In The News

Driving, and Your Performance

By Brandon Baxter - Staff Writer
Posted Jul 10th 2024 8:00AM

Even before the driver-dreaded ELD mandate and enforcement of electronic logs, there was already an uneasy period of time in which drivers were either scared to death of what was the unknown world of satellite tracking and monitoring, or just brazenly naïve as to how damaging an unkempt HOS (Hours of Service) logbook could be in terms of determining their next trucking employer.

How It Used To Be

It used to be quite common that commercial drivers were once considered the rulers of the road. Four wheeled vehicles, and their operators, weren’t brave enough to get in the way of a roaring semi. And truckers were simply viewed as honest-living folks who were on a mission to deliver their goods, as well as earn a modest paycheck.

Were there some drivers who were willing to take advantage of looser driving restrictions, back in the day? Of course. But were there also those who were happy to haul freight across the country and do so by abiding the laws of the land? Also, yes.

However, as time progressed, it was realized that the ability to drastically increase one’s earnings were undeniable if truckers were willing to take matters into their own hands. That often meant a rise in hours-of-service violations due to drivers carrying multiple logbooks in their trucks, fudging their numbers, and producing cross-country treks that would make Clark W. Griswold jealous.

Enter the further involvement of the FMCSA, and what many trucking veterans refer to as the over-regulation of the industry. Electronic logs.

How It Is Today

Since December 2017, the ELD mandate has been in effect. In that timeframe, companies have found that driver HOS violations have dropped considerably. However, some ramifications of the mandate have shown increases in accidents and unsafe driving citations. Many of these obstacles can certainly be avoided, but not all blame should be placed on the ones behind the wheel.

Trucking companies, especially within their dispatch and operations departments, often encourage drivers to take additional risks in the name of faster freight delivery. Drivers are made to feel added pressure to drive faster, or even more recklessly, just to try and shave off a few minutes from their clock.

Do not fall into this trap.

The possibility of being involved in an accident, or cited for unsafe operation, speeding, or improper lane usage, will only threaten a driver’s livelihood in the long run. Once a multitude of violations have been reported on a driver’s DAC history or PSP, it’s difficult for a dispute to be made, or to even back up their claims that it may not have been entirely their fault. This is a losing battle.

Our community of truck driving professionals deserve better. They put their necks on the line each and every time they punch “available” into their ELDs. It’s their lives, income, and the lives of countless others which are negatively affected the most. Fair or unfair, driving performance is something truckers should always be mindful of.

So, keep on truckin’ and give it your best every day. The way you carry yourself and how well you perform on the road will eventually outweigh that one load you passed up because you didn’t feel you could safely complete the trip. Be smart about your current driving situation because you never know how it may affect your future.