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Fuel for Thought

Make A Law and Someone Will Break It

By Greg Huggins
Posted Mar 12th 2018 4:15AM

For every rule, there is a rule breaker. Pass a new regulation and someone will not abide. Enact a mandate and someone will not comply.

“Outlaw trucker” is a term widely used. Everyone in the transportation industry, for any length of time, has heard or used this term. As the name implies, it refers to a truck driver who bends, skirts, or flat out breaks the laws, regulations and/or mandates that govern the use of commercial vehicles on our highways. The outlaw trucker simply does whatever he or she feels is better for them regardless of how it affects other motorists, other's safety or our industry, until they are caught, if they are caught. The outlaw trucker has some history, it goes back many years. Before technology crept into the transportation industry, truckers ran largely on the honor system. Make no mistake, truckers had honor when it pertained to helping a fellow trucker or even those pesky four wheelers, but when it came to laws and regulations, many saw it as ”It's okay as long as no one knows” and “ I just need a little more time to get there and I will fix the log later”. Once technology found a place in the the trucker’s cab, there seemed to be a reversal of that honor system. Today, you rarely see one driver help another, but you can always find some watchers. Now with the ELD, the “extra time to get there” is gone, yet some drivers and organizations are fighting to return to the “outlaw style” paper log books. Even with the ELDs, many still look to find loopholes like buying an exempt truck or running local. With the newer “plug and play” portable ELDs, like phone and tablet apps, I wonder how many outlaw truckers now have several devices so they can still “choose a logbook with available hours”? It seems like a hard wired system would be more difficult to manipulate, whereas the phone and tablet models could be exchanged easily from one to another. Then just as on paper logs, create a new 7 day prior and continue on. Laws, regulations and mandates are useless without enforcement.

Does it seem funny to anyone else that we have the term “outlaw” trucker? Has anyone ever heard of a Renegade Retailer? A Desperado Dry Cleaner? A Villainous Valet? A Miscreant Manager? A Hoodlum Hairstylist? A Marauding Machinist? If you have, did they wear the title as a Badge of Honor? Probably not, but a number of drivers have embraced the black eye of the transportation industry known as the “outlaw” truck driver.

Slowly our industry is reducing the number of outlaw truckers, but will the outlaw or the stigma ever go away? Probably not, as the title of this article says, make a law and someone will break it.


See you down the road,



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