News outlets are constantly reporting on growing vacancies in the trucking industry. To compensate for the already existing vacancies, and to meet the high demand of the current economic upswing, the trucking industry needs to hire roughly 900,000 people. While reasons ranging from retiring truckers to pay rates are often cited, the Department of Transportation will be looking at another factor – electronic logging devices. A new bill proposes a study by the DOT to see how many drivers left the trucking industry over the ELD mandate.
HR 6159 was introduced late last month, by Representative Kevin Cramer of North Dakota. Representative Cramer wants the DOT to study how many truckers have quit their jobs due to the restrictions imposed by electronic logging devices. The study will report its findings to the committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, Education and the Workforce, Energy and Commerce, and the House of Representatives. The entirety of HR 6159 can be found here.
This is not about Ideology
The impetus behind HR 6159 is not based on a feeling or suspicion. Since last December, the DOT has noticed a decrease in active truckers. For those in the trucking industry, the gap in the talent pool has been widening. No one can say for certain if truckers have jumped ship to any particular industry, but the drop in numbers has been impossible to ignore. Truckers didn’t quit in some protest against technology. If truckers left their jobs, it was because electronic logging devices forced them to be less efficient with lower take-home pay.
Corrective Action from the DOT Study
We do not yet know what the Department of Transportation will uncover in their study. The facts we currently have can help make the process a bit clearer. First, the private sector relies on the trucking industry to move 70 percent of goods and materials across the country. After the ELD mandate went live, special provisions had to be made to ensure agricultural shipments were delivered in a timely manner. More provisions are on deck to correct the hold-ups caused by ELDs. Reduced hours mean reduced pay, especially when trucks are considered “active” while waiting at loading docks. Unless something changes, the trucking industry will need to hire approximately one million drivers by 2020 to keep supply chains moving in the United States.
As results come from the DOT’s study on electronic logging devices, Express Freight Finance will publish the information.