Marlene English answers the phone of her small trucking business , Heritage Motor Freight, in Morrisdale. She works along side her husband, Glenn, who’s been driving trucks for three decades.
“Everybody’s gotta make a living, and driving trucks was a pretty good living,” says Glenn.
Safety is top priority for this family because they know how dangerous the roads can be. “I fell asleep and went off the road,” recalls Glenn.
The accident happened back in 1994, shaking the English family. Glenn broke his neck, partially paralyzing him. “The best thing of it all was that i didn’t hurt any body else,” says the truck driver.
“I stress to my drivers always there is no load of freight that is worth your life of anybody else’s life,” adds Marlene.
Twenty-Three years later Glenn is able to get behind the wheel. However, the English’s say the roads are becoming even more dangerous and that’s because of the new electronic logging devices.
“These drivers can’t pull over when they’re fatigued. They can’t pull over when the weather gets bad. They’re pushing themselves so they make their deliveries and pickups on time,” says Marlene.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration demands these electronic logs replace handwritten logs.
It counts their hours and miles down to the minute, not allowing them to exceed an 11 hour driving day.
However, Glenn says it’s interferes with trucker’s schedules. “If we start that guy out in the morning, he can’t do that little run in the after noon because that starts his log. You can’t turn it off. It eats up his hours for the day.”
On the other hand, not everyone’s opposed. Patrick Kane of Lansberry Trucking in Clearfield says it gives them a better eye over their drivers. “We have to not only protect our drivers but protect our company as a whole. This is one way to further ensure our drivers are being compliant,” says the safety administration director.
Marlene says the new equipment could hurt their business financially because it will take longer for driver to make trips. She worries it may even put them out of business down the road.
If the drivers don’t comply with the logs they could face some hefty fines, about $500 a day.