A 2011 court ruling which questioned the possibility of increased driver harassment under the forthcoming Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate expected in 2015 was the impetus for a recently completed FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) survey.

The ELD mandate will require most drivers to replace paper logs with electronic logging. In addition to calling out standards for the devices and documentation proving compliance, the mandate will also protect drivers from harassment.

When carrying out the survey the FMCSA questioned both drivers and carriers about the type and frequency of their interactions. 628 drivers were asked to comment on a list of 14 interactions. The amount of harassment occurring more than twice a month was reported as follows:

  • Interruption of off-duty time with a message at unacceptable time. 28% (paper log) 29% (ELD)
  • Contacted driver promptly about a new task so driver didn’t have to wait without pay. 4% (P) 6% (ELD)
  • Required driver to wait for customer delays for more than 2 hours without pay. 16% (P) 22% (ELD)
  • Required driver to wait more than 2 hours between loads without pay. 15% (P) 20% (ELD)
  • Loads arranged to minimize delay time between loads. 3% (P) 7% (ELD)
  • Paid driver for customer delays when picking up or delivering freight. 2% (P) 5% (ELD)
  • Requested driver to meet a customer load schedule diver perceived unrealistic. 17% (P) 19% (ELD)
  • Asked a customer to adjust a load schedule so it was realistic for driver. 4% (P) 4% (ELD)
  • Asked driver to operate when he judged himself fatigued. 30% (P) 27% (ELD)
  • Asked driver to shut down if he felt fatigued. 4% (P) 4% (ELD)
  • Asked driver to log hours inaccurately to gain more work time or delay a break. 30% (P) 21% (ELD)
  • Asked driver to log hours properly when driver could have gained time or delayed a break by being inaccurate. 10% (P) 8% (ELD)
  • Amend driver log record after fact to gain more work time or delay a break. 22% (P) 16% (ELD)
  • Ask driver to take enough time off duty to recover from fatigue. 4% (P) 4% (ELD).
  • None of these. 42% (P) 42% (ELD)

Based on the results of the survey, the agency concludes that ELD logging does not cause increased harassment when ELDs are used to log HOS. In fact, the research shows that few truck drivers perceive harassment regardless of the method they use to log HOS. The slight differences in driver’s perceptions were statistically insignificant.

Interviews with the carriers supported the drivers’ assessment that harassment is not extensive. The publication, “Attitudes of Truck Drivers and Carriers on the Use of Electronic Logging Devices and Driver Harassment,” can be found in the Federal Register, Docket No. FMCSA-2010-0167. There is a 30 day public comment period.