Efficiency Losing Devices
Everyone is talking about the ELD mandate that goes into effect this December or potentially delayed to Spring 2018. From my perspective, the discussion centers on who will be compliant and who will not. We should be talking about how this simply enforces the Hours of Service (HOS) and its inane “one size fits all” solution that is bad for the industry. To determine safety based just on the number of hours a driver is on duty and not take into account miles driven, conditions, places to park, loading/unloading procedures, experience of the driver, cross-country vs local deliveries and a host of other variables leads to a system that is unfair to the small cross country drivers who need some relief from the “system”. Hours of Service needs to be changed and the ELD mandate will only make the faulty HOS that much worse.
The biggest flaw in this system is that drivers and carriers are compensated based on miles traveled, as almost every load booked has the revenue broken down into what the load pays per mile, but the compliance mechanism is based on HOURS in service. This will lead to drivers pushing harder to cover more miles in the allotted hours. This could lead to roads being less safe as drivers will be pushed to their limits.
But the regulators know better right? It turns out they do not. FMCSA has been a terrible failure. The unintended consequences of their regulations have made the highways less safe. Just this past year highway deaths in crashes involving trucks have gone up 5.4%. This is a huge jump. After FMCSA enacted their CSA safety program intended to make the highways safer, the steady decline of deaths on the highway per mile were driven has reversed and we see a continual increase. CSA made a driver with 5 million miles in the driver seat but with some tickets or log book violations less valuable to a trucking company than a new driver with no violations. No consideration was made for the driver that had 5 million miles without an accident. The regulations made the driver with 5 million safe miles the enemy along with many of our best drivers in the industry.
Now the same situation is happening with ELDs. Experienced and safer drivers will leave the industry as they are displeased with the government regulators trying to control every little thing they do on the road. Less experienced drivers will push harder to “make their miles” based on the hours left on their ELDs. At a minimum, the ELD mandate should be delayed until HOS regulations are improved and more discretion is given to the professionals driving the trucks.