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NewsTechnologyTruckingTruckload

Drivers now have ELDs, but who has their data?

Clarity around how data is used helps ease carrier anxiety over sharing information

With three years’ worth of anxiety over the deadline for installing electronic logging devices (ELDs) now having largely subsided, a new concern regarding these devices is taking hold in the carrier, driver and shipper community.

As of Dec. 17, 2019, nearly all truck drivers operating on U.S. roadways had to have ELDs installed to track drivers’ hours of service. The ELD deadline actually was not a single deadline, but rather three separate deadlines, the first occurring in December 2017 with the “soft” enforcement period and the second taking place on April 1, 2018, with the “hard” enforcement deadline. This latest deadline was for drivers who used automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) and were grandfathered. Running an AOBRD is no longer allowed.

Now that most drivers and carriers are using ELDs, the next question has arisen: What happens to all this data the ELDs generate?

While ELD data has legitimate uses for carriers, brokers and shippers, just how that data is used, and who owns it, is becoming a sticking point for many. In an industry built on relationships, there remains a certain level of distrust, and data privacy is at the top of that list.

Jason Eversole, director of carrier strategy for FourKites, told FreightWaves it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, he said, FourKites has worked hard to ensure carriers and drivers maintain control of their data, even as the technology provider tries to use that data to optimize the supply chain.

“It’s their data, we’re just stewards of it,” he said. “Of course we want to provide value to our customers, which today is primarily shippers” but also includes some carriers.

That value, though, is compromised if carriers are unwilling to provide access to the data generated by the ELD. Detention is one area where ELD data can be used for a greater good.

A September 2019 report issued by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) found that 25.8% of drivers faced detention of between two and four hours, with an additional 14.4% suffering detention between four and six hours. Collectively, 73.5% of drivers faced detention of greater than one hour.

The Department of Transportation’s inspector general reported in early 2018 that 15 minutes of detention time increased crash risk by 6.2%. “In addition, we estimated that detention is associated with reductions in annual earnings of $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion for for-hire commercial motor vehicle drivers in the truckload sector. For motor carriers in that sector, we estimated that detention reduces net income by $250.6 million to $302.9 million annually,” the IG’s report said.

Using ELD data can help shippers identify problems at facilities, and it can help carriers document detention, if that data is shared.

“A shipper is not just going to take a truck driver’s word that dwell time is too long and build new dock doors,” Eversole said. “[But], if you don’t play in the ecosystem through which the information is being generated and made visible to the people who need it, it’s not going to work.”

Eversole said maintaining proper data security and levels of privacy are critical for gaining access to the data that is useful. Some companies may request access to the ELD data, but the question is, what is their motive for seeking it?

“There is a fear that once everyone is connected by ELDs, then every broker and every shipper knows where the capacity is and where there is a shortage of capacity, and it will drive down rates,” he said.

To prevent this, Eversole said it is a good idea to limit the data that is shared. “We guard that stuff like alligators to be sure it is never used in that way,” he said.

“I came out of the military, and I had secret clearances, but just because you have the clearance doesn’t mean you need to know,” Eversole added. “Share with whom you need to share with and don’t buy that everybody needs to know everything.”

To illustrate, Eversole talked about how carriers that work with FourKites maintain control of how much data is shared.

“You are going to be in control of the data,” he said. “You are going to have a mechanism to see who you’re connected with, how you’re connected, and have a mechanism to turn off that connection if you want.”

Make it clear what data is being used for, Eversole said, so that everyone understands the process, how their data is being used and what data is being used. Doing so can lead to many carriers agreeing to turn over additional data.

“[Carriers] just don’t want to give up that level of visibility,” Eversole said. “But by the end of the conversation, they all get very comfortable with what we’re doing.”

ELD data can provide a treasure trove of information that can be used to improve estimated time of arrival (ETA), engine health information and vehicle health information. In some cases, it can even identify what loads are being hauled, where they are being hauled and who for whom they are being hauled.

Eversole said FourKites tracks location data, for instance, but it does not store that information nor does it transmit it to the shipper. The information is only used by FourKites to generate the ETA.

Vehicle tracking begins four hours before a scheduled pickup, he said, but the shipper does not know where that truck actually is. Once at the facility, the truck is geofenced for entry and exit and upon leaving the facility, is pinged every 15 minutes to again estimate time of arrival. Tracking stops the moment the truck makes the delivery.

“The carrier can use that to help establish boundaries and make a case for detention time if that’s what they want to do,” Eversole said. Information on facility wait times is also made available to carriers through the FourKites app, giving them power to choose which facilities they wish to haul to.

One concern is whether the ELD, which monitors available drive time, can be used by shippers to coerce a driver to keep driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has specific regulations against coercion, but as most truckers know, it still happens. Since FourKites doesn’t transmit that data to shippers — in fact, it doesn’t even collect available drive time data — that can’t happen, Eversole said.

“In our calculations, we assume that drivers have a full set of hours,” he said. “What we’ve done to eliminate the need for hours of service is if the length of haul is long enough to require a break, we bake that into the calculation. We have 700,000 loads a day going through our system, and our data scientists can get very accurate [ETAs] even without hours-of-service data. We can get within a two-hour window in our initial estimate on a cross-country transit from California to North Carolina.”

Data privacy begins with provider trust.  

“There is a lack of clarity [in the marketplace],” Eversole said. “Today, most visibility companies that are requesting data sharing … hand over the keys to the car in the form of a login credential to the ELD, and they hope that whoever they hand it to is a good steward [of the data].”

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and fleetowner.com. Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.

12 Comments

  1. So, scanning this redundant article shows me driver safety was really the leverage for imposing regulatory control favoring brokers bottom line…I am retired sitting in my recliner waiting for spring to break so I can crank up the RV…praying for drivers waiting for a load …Good thing they have an eld… or does anyone even care.

  2. I know how to solve the problem stop all these damm trucks and tell the federal government. To stay out off shit they know nothing about . Buts it’s ok because before long there will be no one wanting to drive a truck . Or a trucking company in business to work for . Because of the government trying to control the world.
    I dont know why everyone has let it get this fare but .I do know i truck over 2 million miles accident free with out all this crap just find . And know I’m looking for another career. Because I’m not doing this crap

    1. Your wrong, thats why they have brought over the Russians and Somalians to take over. The goverment has been lobbied against the so call “white man” best interest. But those same white man, want to hide behide their CB radios and call black drivers monkeys and N@@@as.

  3. *** ELD SHOULD BE USED TO MONITOR TRUCKER PAY****
    Period. -all the other nonsense & corruption is secondary.
    Use this technology to PROPERLY pay detention, layover etc…. These companies not only cheat drivers but also illegally EVADE TAX when they don’t pay what is due. Thanks.

  4. Stacy that’s the best response I’ve heard on here in all with you on that and your rite trucking is turning to shit nobody wants to drive a truck with all this crap installed in it and these cameras their putting in some of the trucks watching the driver that’s bullshit I would probably moon their ass and go on and get fired

  5. Quote:

    “The Department of Transportation’s inspector general reported in early 2018 that 15 minutes of detention time increased crash risk by 6.2%. ”

    Well would you look at that . That’s quite a contradiction with what the ICC was ranting about before it was abolished . The ICC(a commercial road transportation regulator) were trying to make the public and the industry believe it was a “rest period” and decreased fatigue behind the wheel . LOL ! Clearly the ICC was wrong !

    Quote :

    “A shipper is not just going to take a truck driver’s word that dwell time is too long and build new dock doors,” Eversole said. ”

    That’s not a good example !

    First – Why wouldn’t a shipper take a “driver’s word” ??? Is this related to a lack of trust ? If so , then why trust a driver to transport your merchandise in the first place if they aren’t to be trusted ?

    Second – If your “dwell time” is too long then perhaps your efficiency is under par . So you’re paying employees for more hours to do a job than you would if it were better coordinated and properly managed . Excess dwell time at a shipper or receiver = shipper/receiver mismanagement which has a negative effect on their bottom line . In fact it has a negative effect on everyone’s bottom line involved .

    Third – Since you’re already “trusting ” drivers , perhaps you should listen to drivers a little more and actually offer them an opportunity to voice their opinions to you directly .

    If I were management at a shipper/receiver I would have a “suggestion box” in the area where drivers come in to have their paperwork(BOL etc) verified and or signed . I would like to know what their “experience” was like at my plant and where I can improve it if need be .

    Example :
    At a Costco distribution center in Canada it would be set up a little differently . When a truck driver would pull in to the gate and present their paper work , they would be supplied with a pre-marked sheet of paper and an envelope that they could seal . Then on their way out at the gate when they pick up their paperwork , they would have the opportunity to hand in their “suggestion envelope ” as well . That being said , Costco has very little to improve at their distribution Centers in my opinion . One thing they could improve is gate efficiency . They should have more than one verification “gate” , a little like toll booths . However, they are extremely efficient , at least at their distribution centers . Furthermore , Costco would be a great example to follow .

    Feedback is a great tool that can be used for improvement . You don’t need to make a mountain out of a molehill . You don’t need an ELD to communicate among one another . Sure it can have its positives , however , it was sold through deception = increasing safety .

    I like how the article ended .

    Quote:

    “Data privacy begins with provider trust. ” .
    BINGO ! ” TRUST” !

    That ‘s the key word : “TRUST” . This is exactly what the industry lacks ,TRUST, and with good reason . That’s what needs to change . How do we change this issue ? With a stick and regulations ? Drivers have been constantly deceived in the industry !

    The only way that I see drivers eliminating deception , whether it be among themselves or others , is by uniting . Truck drivers should be in a position where they take care and look out for their own , create their own code of conduct etc .

    Drivers don’t need to be told , they know the difference between what is right and wrong . Some just need to be reminded , and by doing so obtain more pleasure in doing what is right rather than what is wrong . The only way they can render “truck driving” pleasurable is by taking a stand , taking control away from the deceivers , by uniting as one . By combing their experiences collectively and structuring “their” industry efficiently they can reap an abundance of pleasure , safety, fairness, and prosperity .

    How can a truck driver expect fairness by regulators who are deceptive , lack experience, lobbied by deceivers and or people who lack knowledge ?

    We don’t have to limit our observation to the trucking industry . We can observe the general “system” . It’s filled with injustices and deception worldwide .

    If you want people to trust , then stop manipulating them . Truck drivers don’t like having a clock dictating them . Not because they want to “cheat” the clock . They want reasonable flexibility if they deem it to be necessary in this current poorly structured industry . They are generally saying that the way the industry is currently structured it renders a “clock” a burden . You should have restructured your industry a long time ago before implementing a “clock” . What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another .

    However, what this ELD clock is clearly demonstrating is how poorly structured the whole commercial road transport industry really is . Who is to blame ? THE SYSTEM ! Who are the one’s in a position of authority to have structured such a “system” ? Clearly most of the one’s in positions of authority have failed us . It’s YOUR “system” , not ours ! WE “trusted ” you , we believed you , and we were mislead . YOU manipulated us and failed us . Now we’re fed up !

    Are we dumb enough to continue “trusting” those who deceived us and ” their system” ? Apparently so . Therefore apparently truck drivers haven’t suffered enough , nor has the general public .

    If the industry were properly structured you wouldn’t need to implement an ELD or any sort of “log book” .

    Quote:
    “Wisdom requires a flexible mind.”
    ― Dan Carlin

    There is very little flexibility with an ELD according to the regulations implementing it . Therefore , it is unwise to mandate it , especially discriminately on a minority group .

    An ELD is a “surveillance” system . Why do truck drivers need to be surveilled ? Are they criminals ? Perhaps it’s the employers that are the one’s who need to be surveilled . In fact isn’t that what the “system” has finally recognized through ie: Driver inc. ???

    Who really benefits from “cheating” a log book beyond reason ? An employer and or an Owner Operator . An employee generally doesn’t benefit meaningfully financially by cheating a log book . Most truck driver employees would simply round off the corners a bit if deemed necessary .

    That being said , the real problem in the industry are those is a position of authority who abused their underlings . That’s negative side of the double edged sword in “competition” .

    Today , in this day and age driving a truck increased truck driver risk enormously . Fines and being sued etc . I certainly don’t condone driver inc , However, I don’t agree with the reasons trucking associations use to define the lack of risk between an owner operator and a driver that doesn’t own the equipment . Drivers take a lot of risk in the commercial truck driving trade . They face potential hefty financial risks . There needs to be an equilibrium in order to prevent abuse . Laws such as AB-5 certainly have positives , however, it’s too extreme . AB-5 is abusive in of itself by being too extreme .

    Should we regulate a general public curfew at night since most crimes are committed at night ? This would be considered highly unreasonable and absurd . We would be penalizing the majority unfairly due to a few unethical culprits . So then why do we allow ourselves to act so unreasonably by implementing other laws which are just as extreme ? To level the competition field is a poor excuse in regards to ELD mandates . An ELD should be optional , not an obligation . The “clock” aka HOS is the major problem .

    Rather than attempting to reason with unreasonable regulators, carriers , etc , truck drivers should unite and create their own system by restructuring the industry before they’re replaced by a machine . Where there is a will , there is a way . The truck driver culture needs to change .

    In my humble opinion ………………

    1. You said it my friend. These shippers and receivers need ELD or some type of tracking app in order to understand whether they are holding drivers too long and not trusting their drivers word on it is complete bull. When the majority of grocery warehouses take anywhere from 4-8 hours per truck its doesn’t take technology in order to understand long wait times. They know damn well when a driver checked in and out. Half of the time these tracking apps barely work and never record appropriate times and then when it comes for detention pay they say your were late. Then you show them your ELD tracking and they say, sorry but my customer cannot accept this, we cannot verify that this accurate. Has happened to my drivers on many occasions when I showed them ELD data and to only be rejected detention time. Won’t ever change until drivers can be paid hourly and trucking companies can actually legally charge them for wait times without hassle of it being rejected.

      1. Yes indeed , Costco Major Distribution Centers are a truck driver’s best friend. Their pager system is an idea that every shipper and receiver should adopt and implement . Costco’s supply chain is extremely efficient . That company has a whole different mentality compared to the rest . Even the way they treat their employees is nothing less than extraordinary , and they pay them very well too .

        No wonder why they went from zero to $ 3 Billion in under six years . They are the cream of the crop , a role model indeed !

        In my humble opinion ………

  6. All this ELD is just scam to make profit for somebody. Nobody cares about safety and people. There is simple way to do safety on the roads. Make legal driving from 6 am to 10 pm only and you won’t need any Eld , all bull-shed . No teams. Drivers need sleep at night, not drive.everyone happy and safe.

  7. Why is access to all my photos necessary? Why is tracking an additional 48 hours after empty not illegal?Why is exposing me to pornography and” action dating ” part of my job? Does anybody monitor those load boards on trucker tools for example?? what purpose does accessing my social media accounts have to do with your business? Afraid we might show the lack of bathrooms in that 12 hour wait? this goes beyond sexual harassment and selective targeting for advertising..it is sold to 3rd world countries.My pictures, my videos, my bills of lading, my location all SOLD to people who believe woman should be killed or mutilated?? They sell your load location escalating cargo theft claims for businesses that have done nothing wrong but choe an eld location service/ insider information mining private data! Disgusting our own government won’t protect us!

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