Concerned about rising paper costs? You can thank the U.S. government for some of that, according to some truck drivers. The electronic-logging device (ELD) mandate is supposed to protect truckers and make their jobs safer. But some say it’s causing more harm than good – and raising the price of shipping.
“The US government is forcing Steven Wright to take naps,” writes Rachel Premack in Business Insider.
“The 47-year-old college graduate has been a long-haul truck driver since 1995. He used to set his own schedule during his nearly 100-hour workweeks: He’d drive for eight hours, take a nap for four to six hours as the receiving company slowly unloaded his truck, and then drive for another five hours or so before getting a proper sleep.”
Those days are gone, thanks to the ELD mandate.
“Since December, drivers like Wright have been required to keep an electronic-logging device (ELD) in their trucks to ensure they don’t drive for more than 11 hours a day, work 14 hours a day total, and take regular breaks.”
The problem, according to Wright, is that the “work day” includes not just driving time, but also time spent waiting for trucks to be loaded or unloaded – time when drivers often rest or sleep.
“The electronic logs are supposed to make it safer, but really it has created a hazardous race to beat the clock,” truck driver Steve Manley told Business Insider. “Drivers are now more reckless than ever trying to make it to their destination before the clock runs out with the mandatory breaks and such.”
The result is that many experienced truckers are leaving the industry thanks to curtailed freedoms and lower earnings. And the trucking industry is reeling from a lack of qualified drivers.
As a result, the cost of everything we consume – from paper goods to groceries to raw materials – is going up. It’s hitting the paper industry as well which publishers and catalogers have seen.
We support safer highways and better working conditions – but let’s make sure the legislation makes sense on a practical level. Maybe if the folks making the laws were required to do a ride-along, we might see some common sense built into the ELD requirements. Is that too much to ask?