Up until recently, truckers would spend time logging hours with pen and paper. As of December 2017, electronic logging devices (ELDs) will be mandatory in all trucks. However, the potential disparity created by ELDs could negatively impact the trucking industry as a whole.
How Logging Hours Electronically Might Reduce Income
Truckers have been logging hours manually for decades. In an industry where many drivers are paid by the mile, being able to show how quickly they delivered shipments counted in their favor. As it stands, drivers have a limit of eleven hours of driving per day. Being held up at a dock, for instance, while cargo is loaded or unloaded, counts against that time, because drivers are not getting paid while they wait. This, of course, leads to violations due to rounding down time. With mandatory ELDs, the ability to round down will disappear, and many drivers could face a decrease in income.
A Potential Reduction In Available Drivers
With ELDs logging hours instead of having truckers do it themselves, the trucking industry may be facing a workforce reduction. As things stand, the trucking industry is experiencing a shortage of drivers. A decrease in income might force smaller and independent carriers out of the industry. Additionally, logging hours electronically might prevent new drivers from signing on with fleets.
Safety And Transparency
Driving log violations comprise roughly seventeen percent of trucking violations, closely followed by exceeding the limit allowed on the road in a single stretch, and speeding. ELDs are designed to rectify these problems. It is a big step in ensuring safety, protecting the well-being of drivers, and reducing the number of fees and record violations that both drivers and fleet owners have to deal with.
Beyond ELDs And The Potential Income Reduction
Some have proposed that the trucking industry needs to rethink it’s payment model. If drivers are not being paid while they are waiting at the dock, yet still experience pressure to move loads as quickly as possible, then ELDs are going to become an obstacle. The industry as a whole needs to rethink how truckers are going to be paid, since ELDs will be working to limit hours and make sure drivers do not push themselves to the point of injuring themselves or others, with long hours on the road. Additionally, drivers are integral to the freight business, and need to have livable wages, which will also entice new blood to join the ranks.