Sunday, October 1, 2017

The ELD Makes Me Drive Faster.

4727 km in Fifty-eight and a half hours work.
____ I have been using the electronic logging device for a few months now; alongside the paper ones. The office sent a message to say all was good and I could discontinue with the book; but I need something for my income tax returns and for my Canadian residency, so I'll continue writing it out until the end of the year at least. So how has it been? It hasn't been a problem; but my trips are very much the same and I have a good idea where I will be going and what I will encounter. So it should be easier than a driver who is new to trucking or one who does different trips every time.

____ One thing I have noticed is that I am driving faster. There is a big clock on my right that is ticking down and a speedometer on my left that is clicking up. Everything now seems like a race to get as much mileage done before the driving hours disappear. Early in the day; I go faster compensate for time I might lose later. Later in the day; I have the pedal to the metal, trying to make up for lost time. On paper logs; any time lost to delays was clawed back by cutting short the rest breaks by five minutes or so. Now every second counts on the rush back to Canada from the US. So far I haven't run out of time at a critical moment and put the timely delivery of the jeopardy.

____ But if the authorities think that Electronic Logs will make trucking safer then they have made a mistake. Driving faster cannot be safe. The heightened levels of stress cannot be safe as drivers strive to cope with unforgiving parameters. If I am noticing difficulties with an easy job then rookie drivers and those with more demanding jobs, such as flat-deck and heavy-haul, will be tearing their hair out. The answer to the problem has to be the end of Cents-per-mile as a pay structure. The dangling-carrot that makes drivers go faster and cut corners has to be replaced by hourly pay. There is now no excuse why trucking companies cannot pay drivers by the hour. The electronic logs will make sure drivers do not cheat the system and it is about time drivers were paid for all the hours they are on-duty.

____ But haulage rates are so low that companies cannot afford to pay drivers for when they are waiting to be loaded/unloaded or broken-down or waiting for the office to find their next job. But who's fault is that? No wonder that the industry is in such a bad state with a chronic driver shortage and so much disillusionment among those who have seen things go from bad to worse through bad company management and over-regulation by mis-guided governments. No wonder the youngsters of today do not consider truck-driving as a possible career.

____ Rant over. My cell-phone went full-cycle in the front-loading automatic washing-machine and died. Phones can do so much these days but why the hell aren't they water proof? It took most of Monday morning to replace my trusty old projectile-vomit-green I-phone with a nice new black and silver model. I lost all my contacts and a load of photos, so rolled into work without knowing what they had planned for me. Something different from South Texas; bobtail to Monon, Indiana, and collect a brand new trailer from Vanguard Industries.

____ Across the border at Warrord, into Minnesota and then Wisconsin for the first time in a long time. To Osseo for the night before crossing Chicago and down to Monon for the shiny-new tandem-axle dry-freight 53 foot box van. Sadly not a new addition to the Ruby Truckline fleet, but for a trailer rental company at Milton in Ontario. A load of cable for Brampton has been organised from the nearby town of Lebanon; loading Wednesday afternoon and delivering Thursday morning. A fast moving trip grinds to a halt once I have delivered the trailer to its new owners. Only mid-morning but the reload for my recently collected Ruby trailer is not until Friday. It all makes sense when I see that the customer is Ruby's next door neighbour in Steinbach.

____ But it does make for a difficult drive across the Greater Toronto Area and north to North Bay; pushing on to Kapuskasing but knowing I needed to get to Hearst if I was to complete the trip in just one more shift. Saturday is Kap to Dryden is long enough and par for the course; half a dozen trucks from the Flying'J at Kapuskasing are parked with me at Dryden after a day of constant leap-frog. Sunday is just a three and a half hour sprint back to the yard.

Weeks work

Bobtail miles per gallon.
Autumn colours starting to come through.
Armoured Humvees

1 comment:

  1. Spot on Chris. Like you I started on log books in the 70's then moved to tachos and then digital. Every time the pressure was ratcheted up and the stress made us all drive less safely. I believe the loss of camaraderie is also a result, who has time to stop and help? Well thought out piece. Stay safe