Like most drivers, owner operator Rodney Glaspie isn’t happy about the elog mandate, but he’s figured out a way to manage his electronic logs so he can keep on making a good living driving. Maybe it’s his fixation with Superman that has him so determined to conquer the challenges that are leading some drivers to retire early.
A few years ago, he ordered Superman-themed checkbooks after realizing that he identified with the Superhero character because he enjoyed helping his fellow drivers and dispatchers. Since that time, he’s developed a reputation for coming to the rescue, often when sporting one of his many Superman T-shirts, sometimes in coordination with his bright red silk basketball shorts.
Sometimes he comes to the rescue for stranded loads and other times it’s to dole out advice to new drivers about people to talk to and network with to get good freight jobs. His fixation for Superman is always about taking care of his family. Rodney raised four children on his own. He always wanted to be a trucker but he also deeply wanted to be a father. He waited until his children were old enough before he hit the road to pursue his dream.
Superman to the Rescue
“It’s a kind of persona,” says his operations manager Benita Coffey. “Customers have been known to call him by that name.” Benita goes on to say that Rodney “has certainly gotten Bennett out of a lot of jams.” She mentions his willingness to haul relief supplies into the heart of the multiple hurricanes that hit Florida recently, and recalls when he came to the rescue during Hurricane Sandy years ago to drive a stranded load to New Jersey.
One of Rodney’s Superman characteristics is his belief in being responsible and following the rules, which is the advice he gives to new drivers about how to be successful at Bennett. “You’ll do well as long as you’re showing Bennett that you’ll work and get the job done, and you’re not late and you don’t have any issues,” he says.
Getting Around Electronic Logs
Now, he’s applying that same work ethic to electronic logbooks by accepting that they’re here to stay, figuring out how to get around the obstacles and mustering up a positive attitude. He installed his elog in May and has had a chance to practice using the device. Based on his experience, he would like to share some advice for drivers based on the experience he has had so far.
7 Tips for Electronic Logs Success from Rodney to drivers:
“There’s no question about it, ELDs are stressful. I have had quite a time working around the elog challenges, but I’m not going to quit. I love driving and I am going to work hard to make it work. Following these guidelines and being disciplined has helped me overcome some of the stresses caused by elogs:
- Plan your overnights at truck stops ahead of time. Once electronic logs become law in December, truck stops are going to start getting fuller. Know the size of the truck stops and how many spots are available along your route. You may find yourself needing to stop at one of them for a night if you’ve only got an hour left, and there’s a truck stop nearby and the next one is three hours away. If the truck stops are all small, you may want to consider making a reservation, but have a back-up plan in case you get stuck in traffic. Know what the other options are in the area.
- Know all of the rest areas along your route that accept oversized loads. Not all of them do. There are even some states that don’t permit oversized loads in their rest areas at all. You need to know all of this information ahead of time, so you can time your stops appropriately and not risk getting fined.
- Build in back-up plans. Have a Plan A, B and C! We’re not living in a perfect world, so there will be times when your planning won’t help you if you’re out there stranded in a traffic catastrophe or held up by another issue beyond your control. If you’re in a jam and you know you’re not going to make that last stop, and you’re closer to the earlier one, be prepared to quit a little earlier. This is better than getting in trouble with the DOT and may make the difference between making your deadline or not.
- Know the speed limits of the areas you are traveling through. As part of your planning, know how fast you can go in different places on your route. Use this information to choose your stops, but always building in those back-ups at the same time.
- Try to drive construction spots during off hours if you can. Find out what hours the construction is scheduled and plan your route so that you are driving through those areas during off-times, usually at night, but sometimes during the day as well. You can do this by using MapQuest, though it is not always up to date. You can also try googling it.
- Only take loads that make sense financially for you. Don’t loads that may put you in a bind. Because of the challenges with electronic logs, try to take loads that pay well enough to compensate for potential losses caused by elog inefficiencies.
- Get your Superman T-shirt! Know where the phone booths are located on your route in case you need to jump into one suddenly, whether it’s to get perseverance, fortitude, or a better attitude. This way, you can make that delivery on time and not let electronic logs keep you from a career you love!”
As you can see, Rodney is an outstanding driver for Bennett, and his “can-do” attitude has helped Bennett through the transition to electronic logs. We feature Rodney’s story, so that drivers and owner operators that are wondering about Bennett’s approach to e-Logs can get a picture of success during our transition. Here’s just a little more on electronic logs at Bennett.
Bennett’s Take on Electronic Logs
The ELD mandate has been a hot topic around Bennett ever since it was first announced. We have some of the most experienced owner operators in the industry. We knew hundreds of our drivers would resist the conversion to e-logs for very practical reasons. Change is hard, but over the course of 12 months, Bennett was proactive in preparing owner operators for the mandate. We deployed electronic devices to all of our current drivers, and enabled electronic logging on a rolling schedule by the end of October 2017. This allowed plenty of time for drivers to get used to the technology before enforcement begins.
Bennett is active with trucking associations including the American Trucking Association and the Truckload Carriers Association in providing feedback to the FMCSA on the details of the e-log mandate. While we agree on the basic idea of efficiency and accuracy that electronic devices provide, we do not agree with any regulations that detract from a driver’s ability to run a successful business.
Informing Shippers of Challenges with Electronic Logs
Bennett is advocating with shippers as well to keep them informed of the challenges that drivers running e-logs face when serving customers. The below video gives tips to shippers about how to succeed when ELDs are in all of the trucks that are serving them.
Join a Trucking Company that Understands Electronic Logs
If you have been struggling with the ELD mandate and are looking to lease to a company that has your best interest in mind, visit drive4bme.com, or contact one of our recruiters at 888-712-3036!