Seth Clevenger and Eric Miller from Transport Topics, a freight transportation publication, hosted a web broadcast last month to discuss the effect of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate on the trucking industry. The biggest takeaway from the broadcast was the opportunities companies and drivers currently have from the advancements in technology.
To start the program, Tom McLeod, president of McLeod Software, discussed current forces in the industry and the continuous improvements companies need to incorporate into their core competencies. Seth started the discussion by highlighting the strong economy and the tight freight capacity market. Tom spoke of the forces that are creating strains on capacity. He mentioned the strong economy and driver shortages’ impact on the industry. He maintained that driver shortages were due to driver pay not keeping up with other industries and a shortage of nine million people from the ages of 35-50. Tom stated that in the past when the economy was strong, there were driver shortages, but now the situation is compounded by ELD. He added that this disruption could create opportunities for companies connecting with their shippers.
Seth and Tom further discussed how fleets could succeed in this new environment with ELD available. They noted that by providing more support to drivers in planning the freight, the operational departments of companies would help keep the productivity where it needs to be, while increasing driver income, preserving freight revenue for companies and maintaining service levels to customers. They also said that companies and drivers need to look at hours-of-service compliance to ensure they make the pickup and delivery on time.
Kerri Wirachowsky, director of Roadside Inspection Program at the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, discussed how drivers could now be saving time with implementation of ELD. She noted that with enforcement being in effect since April 1, violations with the hours of service limits have decreased. Drivers are operating in real time and are not behind in recording their hours, which can lead to saved time and efficiencies. Kerri stated that if drivers were in compliance with logging hours of services before, they could be making more money with efficiencies gained with ELD tracking of hours of service.
Edin Selimagic, safety manager for Midwest Freight Systems of Warren, Michigan, was the last of the panelist and spoke about drivers’ feedback with ELD compliance. He noted that, thus far, most drivers have provided positive feedback such as improved rest and have even been requesting additional ELD training. He also noted that, while subject to roadside inspections, drivers feel confident because they have the logs to support their hours of service.
In conclusion, the more companies and drivers take advantages of the opportunities the ELD provide, the more they will gain from the disruption of the mandatory ELD compliance.
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