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Report: ELD impact ten months in

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.

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Chad Prevost

Chad is radio host and broadcast media specialist for FreightWaves.

16 Comments

  1. I will agree with that last paragraph, once that clock starts counting theres no time to stop for a nap, to eat a healthy meal, or to just enjoy a bit of personal time where its convenient for the driver. For example, last evening I drove right past my mother’s home and even though I haven’t been able to see her in person in WAAAAAY to long once again "theres no time for that" or I wont legally be able to deliver on time, even though I have been able to accommodate stops like this safely for most of the 25+ years I’ve driven commercially.

  2. Seems to be a "one-sided" article, no way a carrier feels like their drivers are safety today than prior to the mandate! A little box on the dash doesn’t make a driver safer, the driver does. If they are safer is because the company wasn’t enforcing the HOS while on paper logs.

    While I agree with the last paragraph, FMCSA isn’t going to go far enough to make this work for the industry. Too many politicians will deem it "moot". All we simply need to do is stop the 14hr clock while off duty. Plain and simple, makes no sense for drivers to be strapped to the "black box" to try to beat the clock. Stupidity needs to be retired and common sense needs to be re-hired. Only been in the industry since 1983, but what do I know.

    1. Mr. Oswald, I love your idea to turn back the regs like it was, off-duty=on-duty clock stops! For what I see during my southern and eastern runs, a lot more speeders and fender benders involving trucks as well as crammed truck stops after 5p. I have heard about more drivers driving tired then when we used to "creatively" log ourselves! Hope someone reads posts, I wish yours was longer, bet you have more ideas.

  3. I started using eld’s years ago. I believe they are great! Too many drivers are against it because it forces them to finally drive legal. I can from an accounting background before driving for 25 years. If a driver can not drive safely under the laws that govern trucking, they should get a job at McDonalds! No load is worth the life of the motoring public. If it can not be driven legally, that load should be refused. I am tired of all the cry baby truckers who say they cannot make money using the eld. I did!!!!

  4. DRIVER SHORTAGE IS A BIG LIE just a tactic scheme to deceive TO LOWER THE RATES ON THE FREIGHT, brokers are taking advantage of the ELD and so called driver shortage and don’t want to pay, BUT YOU WILL SEE MORE DRIVER’S LEAVING OTR and go into local or something that pays decent. YOU MEDIA AND BROKERS ARE DOING THIS TO YOURSELVES

  5. I love eld’s spoken like a true Fleet trained snowflake weenie article is bs drivers are driving faster than ever because their clock is running especially the foreign drivers and then you have the idiots that start their break on the fuel Island I got to take my 30 minute break before I fuel then leave their truck there after they fuel great job ATA you bunch of dopes

  6. It’s definitely not safer. I can’t wait until the 2018 crash numbers come out. The ELD didn’t change my driving habits at all because I didn’t have to cheat before. What I have observed though is reckless driving! It’s actually scary to drive now. After more than 25 years as a commercial driver, I can’t wait to retire! Maybe it’s an HOS problem but certainly whatever it is, it needs to be fixed now.

  7. I see alot of speed limited trucks blazing through small towns in an effort to shave a few extra minutes. Running red lights and not coming to complete stops at stop signs. I’ve even watched one bend up the crossing guards at a railroad crossing and just miss getting hit by the train. It would be hard to gather statistics on the amount of reckless driving that has started since the introduction of the eld. A lot of it happens without incident, but the risks are no less significant.

  8. You want to end the driver shortage then move the crossing of state lines down to 18. No eld can tell me when I’m sleepy or when I need to stop.

  9. The elog does not help a driver do a proper pretrip or post trip. The elog does not help a driver turn coroners, back in or maneuver in tight spots without running anything over. What the elog does is the math for a person who has no common sense with simple math, It makes one drive tired in fear of losing miles. I run all pre elog equipment mostly because of the EPA regulations but I do have a friend that drives for a carrier and says you dont even want to stop and shit through out the day. the motor carrier he works for also turned the trucks up to 90 mph and encourages his drivers to use every bit of it. The carrier he works for has a fleet of 50 trucks and does a lot of dropping and hooking to burn up every last minute he can. He says he drives tired a lot because he sometimes sits after he has had a break and drove an hr to a shipper or receiver only to sit, go reload, sit again and then finish out his day but planning to stop sometimes before his time is up. We as Americans need to stand up, shut the system down because the next step is speed limiters like Canada and Australia. Eliminate technology completely because it eliminates jobs. I still mail my bills. Why? Think about how many jobs 1 stamp creates. The same thing with paper logs. Think about how many jobs are created by using a paper log book.

  10. Simple solution to the HOS issues…. Off duty is off duty, sleeping is sleeping. When doing either the 14 hr clock should stop. Problem solved

  11. The company I work for has lost a lot of good drivers do to ELD’s. They know just as I’m experiencing the loss of time that is brought apon the driver coupled with the lack of common sense companies have to correctly set a run up with ELD’s in mind along with the hundreds of other hurdles a driver has to go through just to do his or hers job on the road. Noone wants to deal with the bullshit the government has placed on the trucking industry. Yes it does cause you to not want to stop. We are rushed do to overly tight schedules. Home time has been shot hell!! This bullshit needs to stop!!

  12. I got a CDL to drive. I don’t the damn government telling me when to sleep or eat. I’m a grown ass man. I don’t need a freak’n babysitter. All drivers are not created equal. Do away with this stupid ELD, go back to the way it was! Don’t punish drivers for service violations, punish the damn dispatchers that tried to run the hell out their drivers. Then, you’ll have safer drivers.

  13. How about scrapping the ELD and limit drivers to 700 miles in any 24 hr period and entrust the driver to decide when to run. NO DRIVER wants to endanger himself or others on the road, they want to deliver in a timely safe fashion and get home like anyone else. Give the driver options to sit out rush hour traffic and make it up during the later hours when the road is less congested give the driver the option to pull over if tired or hungry and not feel like the race the clock is all they concentrate on.

  14. You can’t regulate metabolism, the biggest beneficiaries are the ambulance chasing attorneys, big companies that run teams and speed limiters. The ELD is only as good as the operator. They are harder to cheat but it is still possible. Better pay with overtime and good benefits would go a long way in solving the problem. Holding shippers and receivers responsible for lost time would help as well. Allowing, not giving the 2 hours for loading/unloading is a good start. After the 2 hours is up to back to the appointment time and charge from there.

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