You’ve all heard the debates about paper logs vs. electronic. Our fleet has always used electronic logging devices (ELDs), so there’s no debate here at Tempus. It looks like the December 2017 mandate that all commercial vehicles (with a few exceptions that wouldn’t apply to over-the-road drivers) be equipped with ELDs won’t be pushed back. However, we occasionally have prospective drivers ask whether we’re still using paper.
Complying with FMCSA regulations is a no-brainer for our business. That said, paper logs are quickly becoming synonymous with fraudulent logging. The drivers still using them are largely afraid they can’t be profitable by following hour of service (HOS) rules. Truthfully, if you practice good trip planning, maintain your equipment, are strategic about load selection, and (in the case of expedite drivers) maximize your availability, you can run legally, efficiently, and profitably.
Through proper use of an ELD, you show DOT that you’re driving legally, and any improper logging or violations are automatically flagged. You can’t fudge your hours or claim you were somewhere you weren’t. With paper logs, you leave yourself open to the examiner’s decision. Say you’ve caused an accident and the examiner decides you weren’t completing your paper logs correctly, or that you were over your hours. Who do you think the hammer comes down on in this case? It’s you and your future career as a trucker.
There are a lot of drivers out there on the road who have a lot of experience and are running scared because they know they’ve made some questionable decisions on their paper logs. Being in this legal gray zone jeopardizes your future. We offer our drivers extensive support to ensure they can run safely, legally, and profitably. Our driver hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, because we know trucking is a 24-7 business. Do our drivers occasionally run into HOS situations that could’ve been avoided by fudging a paper log? Of course. Our team is here to help them manage those situations so that they can fulfill customers’ needs while staying safe and legal.