EWD debate: Do you think they’ll become mandatory?

mandatory EWD

We invited four highly-experienced drivers – Mike Williams, Trevor Warner, Daniel Thomas and Marty De Vos – to take part in our first virtual Roadhouse Roundtable recently.

The subject: Electronic Work Diaries.

Here’s what they had to say when we asked them if they thought EWDs will become mandatory in Australia.

Thomas: Ah, there’s no doubt it will be mandatory in the future the problem I see is the older drivers will just leave the industry because they won’t be able to operate the system ( some blokes still can’t operate a phone properly) so they will just retire or leave the job … unfortunately u still need these old school blokes for the outback/ remote area work who know how to look after the gear and freight… I just can’t see those blokes hanging around for the money that companies pay now…. unfortunately with all this electronic stuff around at the moment there’s just no enjoyment in the job with companies/ authorities looking over your shoulder 24/7.

Also heard last week mandatory in all interstate truck within five years is the word coming from a few organisations in Victoria, but who knows.

Williams: I absolutely see a day when EWD will become mandatory. I believe that the authorities see the EWD as a catch-all, difficult to circumvent and being able to expose every breach. It’s a mistake, in my view to say this is about revenue raising. It’s not that. That’s not the motivation. For the authorities the motivation is to be seen to be doing all they can to make the roads safer. This is the latest tool.

The effect on the industry is harder to predict. Drivers who come into the Industry with these in place will simply accept it as a matter of course. It will lead to a cultural change in the industry. in the initial stages I expect that there will be considerable pressure on both companies and drivers as the realisation hits that the way we’ve been doing things for years simply will not match the new paradigm. People will also realise exactly how long all this free work that gets done takes! drivers will not willingly expose themselves to the huge fines to satisfy a customer or employer. employed drivers income will go down. that has been the case in the US according to the articles I’ve read in Overdrive mag. trucks will be parked up in weird and wonderful places until drivers come to grips or the infrastructure catches up.

Warner: Yes very soon. Once business understands the benefits, I feel it will be employer driven… The chatter from Global tech providers is that it is coming. Big tech is pushing for it, just like the EPIRB with offshore boating…Corporate CoR officers will be pushing for categorising subordinate links in their CoR….I am certain Insurance companies will be offering incentives to go EWD soon..

The writing is on the wall…

Telstra recently purchased MT Data.

why?…follow the money!

I feel the Drivers need to be proactive and use the EWD which best suits them. Reading and listening to the chatter, Smart eDriver is the favourable one at this stage..

De Vos: All I personally can say is the issues of system failures far outweigh any apparent gain. There is nothing to improve safety on the road, it is just a device developed to cut out shonky operating businesses. Is that a bad thing no, yet those who do run good businesses are going to be responsible and accountable for the system failures also driver’s as you know the proverbial scapegoat and then will also be required to do his homework on where he was or has been, end of the day. My personal opinion and from many who have concerns about this matter is it shouldn’t be implemented at all. Because you try to prove that the system is wrong with what it says. Everyone is worried about it. Should we all stand up to get it out? Yes, we should. Paperwork is the only thing it will reduce. Well at least the paperwork can be checked for what was written.

Williams: It seems we all agree that the day is coming where EWD will be mandatory.

I put the position that this isn’t a problem as long as several things happen as well.

  1. This rest area infrastructure is improved.
  2. Trip money is replaced by hourly rates.
  3. Trip scheduling gets increased attention.
  4. Drivers are indemnified from EWD failure as long as they’ve commenced a paper record from the time of the failure.
  5. Truck wheelbase laws are reviewed to allow for larger sleeping quarters for long distance drivers.
  6. Engine off climate control systems are mandated in trucks drivers are required to rest in.

I won’t hold my breath waiting for all this to happen.

  • For more on The Great EWD Debate, grab a free copy of the latest Big Rigs at the usual outlets, or download a digital edition for free here.

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