My supervisors accused me of not doing pretrip inspections because they don't show up on my e-logs
Hey Mike and Vicki. I'm on a new electronic log system in my truck which I don't trust so I'm keeping a paper log backup. I'm doing my pretrip inspection every day and showing that on both paper and electronic logs. But two levels of supervisors have blamed me for not showing a pretrip on my e-log. What do I do?
Response from Vicki:
Hello, ES. Thanks for asking your question about this aspect of truck operations.
Although electronic logging technology has been around for a while, not every e-log provider has all of the kinks worked out of their systems. It is a shame that your supervisors have automatically jumped to the conclusion that the fault is on the your end (the driver's end) and not on the software's end. For that, I feel sorry for you because it is a form of disrespect.
By way of context, I'm sure you probably know that according to § 396.13: Driver inspection., professional truck drivers are required to sign a report about their vehicles' inspection before driving. Not to do so is a violation of federal law. So, you -- not your driver manager -- would be the one on the hook if you didn't do this. A logbook violation may also be "fineable" by others, too. Not running afoul of the law may be just one part of your motivation for doing a pretrip inspection every day.
OK, you're doing a sensible thing by keeping a paper log "just in case." For the foreseeable future, I recommend that you keep on doing this, even if you have to buy paper logbooks with your own money. Every logbook purchase is a tax deductible expense.
Next, evidently your supervisors are not seeing on their end something that you're entering into the system on your end. Verify with them that you are entering the information in the electronic logging system according to the directions. If you are and you're still being blamed, then the only way to "prove" what you're doing is with more evidence.
You're familiar with this old adage, I'm sure: "A picture is worth a thousand words." So, take photos of what you're doing on the screen. I don't know what your e-log screen looks like, but if it is possible, make sure you show both the date and the entry of the pre-trip inspection in the same photo.
If necessary, take a photo (or photo sequence) of your e-log -- showing the date and your pre-trip inspection entry -- every day. I suggest that you send each one to your supervisors in a timely manner (preferably each day's log) by email attachment or text with photo attached. (Even a small video may be too large to send by text attachment, although it should be fine to send by email attachment.) Make sure your supervisors see what you've been doing and that you're doing it correctly.
If after a week the electronic logging system is still not showing your pre-trip inspections as you entered them -- and your photos show -- then there is obviously a glitch in the e-log system that needs to be ironed out. Surely, there has got to be a technician from the e-log service provider who can go in and see the system installed in an individual truck -- and fix it.
Although this is not a money-saving tip per se, the irritation of being wrongfully accused of something that isn't your fault can prey on your mind and cause you to be distracted while driving. Please pay special attention to your own reaction about this and don't get involved in a preventable accident.
If this matter becomes unbearable, consider moving on to a trucking company or another type of job where you will be respected.
Let me know how this turns out for you. In the meantime, Mike and I wish you safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.