It would be nice if you could qualify for a job then just get on and do it. In most workplaces, the job evolves over time, generally for the better. Truck driving is no different – you can’t obtain a commercial drivers license then work as a truck driver, oblivious to everything else. Truck driving as a job is evolving, sometimes for the better and sometimes not depending on which side of the fence you are sitting.
There are moves afoot to bring in electronic log books. In fact, some trucking companies have already introduced them ahead of their forced implementation, perhaps as early as September this year. An electronic log book will remove the onus of recording hours from a truck driver, and for those who struggle to maintain their log books, this could be a win. However, there are those who do fudge their log books a little, and for them, electronic log books will be a real hassle – they will be forced to follow truck driving regulations to the letter.
Electronic log books are a little like the black boxes that investigators rely on after a plane crash. Like those black boxes, the data on electronic log books cannot be altered in any way. This is just one of the changes that truck drivers will face, or have faced. We have already seen a decrease in the number of hours a truck driver can spend in their truck (and electronic log books are designed to record this data), and an increase in the number of hours that a driver will have to spend away from their truck.
Other changes that are mooted for the future include a national clearing house for data related to drug and alcohol infringements. An employer will be able to access this clearing house to determine a potential driver’s history before hiring them – and this data will be collected nationally, not just locally. Gone will be the days where a driver is caught over the limit in one state yet free to drive in another state.
The times are changing for truck drivers, and it is a truck driver’s responsibility to keep themselves up-to-date on any changes to regulations. Truck driver training needs to include the latest information on truck driving regulations and information on how truck drivers can keep themselves up-to-date. Don’t rely on your employer to pass on information related to regulation changes since those changes are not always in their best interests – if they can stretch the implementation of any changes, they will. Don’t let it be at your expense.