The electronic logging device mandate took effect on December 18, 2017. Industry experts require a bit more time to fully gauge the impact of the ELD mandate on the trucking industry, but the signs so far have been positive.
Soon after the ELD mandate implementation, market conditions improved in favor of commercial drivers. Moreover, this trend of favorable market conditions is expected to continue and grow for at least six more months — until mid-2018.
The favorable market condition is good news. However, on the other hand, enforcement officer training is turning out to be a bit of a problem for truckers, and it’s an issue that needs to be highlighted.
There are multiple ELD enforcement issues that carriers and truckers need to be aware of. Following is one of them.
The FMCSA announced last year that ELD violations wouldn’t affect CSA scores until April 1, 2018. Therefore, inspectors have been trained to log violations for not having an ELD with the violation code “395.22A.” Uniform coding of these violations helps the agency filter them so the FMCSA can easily ignore ELD violations until April 1.
In other words, violations coded 395.22A won’t affect CSA scores until April 1, 2018, but closely related violations will.
At Motive, we have heard of instances where incorrect violation codes have been used by the DOT inspectors. It isn’t done with malicious intent, but SMS scores are important for carriers, and you should be able to identify and challenge the incorrect violation code if affected.
For more information, read identifying and challenging incorrect ELD violation codes.
Other than that, truckers using AOBRDs are also facing issues as some safety inspectors apparently are not aware of the grandfather clause.
Fred Fakkema, a former 25-year veteran with the Washington State Patrol and VP of compliance for Zonar Systems, says:
“The biggest problem we have seen at roadside is the training enforcement received is somewhat minimal if any. I think they are still going through it. The issue today is when one of our legacy customers that are running AOBRDs (automatic onboarding recording devices), which are grandfathered until 2019, is being questioned as to why they do not have an ELD and then are written up on the inspection report, if you will.”
The advice for truckers on the road is that “drivers need to indicate to enforcement, ‘No I am not using an ELD; I am using an AOBRD and I’m grandfathered in.”
Communication is the key here. It is important for truckers to communicate to law enforcers clearly that they are using AOBRDs — not ELDs — and the ELD mandate allows them to do so until December 16, 2019.
ELD adoption rates
CarrierLists conducted multiple surveys to find out about the ELD adoption rate at different times before and after the ELD mandate implementation.
Just a few months before the ELD mandate compliance deadline, the ELD adoption rate was hovering at around 25%. However, as the implementation deadline grew closer, the ELD adoption rate jumped up to 75%.
The 75% compliance rate, although a significant jump, wasn’t a good ELD adoption rate. Trucking industry experts believe that the CVSA’s announcement regarding the out-of-service enforcement delay until April 1, 2018, made some truckers and carriers complacent. Perhaps some carriers were also wishing for an out-of-the-blue deadline extension — but that never happened.
After the ELD mandate implementation, almost everybody realized that the FMCSA’s ELD rule is here to stay, and ELD violations still matter — despite not affecting CSA scores or leading to the out-of-service criteria enforcement.
A recent survey by CarrierLists revealed that the ELD adoption rate had jumped up to 90% in January 2018 before the numbers came down a bit.
“Nationwide and Super Regional compliance rates are now hovering at 90 percent, while regional carriers haven’t broken 70% and have spent the past three weeks on a downward trend,” the survey mentioned.
Predicting the rise of the ELD adoption rate in the next few weeks, Kevin Hill, the President and Founder of CarrierLists, said:
“I think a lot of them had equipment on back order. I expect that once we get well into January, it will start rising again once they get their devices from back order.”
As of this writing, long-haul carriers are now running close to 95%. On the other hand, shorter-haul regional fleets have still a compliance rate of just 75%.
After the ELD mandate implementation, the market conditions have aligned in favor of truckers. The national load-to-truck ratio for vans hit an all-time high — 10.1 loads per truck.
Based on the strong market conditions, economic growth, and a projected positive trend, Kevin Hill highlights that driver time is going to become much more valuable in 2018. He also says that shippers with inefficient loading or unloading times and detention problems will end up bearing more costs than their competitors.
In the end, they will have only two choices:
- Invest capital to become more efficient
- Pay more than the average market rates
Mark Montague, who is a DAT analyst, says, “I have been in drop lots where a driver has to spend a half-hour hunting down his trailer. So there are a number of things shippers can do to make it more friendly for truck drivers and minimize their time spent at the facilities.”
Montague highlights solid communication between the receiving gate and the dock to minimize loading and unloading times as a key thing. He also recommends shippers to make their facilities more available and accommodating for drivers taking their mandated breaks.
After the ELD mandate implementation, market conditions are favoring truckers. Moreover, the trend is expected to continue — which would also help in curtailing the driver shortage problem.
Furthermore, after using electronic logging devices for some time, carriers and truckers are also starting to explore the untapped potential of ELDs for minimizing their expenses, improving efficiency, and maximizing profit.