Do ELDs Affect Trucker Privacy

Are you worried that the new Electronic Logging mandate will impose on your privacy? You are not the only one; many truck drivers are. The point behind installing the electronic logging device (ELD) is not to infringe on trucker privacy or rights but instead to help with Hours of Service (HOS) rule compliance to limit their driving time on the road.

Will the ELD Affect Truck Driver Privacy?

Many myths are floating out there in cyberspace regarding ELD and trucker privacy. Read below, where we have identified the five most common myths and facts about the ELD and how it affects truck driver privacy.

Myth: ELDs will require truck drivers to be distracted by interacting while driving

Fact: The driver will log onto the device and select the status of their situation by selecting “off-duty status” or “sleeper berth.” The electronic logging device can detect when the truck is in motion and knows the difference between “driving and on-duty status not driving.” The ELD will automatically update accordingly. ELDs require no interaction from the drivers. There is a countdown timer that will alert the driver with audible alerts to keep the driver updated when they’re running low on hours. This allows enough time for the driver to find a safe place to take a break before reaching the HOS regulations.

Myth: ELDs will report to law enforcement any HOS violations

Fact: Reporting of Hours of Service is only done during a roadside inspection, traffic infractions, or FMCSA compliance audit. The ELD will not automatically transmit any violations without proper manual prompting. One benefit of the ELD instead of paper logs is the inspections go faster. Officials can see and verify areas of concern and compliance at a glance. When inspections go faster, the driver can return to the road more quickly.

Myth: Drivers are being watched by the Government, violating truck driver privacy

Fact: The only people able to see driving hours, sleeping patterns, or locations is the driver’s company. Usually, there is someone in the company who is authorized to view ELD data and will be able to pinpoint the truck location. There are regulations in place for privacy provisions, including location data is only available for a 10-mile radius. Other than the company, the only time someone will know your driving details is if you are subject to inspection. Simply put, the DOT will not know your every move. It’s the same process as an audit of your paper logs, except ELDs save time and are more accurate.

Myth: ELDs won’t and don’t improve truck and driver safety

Fact: The cold, hard fact is that the only one who can control the truck is the driver. No, an ELDs will not dictate or control lane changes, following distances, or, at this point, driver speed. What they do is let the dispatcher and the driver know how much driving time they have left. This spirals down to smarter dispatching decisions, less fatigued drivers, and overall keeps the driver and other drivers safe while on the road. However, FMCSA released a report on “Evaluating the Potential Safety Benefits of Electronic Hours-of-Service Recorders Final Report.” In this report, it found that drivers using e-logs instead of paper logbooks had a lower crash rate. This means an 11.7% reduction in total crash rates and a 5.1% lower preventable crash rate than trucks not using electronic logs.

Myth: ELDs will make it impossible for owner-operators to make money

Fact: ELDs can be a source of revenue by slashing costs. This will track and charge for the time the shipper detains a driver. When detained, valuable driving hours are wasted, and the driver can bill for that time. ELDs help a driver or owner-operator identify behaviors that cut into profits, idling, speeding, and hard braking. Once these areas are identified and corrected, it helps save and improve fuel economy, thus saving drivers money. ELDs also save on paperwork costs. Let’s face it: paper log books are not cheap!

The goal of the ELD is to reduce violations in traffic accidents and give fleet owners more information about their operations. This also helps future planning and avoidance of violations before they occur. The ELD mandate is not out to shut drivers and owner-operators down.

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear or Read

Don’t believe everything you read on the internet” – Abraham Lincoln

Mostly, rumors and myths come from people who are uncertain of what this change will mean for them. Drivers should not be worried and should do extensive research to understand better how the ELD will and can benefit them.

Partnering up with a non-forced dispatch company like Landstar will help ensure you aren’t going over the Hours-of-Service Rules, with or without the ELD mandate.