We are coming up to the one year mark of the mandatory implementation of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) in the trucking industry. While we cannot know for sure, just yet, if it has made an impact in trucking or not, we can take a look at what they have done to improve the safety on the road for truck drivers.
Paper logs are a thing of the past. This means, everything is automated. Drivers can no longer falsify their drive time, which in turn leads to them getting more rest than they were pre-ELDs. According to Thomas Bray, a consultant with J.J. Keller & Associates Inc, “This is because several of the tricks that were available when using paper logs to shorten the 10-hour break are not ‘transferable’ to electronic logs. When using an electronic log, 10 hours means 10 hours, not six or seven hours plus three or four hours of delay time moved from the workday into the break (a common trick when using paper logs).”
ELDs should also lower driver turnover. With this routing and scheduling software, unbiased routes are assigned to the drivers with their actual availability. ELDs can even take into consideration their individual needs such as days off or certain schedules they may request.
It could take a few years to be able to see any sort of impact ELDs might have in trucking. Change can be a hard thing for anyone therefore, driver pushback is inevitable. When you are used to doing something one way for years and then have to make a modification, it can be difficult.
One difficulty drivers are facing are the hours of service (HOS) time being documented while they are sitting in traffic or waiting for a load or to unload. Many drivers who were interviewed by Fleet Owner magazine are feeling rushed now more than ever. One driver who has driven for over 16 years states, “I have never felt like I was under the gun to rush before like I do now. In the past few months, my 14-hour clock catches me more. This is due to delays at shippers and consignees taking their sweet time to load or unload.” He also added, “Since I'm paid by the mile, my paychecks have become more unpredictable. Where I used to be more cautious in many areas such as construction zones and metropolitan cities and towns, I have found myself and others trying to push harder to get through," he added. "I believe ELDs have caused more safety issues than before."
Some positives that ELDs have brought to drivers… Rates have improved and they are getting more rest. Do the pros outweigh the cons? It might be too early to tell. We will take a look at it in another year.