How job surveillance is changing trucking in America

  • Published on:  11/20/2017
  • Automation is coming for truckers – but first, they're being watched.Subscribe to our channel! promise of self-driving trucks will radically reshape one of America's most common jobs. There are 3.5 million professional drivers in the US, all of whom may face job displacement in the autonomous future being developed by companies like Otto, Daimler, and Tesla. But before robots take the wheel entirely, there will be a long period where truckers and artificial technology split the responsibilities of the work. The first big step toward that future comes in the form of the electronic logging device, a dashboard monitor that tracks speed, location, and a driver's schedule, and reports it to an employer or a third-party monitoring service. It has a lot of truckers worried. Read Karen Levy's work here: the FMCSA's report on ELD safety: the NAS report on driving fatigue: is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out to get up to speed on everything from Kurdistan to the Kim Kardashian app. Check out our full video catalog: Vox on Twitter: on Facebook:


  • cjxgraphics
    cjxgraphics a years ago+1264

    Hey, I'm 5 minutes from your location, but I've got to stop. See you in 10 hours.

  • Mike Louw
    Mike Louw 4 months ago+745

    Another case of people who've never done the job, but make the rules.

  • Chris Thomas
    Chris Thomas a years ago+464

    I stopped driving a truck because of the camera they wanted to put in the cab- I live in there, so no.

  • Shark Arise
    Shark Arise 11 months ago+149

    this is one of those "Get comfortable inside the prison we're building around you" videos

  • Lucus Levy Keppel
    Lucus Levy Keppel a years ago +438

    It seems to me that the real problem is how truckers are paid: by the mile.
    This incentivizes fast speeds and long hours - after all, if you're being paid by the mile, then the sooner you get the goods across the miles, the sooner you can take another job, and make more money.
    Yet, there are limits on speed and time spent driving, so truckers have to make the choice to break laws in order to make a profit. And the more they break the law, the greater the profit they're able to make.
    What would the problem be to changing the pay of truckers to a salary model - with expectations of days worked, rather than miles on the road?
    That way, goods could be shipped more safely, since the trucker could take breaks on the way as needed, and not feel the need to artificially take a break that wasn't needed.
    There'd need to be some negotiating of what salaries made sense - and how they would be paid - but I think that the solution must rely on moving away from a paid-by-mile system in any case.

    GUNTHERSHELL 21 days ago+23

    Regulations always go up. Fines go up. Truck drivers pay stays the same.

  • chris whitenack
    chris whitenack a years ago+54

    I'm so glad I had to leave this business; I developed more physical problems on this job than any other. That's not blaming the job, just an observation. As far as the surveillance issue: I worked with qualcomm onboard from day 1. When I went to work as a contractor with my own truck, I was leashed to the cell phone. I actually had clients call me and ask why I was stopped while fueling and feeding, true story. It only got worse. I miss travelling and delivering products- I liked knowing I was providing for a region when delivering food stuffs, or getting a production's stage set to its location on time. I don't miss seeing endless corn fields. :-D I do miss bringing my kid and calling him to the front so I could say LOOK, CORN!! though. My heart goes out to those on The Big Road. Be glad for me, good ol' "Sparky" found out he had a brain and is on honor roll in college, making us "dumb drivers" proud! Keep the dirty side down!

  • Slappy
    Slappy a years ago+510

    One advantage electronic logs offer is that companies can't force drivers to violate their hours of service like they used to. One disadvantage is that drivers are now having to rush more to get their miles and find a place to park. We need more parking above all else.

  • Empire State
    Empire State 4 months ago+122

    The ELDs actually seem like a good idea. The problem is the trucking rules. Drivers should be allowed to drive 10 hours in one day, not 10 hours in one stretch! That will make driving much more flexible.

  • RiderOmega
    RiderOmega a years ago+717

    My dad is a trucker and he’s got a computer in his truck that caps his speed at 62 miles an hour. If you ever see a truck going slow down the interstate in the US, that might not be the driver’s choice.

  • Shain Andrews
    Shain Andrews 21 days ago+9

    No mention of companies limiting top speed, which effectively controls the drivers time. You have this many miles, and this time frame to do it in... oh and to improve our profit ten under the speed limit.

  • countryman usn
    countryman usn a years ago +73

    I love hearing from so-called experts who have never driven a single Mile in a truck and know absolutely nothing about the industry. What this new technology is doing is making experienced quality drivers want to quit the industry

  • Stephen Thomas
    Stephen Thomas 21 days ago+10

    And they wonder why there is a shortage of drivers

  • Kevin Pishgar
    Kevin Pishgar 3 months ago+19

    All the details boil down to how companies have been treating their drivers lately. If you look at what deregulation has done to the industry; the companies that exploit their drivers en masse, and look at the huge turnover rate in this industry, one can summarize that private enterprise has corrupted the entire system and has made surveillance the bread and butter to their day to day operations.

  • Gerald Spessard
    Gerald Spessard 21 days ago+14

    I gave up trucking. I hated the computer in my tractor. I hated not being able to make a common sense judgment. I'm not a computer. You can have it. You won't be able to keep new truckdrivers. Just like being under arrest and warring an ankle bracelet. No way. Not me brother. Driverless trucking will be here soon anyway. Oh, never buy your own tractor today. Not worth it.

  • Randy Tinsman
    Randy Tinsman 7 days ago+2

    I get paid by the hour work only 12 hours a day drive local.

  • Ronald Renken
    Ronald Renken 21 days ago+5


  • Tessa Rossa
    Tessa Rossa 14 days ago+2

    Truckers who think ELD's are the only way to track them have a truly moronic understanding of smartphone technology.

  • Eric Dumke
    Eric Dumke a years ago+748

    I'm a trucker. I like the ELD in that I don't have to do the paper work. ELD don't really change anything according to the law.
    However, the real issue that we have are the hours. Just like the drivers are saying in the video, once we start the truck, we HAVE to run whether we're tired or not.
    If they make it looser such as " drivers can only drive 12 hours a day TOTAL regardless of when". Then if we need to pull over and sleep a few hours, we can do it.

  • mafarnz
    mafarnz 2 months ago+28

    Speaking as a CDL driver. I drive charter buses, not trucks, so hours of service laws are a bit different for me. I see two common threads in the ELD debate.
    #1 the vast majority of complaints are coming from older drivers who simply don't want to switch to a new technology. When this comment was posted I was in my early 30's and I find the ELD's a huge improvement from paper logs. Much easier to fill out and keep track of since the ELD automatically logs a lot of things for you. Its only the older folks that can't figure out how to use the new ELD's that have an issue with them, folks that figure them out generally like them in my experience. The whole reason for the ELD mandate was that too many drivers were falsifying them, which leads me to #2.
    #2 the really big one, the issue isn't drivers, its companies exploiting their workers. Paying by the mile/load is simply a way for the company to pay their driver as little as possible. Me, I get paid by the hour. So if I run into traffic or bad weather, my incentive is to consider safety first, since I still get paid even if I arrive late, or can only make one trip instead of two. The example of a driver 20 minutes away from home and out of hours is most likely because the company scheduled them to drive for exactly 10/11 hours and didn't give them any leeway. Instead of protesting regulations that are in place TO MAKE THE ROADS SAFER I wish these drivers would protest the companies that are taking advantage of them.