SPRINGFIELD, Mo.–The pen and paper method used for logging driving hours in the trucking industry will soon be replaced with an electronic tracking device, sparking outrage for some Southwest Missouri drivers.
This is being required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and supported by the American Trucking Associations as a way to ensure that drivers are causing less accidents by not driving longer than eleven hours per day, but some drivers say they’re concerned the tracking device could put their safety at risk and they’re responsible for paying for them.
“I’ve been driving 36 years. That’s all I’ve ever done,” says truck driver, JR McCutcheon.
And in all that time, McCutcheon has never caused a crash. Neither has Kevin Killeen.
“I’ve been driving trucks since I was 18-years-old and I’ve never had an accident,” says Killeen.
So for these drivers, an electronic logging device to ensure safer driving is ludicrous and in fact, say it will do more harm than good.
“You got trucks rolling down the road with thousands upon thousands, millions of dollars of electronics on them. Well, if a hijacker finds out that truck’s loaded down with color tvs and all he’s got to do is push a button on his phone and shut the fuel off to the truck, what do you think that’s going to do to the driver?” asks Killeen.
“I park it at my house where me and my family live. I don’t want everybody in the world knowing where my house is and I should have that right because I own my truck,” says truck driver, Alex Brumley.
While safety is a concern, there’s also the issue of how the new tracking device could affect their wallets.
“We’ll have less time to do the delivery say a 500 mile run. I can do that in a day so say that pays me $1,000 a day. That’s what I need to make a profit in that truck so if I can’t do that run in a day now and now it’s taking me two days I’m not going to do that same run for $1,000,” says Killeen.
Meaning drivers will start charging more for their deliveries and that increase will trickle down to you.
“If my freight rate goes up to $1,500, the milk company and everybody else, they’re not going to pay for that, they’re going to pass that on to the consumer, which means that $3 a gallon now goes up to $4 dollars a gallon, $5 a gallon,” says Killeen.
The truckers are asking for the electronic logging device to be delayed at least two years until studies can prove that it will cause less accidents.
Until then, the tracking device is required to be implemented by the end of next week.
KOLR10 tried reaching out to the AMA and FMCSA for comment, but never heard back.