When new technologies are introduced, there often comes a period of uncertainties and adjustments. More often than not, the technological advancement eventually results in improved accuracy, a reduction in operational expenditures, and increased profits.
The FMCSA’s ELD mandate saw a similar trend. Some drivers and carriers were not so sure about the mandate when it was first introduced. Trucking companies are now seeing the various benefits that electronic logging devices have.
In this blog post, we share what the executive of a long-haul carrier and an owner-operator have to say about ELDs, the ELD mandate, and the future of the trucking industry.
ELDs are not the problem
Edward Kern, the Vice President of pricing and network strategy of Covenant Transportation Group, said ELDs should not be a problem for carriers and drivers. Kern told FreightWaves: “ELDs really shouldn’t be a problem. A lot just don’t do it because they weren’t playing by the rules in the first place.”
Kern also disagrees with the observations of some drivers that ELDs are not flexible and will force drivers to drive when they are already exhausted.
Regarding the driver shortage issue, Kern believes that the trucking industry will eventually adjust and realize that it has to pay drivers more money.
“We also need to address the lifestyle issues, and treat them with the respect they deserve.”
In a separate talk with FreightWaves, truck driver Jeff Clark said that ELDs “don’t force” a driver to do anything, except take the 10-hour break.
“I’ve been using them for five years now, and the only difference is that I’m better rested,” said Clark who has been driving for 29 years, 16 of which as an owner-operator.
When it comes to speeding, Clark said that some drivers probably would do that. “I’m most efficient at 62-63 miles per hour, so that’s where I tend to run. Sometimes though, I might have to get it up to 68-70 if I need to make the run.”
Clark said that drivers could get a little obsessed with ELDs at first because the device will keep them focused on their stats, efficiency, and Hours of Service. However, he believes that drivers will get used to them within a year.
Clark also believes that electronic logging devices will tighten the supply of drivers and make their rates go up, resulting in a more favorable market condition for truckers. It will also make docks more efficient.
Apart from compliance, electronic logging devices have numerous benefits that can help trucking companies improve their operations, minimize costs, and maximize profits.
Some of the major benefits of ELDs include:
- The elimination of paperwork and the cost associated with it.
- More efficient route management to save fuel, time, and money.
- Streamlining communication between drivers and fleet managers.
- Reducing administrative burdens, e.g., IFTA calculation.
- Reducing fuel wastage with features like idle-time tracking.
- Simplification and automation of vehicle maintenance.
- Improving fleet safety by monitoring critical events and bad driving behaviors.
And much more.
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