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ELDs add $12 billion to truckers’ pockets

ELD device from BigRoad, a leading provider of ELD devices

ELDs have been the most polarizing subject in the freight markets over the past few years. The large enterprise carriers have wanted them to ensure that every carrier followed the same set of rules. Smaller owner-operators and voice freight brokers felt as if ELDs were government encroachment into their lives. The fear of big-brother monitoring every move is more emotional than reality, but the economic impacts are real.

One of the things that we have been watching intently is whether or not ELDs impact behavior. First with the carriers and then with shippers and brokers. The impact on shippers and brokers will show up in two data-sets: the TRI (tender rejection index) and in rates (spot and contract). We know from our rate sources (DAT, Cass, and public carrier reports) that there has been a dramatic inflation environment in contract rates. Until the last two weeks, the spot market was stabilizing as shippers were benefiting from better capacity planning.

But one of the things that we have been curious about is how carriers are reacting to the mandate. Are we seeing a change in driver behavior? Nearly 60 days into the hard mandate, we can see that is the case. By looking at what we call the “HOS Daily Driving Utilization Index” or HOS11, we look at ELD data and determine how much of driver’s 11 hours are dedicated to actually putting miles on a truck. We gather millions of HOS data points every single day from a couple hundred thousand ELD devices, anonymize them, and publish them on our SONAR dashboard.

 Daily driving time based on an 11 hour clock, charted inside of FreightWaves
Daily driving time based on an 11 hour clock, charted inside of FreightWaves’ SONAR platform

Last year, prior to the ELD soft-mandate, we saw that drivers were averaging around 6.52 hours per day of driving time. The ELD soft-mandate went into effect on December 16, but with it being so close to the holidays, it is hard to get an accurate read on the impact until mid-January. We saw we describe as the “Post Holiday Normalization” take place on January 14. You can see that the total driving hours went back to around 6.52 hours per day. This stayed consistent until Valentine’s day, when we started to see drivers start to modify their behavior and increase hours dedicated to driving. We believe this is a reflection of drivers starting to think about the hard mandate on April first and change on what freight they selected and how they managed their hours.

Moving forward into the hard mandate in April, we see that there is a distinct change in driver behavior. Throughout April, drivers started to push further towards 7 hours of daily driving time, at least three days a week. Every Tuesday-Thursday, drivers are exceeding 6.8 hrs of daily driving time and going tapping out at 7 hours per day. We estimate that each hour is worth approximately $112 (based on a 7 hour clock), therefore drivers are recovering approximately $54 of additional earnings per day from proper HOS management. For an industry with 860,000 for-hire trucks, this equates to $231 million dollars per week or $12 billion dollars annually of additional value generated by ELD devices to the industry as a whole.

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  1. This article is not correct. The person who wrote this does not have a clue on how the industry really works. Not only for company drivers, but Owner Operator’s and Independents like myself. This article was written based solely on numbers only that are probably generated from companies that were already running ELD’s. I can tell you first hand, from experience that ELD’s have hurt the real trucking companies, you know, the safe ones. I can tell you first hand I have not seen an increase in profit. And I run the exact same way I did before. Even having an exempt truck. And from experience in the real world, going from driving 6.52 hours a day to 7 hours will not generate $54 a day. And if it does then this study only focuses on 1 section of this industry, 1 particular style of trailer, in 1 area of the country, and not the industry as a whole. Factoring in all the exemptions that were handed out prior to hard enforcement, load/unload times/traffic/weather/breakdowns. Bottom line is if I was the owner of Freightwaves, I would fire the author of this article.

  2. Short term analysis like this means nothing. We need a whole year’s worth of data before we can draw any conclusions.

  3. Wowww… I wish l could only drive 7 hrs a day… I’m always maxing my elog out!!!!

  4. What?? Whoever wrote this has absolutely no idea!! As a company driver for a mid sized co.. ( less than 1k trucks ) when we got switched to eld’s.. I lost half my check more right at first as dispatchers re learned how to work.. all I can say is NOBODY believes any of this artical..

  5. The only ones benefiting off the ELD’s is those with drop and hook. We the driver’s that live load and live unload are not. I’ve actually lost 350 miles per week. Tankers, flatbed, golf cart , live stock, car hauler, we have lost mileage with no pay increase. I don’t believe that driver’s are seeing any revenue increase. The money is going straight to the company pocket. NOT THE DRIVER’S.

  6. ELDs add $12 billion to truckers’ pockets!!! Haha????????? what a joke!!!
    Matt Wimberly, freight markets reporter, you have to know the industry, drive truck for a year, then write your article.
    I am not saying more money is not being generated. The fact is there is a driver shortage. Has been and with ELD it has caused greater shortage and loss of freight being delivered on time or being delivered at all.
    Now you have something to talk about….
    Supply and demand, yes freight charges are increasing, extra $ does NOT equal extra in the driver’s pocket. No matter the hours he drives.
    When you have a housing shortage the price increases and home owner can make more on the home. But if they buy another home the extra is just invested. Most drivers don’t own the trucking company. The trucking company is using the money to reinvest and hire more drivers.
    So who’s pockets are getting fat?
    You need more data and more education in the trucking industry. I drive the same safe way with or without ELD.

  7. What a load of nonsense my pay has gone down 200+ dollars per week minimum from eld’s on top of the 40% loss when the economy tanked in 08 (the Ca horse hay business never recovered) in 2020 .ca min wage will be 15 hr I’m less than that now on my gross income I’m going to flip burgers and leave the lying cops, licence concerns, drug tests and all the rest of it behind after 30+ yrs

  8. Here here Ted. I agree totally with you. There is only one corporation that is making any money on this and that is the government.

  9. How do you figure $54 a day anyway? A company driver getting even $0.50 a mile, an extra half hour booking it at 70mph is still only 35 bucks a day. But I’m sure most are seeing way less.

  10. What an absolute crock of shit if I ever heard one !!
    Nothing more than pure propaganda !
    Lopsided news, fake news, biased news, etc……
    The ELD did nothing for any driver other than to cause more fatigue and undue added stress to an already demanding job.
    Instead of being able to take a relaxing, restful several hour break somewhere during the day and then continuing to drive to finish the 11 hour driving shift, now we are forced to continue, except for the 30 minute break after 8 hours on duty, to complete the 11 hours within 14 hours.
    The passage of the ELD mandates were fought for by the massive trucking conglomerates (no need to mention any names, we all know who they were) as they knew that many smaller carriers would not be able to bear the financial burden of implementation thusly causing those smaller carriers to go out of business and provide more loads for the larger carriers.
    With seemingly bottomless pockets, these large carriers effectively lobbied hard enough to get the legislation passed.
    I have driven for over 40 years now, I’ve put in my time though I still have, hopefully, many years left, but I am not going to go along with this terrible wrong that is being perpetrated against the American trucking community by so many ultra-greedy companies. I have gone with a local company doing in-town delivery now and I’m home every night.
    Do you not think that the ELD suppliers were not in cahoots with the trucking companies ?
    Do you think that the shippers and receivers were in favor of the ELD’s ?

  11. Ya’ll are full of it. This mandate has cost me money and has put a lot of us drivers at risk of being involved in an accident because of the way drivers are racing against that FMCSA CLOCK.
    Now you need to start reporting the truth about this mandate.

  12. This is completely inaccurate in the normal day. Its not a perfect world. And all the factors that this guy goes up against , is well to say the least a freaking challenge. It may be so in a large fleet , If there on drop and hook, or a bulk situation. But not the stuff I do or have been doing for the last 20 something years. Shippers and receivers very rarely work out or really give a crap about it. It’s costing the driver’s money and home time. Not to mention the impact on our country’s economy and the environment. Waisting fuel and time idling. When you are a few miles from home or you’re terminal. What a waste. People like you, don’t take care of drivers. You would rather limit our home time and make us waste or money sitting in some over priced truck stop or a parking lot without facilities.

  13. Talk about over selling the heck out of your eld. If everybody still only as 70 hours to work how to you make more by ensuring I cannot go 10 minutes over my time ??? So in other words CNN as a news slot opening for you .

  14. Sounds like bullcrap to me, if I were making $54 dollars more a day, I would be very pleased.

  15. Each additional hour of driving will add somewhere between $0.32 and $0.65 per hour/ driver because most drivers are paid by the mile and they’re paid between 32 and 65 cents per mile and those trucks are governed at 60 to 70 miles per hour. What you’re seeing is drivers are pushing hard because they’re watching the clock and this will drive fatigue. They’re driving longer after sitting at a shipper or receiver because they know that their clock is burning up. This will lead to fatigue driving and this will lead to accidents but it sure as hell isn’t putting any kind of real money in a drivers pocket if anything especially drivers that have to sit for shipping and receiving a lot it’s going to take money away from them. This article was obviously written by somebody that does not have a CDL.

  16. it might be adding money to companies but no way to drivers. Right now I’m sitting at a truck stop just because of 10 minutes what I didn’t have to finish my day. During my day I drive 65 miles per hour what I didn’t do while I was working with paper logbook. That definitely does not add to safety on the road. To make story short can you find any positive comment about ELD? in reality nobody has changed anything, everything about ELD is on drivers back in negative way of course.

  17. What horse shit. Like a 4 year old explaining how Santa delivers his present. It’s clear you have no fucking clue how things actually work in this industry.

  18. dont worry when this thing hit ur pocket.we will see than.and than u come with ur dataa motherfuckers

  19. If that’s the case then why had my paycheck been smaller every week that the eld has been i. Force. Yes that’s right smaller not bigger. Also i used to could nap or shop at Wal-Mart for supplies now I can’t do any thing but try to push this trk down the road tired before the stupid 14 hr clock runs out only to try and find a nonexistent parking spot

  20. Exactly my thoughts reflected in all the comments! You’re an idiot if you believe a word of this article. There’s no way the eld will add any money to a driver’s pocket, no matter how much you idiots lie and manipulate the "data" to show your point. Get in a truck and try to make a living, than write the truth!

  21. Tha article is a paid cover up for those who decided to torture the whole segment of working class people – truck drivers. Ok, now you put shackles on the truck drivers hands. Who is next.

  22. Matt Wimberly.. I really think you need to base your stats on the Drivers themselves, not based upon your stats of Computers and Technology. Obviously the commercial trucks do not drive themselves. I really hope after this under lying inaccurate report that you do take the time to interview the actual drivers. Let alone, these new devices and changes per the Government have upset these drivers, your artical is so inaccurate that you have just made them even more angrier. Here is my brothers comment regarding your articulate. As you read, please remind your self this is coming from a owner operator of over 35 years…
    Bullshit !
    The money isn’t in the truckers pocket , it’s in the brokers and these big companies pockets , also they have made us run a lot harder than ever , that’s very dangerous, look at it this way, if a power plant wasn’t producing enough power to the cities they would turn up the power right ? Well sooner or later the motor is going to blow up from over working it. We the Drivers are already seeing more wrecks because everyone is under pressure, furthermore, everyone better start watching what’s going on, because prices are starting to rise, and for anyone that thinks I’m stupid, no it doesn’t benefit me with higher rates. I pay more for fuel, tires, and repairs, so don’t play me for stupid and tell me it will benefit us, bullshit !

  23. that is the most uneducated and ignorant reporting a fake made up news I’m not interested in what Freight ways believes I’m interested in fact and figures the trumped-up bull to support their View a sarcastic thank you I never feel Dumber for having read it

  24. Hmmmm. I don’t think Matt did his research. The only thing this article showed was that the ELDs were doing what everyone expected them to do… do better job of tracking actual time spent on duty and driving. No additional driving time was achieved just by adding an electronic device. The drive time has always been there. The difference is that it was not tracked so precisely in the past. If you are going to produce an article with such a dramatic claim (12 billion dollars???) you should make sure you know exactly what you are talking about. I believe this article is very unfair and deceiving and at the worst, illegitimate.

  25. I sit here an read the tirade after tirade of grown adults spewing anger at something designed to simplify HOS
    tracking and enforcement. A few of you mention that you are now working harder to maximize your daily HOS because of the ELD mandate. Newsflash angry drivers! HOS didn’t change. You had a 14 hour clock ticking all the time while logging on paper. A computer now tracks when you vehicle is in motion, and records the appropriate duty status. Same thing you had to do while on paper, right? So what’s the big deal? I’ll tell you… it keeps you honest. Those that are complaining (with colorful language) about how ELDs changed their lives for the worse, are basically the reason we now have the mandate. They can no longer mask their shady (non-compliant) logging practices with a pencil and eraser. You must conform to federal standards for the first time in their lives. Welcome to world of compliance in you chosen industry. If you don’t like it, do something about it. Be where happy is for you.

    As for the article’s assumption that this would increase driver pay/productivity, I’d have to agree with the masses below. It has done very little in that regard, and is misleading. It feels more like fake news designed to spin a positive narrative on something the vocal minority despise.

    1. You are an uneducated person, probably never finished higher math much aless sifting through the BS FMCSA puts in a report. I’d gladly take these reports on as I am an expert in this field. Retired DOD , Ph.D I Drive with my husband. If you believe ELD keep You honest your the only one that needs it. O/O leased to a company familial with Panther they charge $35 per week for ELD better known as jail ankle bracelet for uneducated bookkeeper’s who can’t read paper logs and tracking device ( your not an enagered species)
      After 24 years of my husband behind the wheel, me 4, no violations, accidents
      Tell me why so many made it so far without ELD ? Statistical Analyst

  26. i have been running trucks for 40 years and this has to be the biggest crock of horseshit i have ever heard.

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  28. The person who is responsible for this report should climb into a truck for a week and see what it takes for the men and women who supply our nation with Everything we need to function before he/she displays an article like this. You obviously are an American who enjoys the fruits of someone else’s labor without any given thought of where the necessities/novelties you so greatly enjoy were made available for you. You see numbers on paper and a computer screen and Assume those numbers to be realistic however, you obviously never took the time to further your investigation by going "hands-on" before writing this article or you would know this to be absolutely Untrue. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before stating factual information. Get out from behind your desk (which I’m sure was hauled by a truck at some point before you obtained it) and see for yourself. This is Not Factual. You should have to state your article was not obtained hands on. Therefore, this is Fake Journalism!! Take a minute to read the other comments here. When trucks stop moving maybe Someone will care to listen to these DRIVERS.

  29. Y’all need to go back to school for additional math & statistics classes! I don’t know ANY drivers who only get in 7 hours on a regular basis!!! I’m quite certain there is something very wrong with the data set(s) you’re working with!!!

  30. I want to be diplomatic about this post, but I am truly at a loss for words. I’m sorry for this, but…..
    This article is a complete load of shit.

  31. Great article. I also think ELD Mandate would increase the cost of shipping and therefore the cost of products around the nation. However, once that will not be tolerated by shippers . Trucking brokers will have to simply take less and award more to truckers who are actually doing the work. Without the eld rule truckers were forced to work long hours for low pay because of the greedy brokers. I also read a good piece on which goes into great detail about the effect of the eld rule. Some 3% of drivers actually quit.