The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate became mandatory on December 18, 2017.
As the federal government now requires most truckers to use compliant ELDs, trucking companies are now experiencing the advancement and growth that comes with the technology.
However, before that happens completely, the trucking sector would have to undergo a minor learning curve. After all, whenever new technology is introduced (regardless of the industry), the people involved often need some time to adjust.
The good news is that truckers are already coming around electronic logging devices. They are also seeing the various benefits these devices have to offer.
In this blog post, we share two views about ELDs and the future of the trucking industry: one from the Vice President of a long-haul carrier and another from a truck driver with 29 years of experience.
Let’s see what they have to say.
The Vice President of pricing and network strategy of the Covenant Transportation Group, Edward Kern, said that ELDs should not be a problem for carriers and drivers.
“ELDs really shouldn’t be a problem. A lot just don’t do it because they weren’t playing by the rules in the first place,” Kern told FreightWaves. He added, “Drivers have no choice but to use an ELD.”
Kern said that sooner or later, ELDs would “very likely” reduce the capacity of drivers who refuse to use or deal with the device.
Kern doesn’t believe that ELDs are inflexible and will force drivers to drive when they’re tired.
ELDs do not force fatigued or sleepy drivers to drive. In fact, the device ensures that drivers abide by their hours of service regulations and get enough sleep. Driver fatigue is one of the primary causes of road accidents, and the FMCSA — with the help of electronic logging devices — plan to eliminate that problem.
The FMCSA estimates that ELDs would help save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries each year by eliminating driver fatigue.
On the issue of driver shortage, Kern believes that the trucking industry will eventually adjust and realize the need to compensate drivers better.
Kern also added, “We also need to address the lifestyle issues, and treat them with the respect they deserve.”
Truck driver Jeff Clark said, while talking to FreightWaves, that ELDs do not compel a driver to do anything — except, probably, to take the ten-hour break.
If there is anything that a truck driver is forced to do, “it’s to take a ten-hour break,” said Clark, who has been driving for 29 years — 16 years as an owner-operator. He said, “I have been using them [ELDs] for five years now, and the only difference is that I’m better rested.”
Clark said that drivers might get a little anxious with ELDs at first because the device will keep them focused on their stats, efficiency, and hours-of-service regulations. He believes, however, that drivers would soon get used to it.
Clark also shared his view on the issue of driver shortage, “It’s economic-based. We need about 3.5 million drivers. We attract about 500,000 a year, but we don’t keep them.”
Clark also believes that ELDs will improve market conditions in favor of truck drivers. However, before rates go up, he believes that docks would get more efficient.
There are numerous benefits of electronic logging devices, e.g., increased fleet safety, improved CSA scores, less administrative burdens, reduced fuel wastage, efficient route management, and much more.