Tracking Truckers: Electronic Devices Replace Paper Log Books

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YATESVILLE -- Trucking companies across the United States will soon enter a new era when it comes to logging drivers' time on the road.

Traditionally, drivers use paper logs to prove they didn't drive too long in one day. But starting next month, tractor-trailers will be required to have electronic logging devices.

One trucking company in Luzerne County has been using this type of technology for nearly 10 years.

Could electronic logging devices be the answer to a problem on the road, a problem some tractor-trailer companies face when it comes to keeping track of drivers' hours on the road?

Robert Danko, a truck driver at Calex Logistics in Pittston seems to think so. He logs into his electronic device every time he hits the road.

"In a good way, it reminds the drivers you have certain rules. This is it. You can't drive beyond those rules because if you start to drive the truck, it's not going to do good moving it anyhow. It keeps the honest people honest," Danko said.

Starting December 18, the use of electronic logging will be federally mandated for trucking companies as part of a safer work environment act called "MAP 21."

Thomas Grimes, the chief operating officer at Calex Logistics, tells Newswatch 16 the company has been using this technology for almost 10 years.

"It gives our employees, our operators, a better way to plan," Grimes said. "They know exactly what they can do. It takes no interpretation. It is what is it. It is black and white."

Truck drivers typically use a paper log to keep track of hours, but drivers say that method makes it easier to lose track of hours and spend too much time on the road.

State police say that's what happened last year in Lackawanna County.

A tow truck operator was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 81 near Clarks Summit. Troopers believe the trucker from Massachusetts was falsifying his driving log and had been driving 35 hours without a significant break at the time of the crash.

"You've heard stories about big trucks. Did the driver sleep? There have been accidents. This takes all of that out of the equation. Everything is on the ELD, accounted for, every minute of every day," said Grimes.

For decades, all drivers have known was paper logging, but a piece of paper has its limitations, and that caused a lot of safety concerns. The machine not only tracks a driver's time on the road and their location, but it takes all that information and sends it right back to headquarters where it's updated by the minute.

Different computer screens are used to track drivers.

A monitor shows where crews are across the country; some travel as far as California.

Another monitor shows where crews have stopped, their current speed, and estimated time of arrival to their final destination.

The device will also give drivers a countdown to when it's time to pull over before they are in violation.

"It protects the driver for the amount of hours that you need to work. It protects the company. Everyone knows exactly what happened. It protects us and the motoring public," Danko said.

The electronic logging devices can be expensive depending on the company.

Calex has 200 installed in its fleet.

"The unit, or the brain if you will, comes with the truck if you buy it from the manufacturer. It's similar to your cell phone. It costs $200 to turn it on and there is a monthly fee and it's approximately $50 dollars a month per vehicle," Grimes explained.

After December 18, drivers without ELDs will face heavy fines and penalties.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is offering a guideline and other important facts to trucking companies about the mandate.


  • The Junto

    Large companies have multiple low pay/ low experience drivers using one truck to avoid over the road inspections and cheat the logs. They are burying the people that keep their trucks safe as to not harm you when you travel. Make sense?

  • George Sitar

    Dear WNEP: This elog crap is not set in stone. There is a huge push in the trucking community (along with many lawmakers) trying to get this postponed or dropped. Maybe if you actually did some research, you would know this.

  • troutlover

    YEA!!!! Now let’s allow the the State Police to issue speeding tickets to these CDL boys based on the speed that was recorded by these machines! Maybe we can finally reduce the life taking accidents that test cretins cause every day on our highways!

    • George Sitar

      I asked these questions to the Owner Operator Independent Driver Association based in Grain Valley MO: ” Do ELD’s record the speed of a truck, and what is the percentage rate of passenger vehicle vs. large truck accidents that is the fault of the passenger vehicle?”
      Their response was this: “Not sure about the speed. It would probably vary depending on the individual device makers and software.
      The trucker at-fault rate is said to be anywhere between 20-30 percent. Cars are said to be at fault 75-80 percent of the time.”

  • Never Ends

    The real problem here among many is the 14 hour day. How do you expect a driver who is compensated by the mile to make a living when he starts his day at whatever time, sits at a loading dock for 6 hours, then sits in backups and construction for another 2 or 3 hours, rush hour traffic, and I have seen times when it took four and a half hours to get through Chicago and all that time counts toward the 14 hour day which does not allow for breaks or sleeper time or any other delay and is all counted toward the 14 hours when you must stop and you have only traveled maybe a 100 miles if your lucky @ .39 a mile that comes out to $39.00 and you haven`t even stopped for fuel which may take an hour and counts to the 14 hour day. Other comments have hit the nail on the head, this is for the mega carriers to put the small carriers and owner operators out of business which is why they hire, train, and use inexperienced drivers which is the real reason why you see daily trucking accidents of rollovers, telephone polls taken out and I remember recently when one of them hit a house and took off running. Large trucking companies are looking for people who haven`t figured it out yet and have no clue what a good pay check should look like. O/Os and small carriers can and have run circles around the big carriers which is why the ATA which represents them lobbied for ELDs and next will come mandated speed limiters to level the playing field. This is why trucking companies have 115 % turnover rate and is higher than nursing homes while drivers hop from job to job looking to make a decent living. Large companies will use ELDs to squeeze all the production time they can get whether the driver is tired or not, government regulation at it`s best. It is a good thing the government does not regulate shoes, we would all be wearing a size ten. One thing you can take to the bank, this is going to cost all of us as companies try to figure out a way to compensate drivers which I can assure you won`t be much higher than minimum wage and pass those costs through to the shipper who will add it to the product speaking of which produce haulers are going to lose a trip a week and if you have to wait till they get it out of the field in Salinas Ca because it rained, it is not going to be all that fresh when it gets to Hunts Point N.Y. or Boston and that price will go up. This has nothing to do with safety or being honest it` could competitive strategy via government regulations, follow the money.

  • Bruce

    What about the Walmart driver on e-logs that hit the limo killing the comedians friend and injuring the others because he was tired but elf said he had to drive


    I’m betting that trucking companies are for the E logs because it will lower their insurance premiums.

    Remember folks
    They never make a move that benefits you.

    It will always cost you something !!


    Mr Robert Danko, as a truck driver making a comment ” It keeps the honest people honest “.
    Really ? And I am sure after driving all week, it’s Friday and you are 30 minutes from home, you are out of hours, you park your truck instead of continuing to drive to get home. LIAR !!!!!
    And for these ELD devices, ” Federally mandated ” need I say anymore ? Just another expense that the independent trucker has to incur.

  • Thomas Valenta

    E-logs are dangerous they will make drivers drive when they are tired! I’m driving 30+years been in and around truckso sense age 11 ,I’m 57 now MILLIONS of miles 2 log book violations in my life and it’s was 1 that was my fault for not writing my start time the other becomes dot officer used central time not my home time eastern time . It’s not about lying on log books! Because the company at the home base can change the log books at anytime they want so that drivers can still go on this is about the ATA American Trucking Association and big companies putting little companies out of business and owner-operators out of business this is this is so unsafe that trucks will be parking everywhere on exit ramps on parking lot where you don’t need to be this is going to cause a lot of bad things I’ve been driving for over 35 years and this will be the end of my career because I will not have a electronic logbook tell me when I can drive and when I can sleep I know when I’m tired and I go to sleep I know and I’m not tired and I can drive you should look into your story a little bit better before you start your broadcast with so truckers can’t lie you should look into the group Eld are me on facebook and then come up with a different story cuz this is going to put your family’s my family out on the interstates in danger with more tired drivers and drivers being forced to race a clock. As for the trucking company that you had on this I know drivers that drove for them and they change their logs at the office it’s okay Ford in the Y at the office to get their Freight where it’s got to be but it’s not okay for the driver to lie when he’s tired to go to sleep can you go to bed at 1 in the afternoon and sleep for 10 hours I know I can’t but when I work out on the road and if my days are running like that then I can but sitting at shippers and receivers for hours on hours and then they want you to drive. If your going to do a story then do it right, think a gallon of milk is a lot now wait when Freight being delivered late, because drivers are told to stop ,I’m done with my rant get your story straight before you do it

  • William Hughes

    What burns my a** is that D.O.T. allows charter bus drivers to stop their 14 hour clock when they go to “off duty”!! How is that safe? No clue what pencil pusher comes up with these rules, they evidently have no clue!!

  • Hank Hawley

    Drunk driving is a bigger issue in the area. Why doesn’t the government make every car on the road have a breathilizer installed, at the owners expense. ELDs don’t work for everybody, look into all the exemptions they have handed out. WNEP really needs to look into there news stories a little deeper than talking to one trucking company. The real problem in trucking is driver inexperience and how easy it is to obtain a CDL


      Because the judges, lawyers and police all have driven drunk at one time or another and they don’t want a harsh law put on them if and when they get caught.
      And that’s a fact !
      Now you know why the maximum sentence for a DUI that involves a death is only 5 years.

    • Never Ends

      Not to mention the trucking schools in North Jersey, N.Y. , Ca. and Florida that import drivers from other countries and put them all up in motels and train illegal immigrants and rubber stamp their CDLs even though they can`t even speak English. They had one outfit down in Florida where they got suspicious because all the CDLs had the same motel address. Swift, U.S. Express and many of these mega carriers have their own driver schools where they constantly turn out drivers who are poorly trained and inexperienced. They have to in order to keep up with the constant turnover rates. They would rather spend millions of dollars on technology than to give a driver a .50 cent raise or a decent mileage rate. Driver pays today allowing for inflation are the same as they were in the 70s.

  • Eye 4 Eye

    D.O.T must be getting some huge kickbacks from this electronic log book software company! Always a reason and it’s not public safety

    • John holt

      Eye 4eye, you have gotten all wrong it’s not dot getting kick backs ITS THE ATA that’s getting the kick backs, it’s always been well known that the ATA has been in the back pockets of the mega carriers for years, they don’t represent the owners opps nor the small trucking companies, the mega carriers are pushing the eld mandate so they can put the little guys out of business then what’s gonna happen is the mega carriers are gonna drop they’re freight rates so low that nobody can compete ,there is nothing safe about elogs because all you have to do is a little research on the mega carriers safety stats and you will find the worst safety rating in the country and yes all of them are on elogs,I drove for Werner for four years and they were a joke and believe me when I say this that most of they’re loads are already late for delivery before they’re even picked up I’ve run hot loads for them that had to get there on time(no matter what)I’ve have called dispatch to tell them I wasn’t gonna get to receivers on time due to running out of hours they would put me on hold and few minutes later my HOS ON QUALLCOM WOULD BE COMPLETELY CUT OFF) then they would get on the phone And tell me to get it there ASAP and me to call back when I get there,if it’s man made it can be beat I’ve always said and the biggest money on this stupid mandate is going to the eld manufacturers because of the billions of dollars they stand to make

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