One of the most Irksome things about being a truck driver in Australia is log books. No doubt other countries have similar tracking systems. In Australia many of the larger companies are moving to GPS tracking which monitors where drivers are, their speeds, driver fatigue etc.
Because it’s been scientifically proven some companies are even forcing drivers to maintain 90KPH speeds in 100 zones (in most states anything over 12 tonne is speed limited to 100KPH) because over the long haul of 10 hours and more the extra 10KPH doesn’t make enough difference in time to warrant the extra costs the speed has on things like the vehicle, the roads and the driver. It’s a simple thing many people don’t understand (some don’t want to understand) but slowing down doesn’t automatically mean longer times on the road or a driver that is more fatigued.
But even with technology watching over us Big Brother still demands a bloody log book. There is all sorts of rules and regulations that state who needs a log book, not all truck drivers do. There is things like trucks under 12 Tonne don’t need a log book no matter how far they go. Trucks over 12 tonne that don’t travel more than 200KM from the home base addressed on the door. There is all sorts of reasons for not having one.
When I first got mine I not only had to list the hours I was in the truck driving (includes loading/unloading, time spent during a breakdown etc), time sleeping, distance driven, whether it was single or two up driving, locations, times yadda yadda yadda, I had to do it for the time I spent in my private car as well. So to maintain a legal driving record I was monitored 24 hours a day in every vehicle I got I.
Not long after I got my log book they changed the rules so that only truck hours counted. That was a catch 22, it meant I could still only drive 12 hours in the truck but I could spend the next 12 hours in the car and get back in the truck and do another 12 hours. But on the whole it did make truck driving easier.
Most who need to carry a log book don’t object to the idea of monitoring where they stop, how long the stop for and how long they drive, it’s a common sense safety thing. There is always a few who want to run the ‘big brother watching is bad’ line but most are pretty sensible.
So why are log books for trucks drivers such a bug bear for drivers? Well as most people know we really are just steering wheel attendants. We get in the truck and make sure that steering wheel points in the right direction. We do have an important job like getting your groceries to the shop so you don’t have to travel far, getting your furniture delivered so you don’t have to carry it and even important things like carting the materials the house you are living in is made from, but we are just steering wheel attendants. Yet in this country we are also expected to be English scholars with perfect hand writing.
Yep, if I’m driving a truck from Melbourne to Sydney obviously its fair and reasonable to be fined for speeding, not sleeping, driving an unsafe vehicle etc but how about a $400 fine because your log book says you left Melourne and not Melbourne. The fine does vary from state but one letter, one obvious letter, missing from a location name can cost $400. Similar fines exist for hand writing that can’t be read, the right information in the wrong column, even a missing digit on the date. It’s nearly cheaper to run the risk of lying on your log book than it is to make a genuine spelling mistake.
Consider $400 a mistake next time you are typing a post. Would it make you a safer poster? 🙂