Research Impacts - Polls

Study Examines Whether Commercial Truck Drivers Are Harassed.

Release Date: 8/29/2016
 
Study Examines Whether Commercial Truck Drivers Are Harassed.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is an agency within the United States Department of Transportation, whose primary mission is to “prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.”[1]

On December 10, 2015, FMCSA announced a Final Rule to strengthen commercial truck and bus drivers’ compliance with hours-of-service regulations that prevent fatigue by mandating the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) by December 18, 2017.[2] 
On an annual average basis, the ELD Final Rule is estimated to save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries resulting from crashes involving large commercial motor vehicles.

The Final Rule requiring the use of ELDs will result in an annual net benefit of more than $1 billion – largely by reducing the amount of required industry paperwork.  It will also increase the efficiency of roadside law enforcement personnel in reviewing driver records.  Strict protections are included that will protect commercial drivers from harassment.

In 2014, Abt SRBI conducted research on behalf of the FMCSA and MaineWay Services, prime contractor, to study the issue of driver harassment as it relates to ELD use. We interviewed over 600 truck drivers at 24 truck stops spread across the continental United States, and asked them questions regarding the method they use to log their HOS (paper or ELD), the interactions they have with their carriers and dispatchers, and whether they considered those interactions harassment. The key findings were:
  • Few drivers regularly experience interactions which they consider harassment.
  • There is very little difference between drivers who log with ELDs and those who log with paper as far as experiencing interactions which they considered harassment. The “occasional differences are rarely statistically significant, and this rarity suggests they may be due to chance.”[3]
  • Drivers who use ELDs were also asked if the interactions they have with their carriers are made possible due to the HOS logging capability of their ELDs (as opposed to other fleet management functionalities such as GPS tracking). Only 2 percent of them associated any of the harassing interactions they experience with the HOS logging capability.
Surveys conducted with carriers led to similar conclusions.

The failure to find differences in harassment experiences between drivers who log with ELDs and those who log with paper suggests that ELDs do not lead to greater driver harassment.

The project was led by Frank Lynch (Senior Analyst), with significant assistance from Tanya Rodríguez (Analyst) and Stas Kolenikov (Principal Survey Scientist).

For more information regarding FMCSA’s electronic logging devices Final Rule, visit: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/electronic-logging-devices


[1] FMCSA Web site: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/mission/about-us; retrieved March 12, 2015.
*2 FMCSA Web site: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/electronic-logging-devices-be-required-across-commercial-truck-and-bus-industries
[2] FMCSA Web site: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/electronic-logging-devices-be-required-across-commercial-truck-and-bus-industries
[3] Lynch, F; Kolenikov, S; et al.: Attitudes of Truck Drivers and Carriers on the Use of Electronic Logging Devices and Driver Harassment. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 2014., p. xiv; available at http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/54000/54100/54178/RRR-14-009-Attitudes_of_Truck_Drivers_and_Carriers_on_the_Use_of_ELDs_and_Harassment-V11-FINAL.pdf