An Industry Shift: Carriers, Drivers, And ELDs


It’s December 18th, and that means mandatory Electronic Logging Device (ELDs) are here. 

WHAT ELDs MEAN FOR CARRIERS

As a carrier, there are certain things you’ll need to know as ELDs get implemented industry-wide. Tools are available to you to help with the shift that is occurring.The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has released their “ELD File Validator”.  A tool designed for ELD providers to test their product and make sure it meets technical requirements. Titan GPS ELD has passed all the tests in the ‘File Validator’, but not all ELD suppliers will go through the same self-regulation. It is encouraged that carriers test their ELDs to ensure that they are fully compliant and meet all technical regulations and if they aren’t, they might belong on the ELD Revoked List.

ELD and Carriers

Although there are plenty of perceived negatives regarding the ELD mandate, there are also many benefits which we have talked about in the past, but as a refresher here are the main ways ELD can benefit carriers:

  • Less Paperwork: According to the FMCSA, ELDs will reduce the amount of time wasted doing paperwork by approximately 20 hours/year. This equates to roughly $705 USD of savings per driver.
  • Lower Collision Rate: A reduction in aggressive driving behaviors and a reduction of driving while fatigued (arguably while violating HOS regulations) lowering the risk of collisions. Incidents involving a collision have been reduced by as much as 12%.
  • No More Downtime: According to the Aberdeen Group, drivers with ELDs improved vehicle utilization by 13%.
  • DVIR: Drivers are able to complete vehicle inspection reports using the ELD which cuts down inspection time, but also makes roadside inspections quick and painless. While violations resulting from human error are all but eliminated

WHAT ELDs MEAN FOR DRIVERS

  • Less Paperwork: Longtime drivers might be used to it at this point, but the reality with paper logs is that they are tedious and complicated. You need to bring out the book, find where you are and record the accurate information to avoid any violations. With ELDs, with one press of a button, all that guesswork is gone.
  • Planning: When road conditions are poor or other uncontrollable factors negatively influence the ability to travel to a destination. Drivers were previously able to modify the logs to reflect that. ELDs will mean that drivers will have to be better at planning when and where they drive to avoid potential violations while retaining acceptable delivery times.
  • Discretion: The main concern for drivers is that they are used to having discretion with their “driving window”. But with the automation of electronic logging devices, that discretion at least in part goes away. Does that mean drivers won’t be able to run as many miles? No, but it might take some time for the industry to catch up. We’ll talk about this more, but essentially carriers and shippers will have to plan more carefully and be more efficient and eventually, the industry will look similar to how it does today.

A CULTURE SHIFT

Up until now, carriers have been able to be more liberal with the jobs they take. Short notice jobs, shipping to irresponsible consignees and other factors have to lead to increased stress and responsibility on drivers. Have your drivers ever heard something like this after clearly communicating that their load will be late due to uncontrollable circumstances?

“This load can’t be late no matter what; you need to do your best. We are confident you can get the job done on time”

The era when this was not only acceptable but standard practice, is coming to an end. A shift in the culture of the industry as a whole will take place to compensate for the increased safety and security that mandatory ELDs offer. Carriers must ensure with more precision, that drivers have the appropriate amount of time to complete the job or face potential fines. Careful planning of which jobs to take and who fulfills them is extremely important. This is illustrated through the FMCSA’s harassment protection policy.

“Action by a motor carrier toward a driver (whether an employee or a contractor) that the carrier knew or should have known would result in an HOS violation in 49 CFR 395 or 49 CFR 392.3  

A strategy that has been popping up is a sort of “risk fee” where the carrier charges an extra fee for jobs where the consignee is proven to be unfavorable due to excessive dwell times (time being spent at a destination not moving). This sort of fee alleviates financial pressure from the carrier and encourages shippers and consignees to be more mindful of the drivers’ time. Ultimately, this relieves drivers of pressure to meet unreasonable expectations, which increases safety and lowers costs. From shippers to carriers, all stakeholders in the industry will reevaluate their culture and business practices in the face of the ELD Mandate and shift appropriately so that the industry operates at optimal efficiency.

 

WANT TO BE PREPARED FOR THE COMING ELD MANDATE?

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