Earlier this month, the “hard enforcement” of electronic logging devices went into effect. While many drivers have not really noticed anything different, the statistics are showing different trucking trends. As we start the second quarter of 2018, more than four months since the ELD mandate went into effect, there are a few things to look out for by the end of the year.
Trucking Trends In Productivity
Electronic logging devices are causing a decrease in productivity. This was realized at the beginning of 2018 when special provisions were made for livestock and agriculture shipments, because of the time-sensitive nature of what those truckers were transporting. However, the limits imposed by ELDs indicates a decrease in productivity across the board, which unfortunately will impact revenue for businesses across the board. If businesses do not have materials or products, they cannot make sales.
One of the most apparent trucking trends noticed by drivers has been the severe lack of parking at rest stops and elsewhere. The limited active hours means drivers must be off the road for a minimum of eight hours every day. Even if not all truckers are working the same daily schedules, the overlap of down time makes available parking spaces scarce. This is something which should be remedied when the FMCSA’s ELD mandate is revisited this year.
The Mandate Is Driving Demand And Rates
On the plus side, the ELD mandate is indirectly contributing to a strong economy. Due to limited hours, customers are lining up to secure their positions with available truckers. Independent owner operators are projected to see a jump in overall revenue because of these trucking trends. The new surge in hiring truckers to meet customer demand means increased costs, which will translate to higher shipping rates. So while productivity has taken a temporary downturn, the ELDs are increasing demand and shipping rates.
Increased Insurance Rates
Drivers without electronic logging devices are placed out of service. Unfortunately, being placed out of service for not having a working or approved ELD also impacts a driver’s safety record. By extension, the trucking industry may see a hike for insurance premiums starting this month, as spot checks and roadside inspections kick in to make sure drivers are compliant with the ELD mandate.
One of the trucking trends driven by the ELD mandate is a loss of revenue traced back to waiting time at the docks. While the waiting times have not changed, electronic logging devices are still recording time. Since most drivers are still paid by the mile, the wait eats into revenue, and simultaneously makes some drivers appear sluggish. Many truckers argue that if the ELD mandate is to be effective, then something has to be done at the docks so drivers are not losing up to $2,000 per year.