Report: ELD impact ten months in

18 wheeler on highway overpass and moon at dusk.  (Photo: Shutterstock)

18 wheeler on highway overpass and moon at dusk. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Zipline Logistics’ carrier team surveyed more than 150 trucking companies in their network about the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate and its impacts, and discovered some comparative differences between now and their first survey from March 2018. Part of the reason for a follow up survey was to see how the market has adjusted since the December 2017, what preferences and procedures have changed with fleets, and how drivers and dispatchers feel since its introduction.

The majority of fleets surveyed were moderately sized between 6-100 trucks and the majority of fleets employed company drivers. Sixty-seven percent of the fleets surveyed were compliant prior to the ELD mandate while another 21.85% of fleets were compliant by the ELD enforcement date in April 2018. Whether specifically due to the Mandate or the scarcity of drivers, fleets have had to expand to handle the same level of orders.

Among the key findings, the ELD Mandate has required fleets to expand to handle the same level of orders, but they believe the real issue is the driver shortage. In fact, the driver shortage was listed as the biggest factor affecting the market and rates currently, not ELDs. Many owner-operators of course believe there’s actually a surplus of drivers and the problem is that they aren’t getting paid a comparable salary for other similar job opportunities. Clearly, the problem is nowhere near being resolved.

Seventy-seven percent of carriers reported being more selective in the shippers/receivers that they are willing to go to, and overall carriers and drivers believe that shippers and receivers have not caught up with the ELD implications. Eighty percent of carriers state that there are now facilities they will absolutely not load out of. So it probably comes as no surprise that 54% of carriers have changed how long they will wait at a shipper/receiver since the Mandate went into effect—unless the surprise is that more haven’t changed. Carriers did state, however, that they also tend to avoid any shipper or receiver that has strict appointment times and does not offer delivery windows.

Certainly one piece of good news is that 60% of fleets surveyed felt that safety is improving among their drivers. This is almost exactly the same as survey results from March 2018. When it comes to rates, 48% of carriers felt that linehaul rates have increased due to ELDs. This is different than survey results from March 2018 where 71% of respondents said per mile rates increased due to ELDs.

The majority of carriers haven’t changed their length of haul preferences, but smaller carriers with 30 or fewer trucks have changed their tune to some extent. Thirty-seven percent reported they prefer haul lengths shorter than 500 miles, and only 15% preferred haul lengths of more than 500 miles.

While 60% did say that ELDs were forcing drivers to stop, rest, and run legally, the other 40% of respondents felt that ELDs decreased driver safety, as well as for others on the road. They reported drivers speeding more and driving recklessly to cover more ground in the time allotted by ELDs—which is more of an HOS issue, and of which is purportedly being addressed by the FMCSA. Drivers also noted that they are now forced to drive in hazardous weather, and when tired so they do not burn their ELD hours after the time has started running. In fact, many respondents also stated that flexibility needed to be built into the HOS.