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Recruiting Older Truck Drivers: Got EOBRs?

Proactive communication and training support are your best recruiting tools for minimizing prospective driver resistance to EOBRs.

It’s no secret a lot of veteran drivers (especially owner operators) despise EOBRs. Here’s what The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), had to say in a press release about DOT’s proposal to mandate electronic on-board recorders for commercial motor carriers.

Over-Priced Record Keepers
“EOBRs are nothing more than over-priced record keepers,” said Todd Spencer, Executive Vice President of OOIDA. “This proposal is actually another example of the administration’s determination to wipe out small businesses by continuing to crank out overly burdensome regulations that simply run up costs.”

Harassment Tools
OOIDA also contends that this mandate ignores a federal statute to ensure that EOBRs will not be used to harass vehicle operators. An analysis conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said that “companies use EOBRs to enforce company policies and monitor drivers’ behavior in other ways.”

A Step Backward In Safety
Spencer continued, “Companies can and do use technology to harass drivers by interrupting rest periods. This mandate would be a step backward in the effort to make highways safer.”

So How Do You Deal With That Kind Of Resistance?
Open, honest communication. If your company has made the decision to install EOBRs, you can’t pretend that it’s a decision drivers will naturally love.

Admit that you understand it’s going to be an adjustment. And if the decision was one your company considered long and hard, you should make sure drivers know that. They’ll respect you a lot more for your candor.

Then, And Only Then, Can You Put A Positive Spin On It.
If you’ve determined that EOBRs will ultimately benefit your company’s bottom line, then the bottom line benefit to drivers is simple: A healthier company ultimately translates to better long-term job security for everyone. But remember: You can’t make that promise if you don’t sincerely believe it’s true.

Offer Training. And A Grace Period.
Even if EOBRs are mandatory for your existing drivers, you might consider offering new drivers a combination of hands-on training and a grace period, during which they can adjust to the new technology (on a trial and error basis) without fear of reprisal for faulty usage.

Nobody likes change, so the easier you can make that change to accept, the better your chances for recruiting veterans—even with technology as unpopular as EOBRs.

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