On April 1 of this year the ELD mandate was finally implemented in full after its initial, partial rollout in December. Response to the mandate within the trucking community has been mixed, with a variety of pros and cons being argued by key parties involved.
Let’s take a look at the specifics of the ELD mandate, what affects it’s likely to have, and what we’ve learned since the April rollout.
Key Aspects of the ELD Mandate
The mandate requires that truckers utilize an electronic logging device (ELD) to track their driving time and ensure compliance with driving limits. According to federal law, truck drivers are not permitted to drive more than 11 hours during a 14-hour workday. Following this period, drivers must then be off duty for a minimum of 10 consecutive hours.
Should a driver violate the mandate, they will need to be out of service, or parked, for 10 hours to comply with CVSA criteria. The driver can then travel to the next scheduled stop and will only be permitted to be dispatched again if they have a functioning ELD.
Drivers initially balked at aspects of the ELD mandate, with 30% stating last year they were likely to leave the industry due to its implementation. DAT conducted a survey of 645 truckers closer to the ELD implementation date, however, and found only 3% who felt they were likely to leave the industry.
Changes Due to the ELD Mandate
Because of the ELD mandate the industry has seen some significant changes, some of which may not have been anticipated when the mandate was originally proposed. These changes have included:
- An Increase in Two-driver Teams – Since two-driver teams can drive double the miles a single driver can, companies are utilizing this option more than ever to help ensure freight arrives on time. Smaller operations don’t always have this luxury, of course, but some have taken to having one driver pick up another’s freight partway through the trip.
- Boosted Rates and Income – Because of the reduced capacity for hauling freight, industry rates have raised as much as 40%. These rate increases are expected to increase net income for drivers in the coming year as well.
- More Pressure on Shippers – Prior to the ELD mandate, drivers could alter their paper logs when they were held up by slow docks, something they can no longer do with ELDs. It’s been estimated that drivers lose an estimated $1,200 to $1,500 annually due to wait times. If shippers are slow to transfer cargo, companies and drivers may begin to look for more profitable cargo options.
- Parking Reservations – One unexpected outcome of the ELD mandate has been the increased need of parking for truckers at busy areas of the country, with some truck stop chains now requiring reservations for pay spots. While the chains defend this decision as being beneficial to drivers by letting them have a guaranteed spot to stop, drivers have been less enthusiastic about the change.
- Potential for Higher Insurance Rates – Insurance companies that examine a driver’s safety record to determine rates will now be looking for any ELD violations as well. The driver’s CSA score will be negatively affected by any violations leading to an increase in premiums.
How to Avoid an ELD Violation
To prevent an ELD violation and the problems that come with it, drivers should:
- Have an authorized ELD that has been registered with the FMCSA – all unauthorized and unregistered devices are subject to violation
- Be able to produce data from their ELD to be examined by a law enforcement officer, either electronically or via printout
- Log their hours in the correct driving category to avoid any false logs
- Have their ELD documents on hand to assist during inspections, including the ELD user manual, an instruction sheet for HOS data, an instruction sheet for ELD malfunction reporting, and extra paper log sheets for backups
Should a driver’s ELD malfunction, the device needs to be corrected, repaired, replaced, or serviced within eight days of discovery. Paper records are to be kept during this time to keep track of driver hours until the ELD is functional again.
Recently, Freight Waves posted an article examining the trucking industry following the implementation of the ELD mandate. Their piece stated they found “no data to suggest a massive drop-off in truck productivity” and that they actually saw an increase in driver productivity.
As stated in the article, drivers were previously averaging 6.52 productive hours a day, but since the mandate went into effect had been logging an average of 6.8 hours a day. This increase is expected to see drivers recover $54 per day due to an accurate management of hours.
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