In The News
The ELD Mandate: What Has Been the Impact So Far?
With the rollout of any new rule, you can expect some unintended consequences.
And that appears to be the case with the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate that went into full effect on April 1, after about a three-month grace period.
The regulation was finalized in 2015 with the best of intentions: “to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data. An ELD synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time, for easier, more accurate hours of service (HOS) recording.”
Yet, about a couple months into strict enforcement, these headlines in the trucking media paint a picture of an industry grappling with real-world challenges with the rule:
- “Rigid, Continuous On/Off-Duty Time is Source of HOS Problems, Drivers Say” (Fleet Owner)
- “ELD Mandate Enforcement Spurs Soaring Freight Rates” (Trucks.com)
- “Truckers: Productivity is Dropping, Rates Rising in Wake of ELD Mandate” (Supply Chain Dive)
So, what has been the impact of the ELD mandate on the expedited trucking sector?
EO reached out to veteran industry executives, owner-operators, and fleet owners to get their perspective. As you can imagine, the reviews are mixed.
President, Load One
“I think we saw a much larger effect in the first quarter as carriers were implementing and ramping up and adjusting to it. The April 1 date really came more like a whimper than a bang. A couple of factors helped soften that. For one, it was Easter holiday weekend, and the first week after the end of the first quarter is generally a softer week. I think the industry has adjusted to the ‘new normal’ for the most part. I still think [the ELD rule] continues to push the value and need for teams as carriers realize the world of the ‘strong single’ is something of the past. I think the upcoming road check blitz is focused on ELD enforcement, and it will be interesting to see how that goes.”
“I would have to say the most prevalent complaint from drivers since the Dec 18 and April 1 deadlines has been parking, or the lack thereof. Parking has been an issue for some time, but you would think that it was a spontaneous catastrophic event that took place and created the problem—and the event being blamed for it is the ELD.
“Another issue heard from other drivers that are new to ELDs is the lack of flexibility in the hours of service. They had ‘flexibility’ with paper logs to ‘create’ more time if needed and now that is gone.
“The opponents of the ELD blame every problem they have on it, but many of us have been using an ELD for years, and they cannot accept that we have adapted and thrive with it. As for me and my business, the mandate deadlines were just another day at work.”
Sandy Goche & Stephen Halsted
“Here are a couple of things we have seen or heard. For one, in high population areas, if you are not parked in a truck stop before 5:00 pm, you will most likely not get a spot. We’ve also overheard other drivers say, ‘I didn’t know what it was like to get so much sleep.’ On this one, we think it is a good thing that the ELD is forcing drivers to shut down for at least 10 hours to get rest.”
President, Full Circle TMS
“The response to the ELD by carriers has been mixed. There are still a few of them in denial thinking that it will go away. But for the most part, many have adopted it.
“One observation is that the technology is inconsistent. Some systems work well; some don’t. The companies selling ELD that have come late to the party seem to be more interested in sales. All ELD companies lack support. And almost everyone I talk to say that it is hard to get responses from the companies when they run into glitches.
“Another observation is that companies are charging more money for ‘truck ordered, not used’—as much as a full day for the use of the truck. Their philosophy is that ‘If you order a truck, we dispatch, and then you call to cancel, you must pay for the entire day. That’s because we have burned too many hours for the driver and may not get a load.’
“Also, shippers need to be educated on the ELD mandate and how it affects the ability to move their freight. Many shippers are not aware, and it is an educational process for carriers to train the shippers.”
“I think the ELD mandate is one of the most unsafe regulations to be put into effect. No one should be forced to run by the minute; you should be able to have some leeway, especially when you’re driving down the road and your ELD is counting down like a ticking time bomb. When I drove one of my trucks with the ELD, I felt like I was under the gun all the time. I drove faster than I should and felt I had to hurry or be stuck out in the middle of nowhere. The ELD sucks but the HOS [hours of service rules] are really the bigger problem.”
Linda and Bob Caffee
“First, the freight rates have gone up. And it seems as if the trucks are actually taking a ten-hour break and a half-hour break. Trucks are running faster than they did, and I have heard of a couple of the mega fleets turning up their speed limiters so their trucks can run faster. There has been a lot more complaining by drivers that the ELD did not let them do something, but I remind them that they really have a complaint against the HOS, not the ELD."