Electronic Logging Devices in Trucking Industry

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Reasoning behind the Devices

As of April 1, 2018, the trucking industry has seen a major change to its operation. This change comes in the form of electronic logging devices, otherwise known as ELDs. ELDs are designed to track truck drivers’ time on the road. These devices have been implemented to make highways safer, forcing truck drivers to rest rather than falling asleep at the wheel.

Since 2003 truck drivers have been limited to 11 hours of driving during a 14-hour on-duty stretch. The problem is waiting times, such as traffic or waiting at the loading dock.  Previously, drivers were required to have a paper log book that they filled in tracking their hours. The paper copy was easy to manipulate allowing the drivers to drive for as many hours as they like. The ELDs will stop the manual process.

Fines and other penalties will be enforced on companies and drivers who have not implemented these ELDs as well as those who are not abiding by the guidelines.

What does this mean for the New England area?

Truck drivers make their money on hauling fully loaded trucks.  It becomes problematic if the driver is dropping off a load in Maine but his next pick up is in Pennsylvania.  As they trek to New England, they are coordinating their next pick up, as close to the drop off point as possible, maximizing their routes.  Traveling empty is detrimental to the profitability of the trucking industry as is not having enough scheduled pick-ups in a given year.

The New England market is known for bringing materials in but due to its lack of manufacturing base, we don’t have a lot going out.  As a result, finding a return load becomes more difficult.  We are finding that trucking companies are apprehensive coming to the New England market and if they do, we are going to pay for it. 

The implementation of the ELD’s is forcing truck drivers to pull over and rest.  This is great for our highway safety and those behind the wheel.  However, the government has stepped in and has implemented a funnel to the trucking industry.  Before, truckers would manipulate their paper logs attempting to run as many routes as possible in a year to maximize their income.  Today, they are forced to slow down, be safer and run less routes because they are being tracked. 

This creates two issues for us.  The first is that prices are going up simply because they can’t run as many routes as they have in the past.  If they want to make the same as last year, they can’t increase the number of hauls but can increase the $/route.  Secondly, we don’t have nearly as many trucks available to us in the NE market.  Drivers are seeking the most profitable routes in the market.  For instance, if they can run back and forth from NJ to PA 3-times a day vs. taking a load to NE and having an empty truck on the way back, they are going to stay in the NJ region.  The result is that your product may be ready to ship and is sitting on the loading dock waiting for a truck driver to emerge.  We are already seeing higher costs and slower deliveries due to the implementation of ELD’s. 

Bode Equipment Company is working with a variety of partners to assist in making this process less impactful to the client.  We are aware of the variables affecting our industry (read our other blog on steel costs and post on Section 179).  We are here to guide our clients as they navigate through their project needs.  We recognize that scheduled deliveries and maintaining schedule deadlines are very important. 

If Bode Equipment Company can assist with any of your material handling or loading dock and door projects, send us an email info@bodeequipment.com, visit our websites www.BodeEquipment.com & www.BodeDockandDoor.com, or Just Call Bode! 800-797-5699.

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