Are Truck Drivers Facing a Privacy Invasion?
Despite rumors about autonomous trucks, many drivers view this new technology as the least of their worries – at least for the time being.
While the freight transport industry is one with plenty of risk, the 3.5 million drivers on Americas roads are truly an underappreciated group. Truck drivers are used to being regulated, monitored, and watched in their field. But everything has its limits.
Drivers are feeling more than the normal stresses of the road lately. With the compliance deadline for a new ELD mandate growing near, many drivers and carriers are expressing concern about a growing issue in their field – a lack of privacy.
Replacing paper log books with electronic logging devices is a big change in the freight industry. When it was first discussed years ago, the reasoning was clear. Several stories concerning fatigue-related accidents implied some drivers were skipping their rest breaks and ignoring hours-of-service rules. Electronic logging devices prevent logs from being filled out after the fact, making it harder to tamper with them and get away with violations.
However, this type of stringent measure doesn’t sit well with everyone. Though the privacy argument has been discussed in court (and subsequently dismissed), many drivers and carriers are still hesitant about being tracked so precisely.
While GPS tracking has always been a part of logistics, a driver’s route isn’t all carriers are interested in. They also want to know their drivers are drug free. While most drivers are happy to comply with standard urinalysis tests, an upcoming change may pose another privacy-related issue.
A switch to hair tests would make it easier to detect recreational drugs in a driver’s system. However, follicle tests can reveal details about a driver’s system from months ago. This is another example of a policy which may make privacy as drivers know it a thing of the past.