. It’s amazing to think about how vital the trucking industry is to our daily lives and how this technology helps ensure the safe and timely delivery of goods.

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