This morning I found myself subconsciously looking at my phone to see if I was being tracked at my own kitchen table. You read that right – “tracked.” For me to even think I’m being tracked sounds absurd.
While I’m not under security tracking of any freight, I know by past experience my cell phone is still being used for data collection and lane availability information in the background. I know many will think this is weird until it happens to you. Many will deny it happens or is possible. It’s common if you talk to many drivers, so I believe it to be a strong indication that driver tracking is one-sided in the industry. And the one-sided seems a little sketchy. It is no longer about freight security, it is about the control of time management.
The most frustrating moment I’ve had dealing with tracking occurred last year. It was the July 4th holiday. I left my semi at home and jumped in my Expedition and went on a mission to get my grandbabies for a few days. I started out by going to Georgia and loading up my six grandbabies and my two daughters and off we went for a weekend in Jacksonville for Top Golf and the zoo. There wasn’t anything that could interrupt this fun-loving chaos. Yeah, right, or so I thought!
My phone started ringing with calls from brokers. SMH, twice in 90 minutes, from the same brokerage, with a blocked number! Asking the same question – did I have a truck available around Jacksonville. I wanted so badly to silence my phone, turn it off, toss it over the intercoastal bridge, give it to the baboons or run over it with the golf ball collector thingy! Anything!
But I can’t turn it off because I have to be available for my ‘lil mama. So, I chalked it up to two individuals sitting side by side looking at one another totally lost and not communicating. I never gave it a second thought how or why they were asking me about Jacksonville of all places. It took another call from a different broker the following day, and I snapped.
I kept asking why the brokerage was calling me and how did they know I was in Jacksonville. I was told “because we see you’ve been sitting in the area for over a day and we have a great load not far from you.” WHAT!! Are you batshit crazy? I was also told, it was that I was in the data collection and lane tracking through my personal cell phone for data and lane availability because I was registered as required.
TRACKING IS REQUIRED FOR ALL LOADS – FAILURE TO ACTIVATE TRACKING WHEN REQUESTED OR THE DEACTIVATION OF THE TRACKING PRIOR TO DELIVERY OF THE CARGO TO THE FINAL DESTINATION WILL RESULT IN A $100 FINE, AND WILL DIMINISH THE DEFENSE OF ANY CARGO CLAIM. DRIVERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CASE COUNT AND CONDITION OF THE FREIGHT. – a typical requirement truckers must agree too
I really wanted to give the baboon at the zoo my phone because it seemed that I had been tracked since I got out of my truck at home and who knows how long before!
*YEP palm to face again*
Tracking doesn’t work whatsoever when it involves personal space. And how well did that work out for the intelligence of the tracker when after all that aggravation I was driving an Expedition instead of a Peterbilt? I’m still not happy a year later. Someone is going to have to be really good at convincing me it doesn’t track me all the time or I am going to come up with a better plan like a carrier pigeon to brokers.
Let me throw this in here and I know no one will agree and will voice loudly how crazy I am. Every shipper/receiver should have to provide live tracking of their facility so carriers and shippers know the precise status of on-time loading and unloading. In turn, this would help us in detention. And EVERY broker that requires tracking should have live tracking at all times on their personal cell phone even during personal time so carriers and drivers can access their availability. Also, it should be contractual that brokers on loads should be available and answer all calls – even if it’s 2 a.m.
And that accessibility should be whether it’s for incorrect pick-up numbers or weight issues, temperature verification and service at a warehouse. And it most definitely should take place to verify their location even though we can see it on the tracker. If drivers have to be tracked 24/7, then let’s include everyone else. If you are going with me when I eat, then I am going with you. But, you’re buying!
Charging carriers a penalty or a load cancellation if tracking is not accepted is wrong! Carriers aren’t getting paid for their service to be tracked and drivers aren’t being compensated for data usage and our time for tracking and phone calls. This practice needs to be canned. Again, I would love to know who is the brains behind all of this. I would love to sit down and have a constructive chat regarding what and why.
I know I’m a little ornery about tracking, but it’s not being used for what it was created for in freight security. Tracking may also put a driver in danger – especially women – because we don’t know who’s on the other end wanting to know or watching where we are if we have high-dollar freight. Or when we have to park in high-crime areas because of the parking shortage.
That’s a topic for another time.
Until next time, from me to you … drive safely, be somebody’s smile and don’t forget your prayers!
Read more from Ingrid Brown