Electronic Logging Mandate Confusion
Here we are over two months into the electronic logging device mandate and guess what? Utter confusion and uncertainty.
Is anyone really surprised?
Analysts are struggling to determine what effect ELD exemptions will have on the industry. The government and transportation executives are all trying to determine what freight needs to be exempted from the electronic logging requirements. It seems to us that the more freight and services we exempt because it is not practical to have the electronic logging device in the trucks the less sense the entire electronic logging device mandate makes.
How are the electronic logging devices going to be enforced going forward? Does anyone REALLY know? The industry was given two years to put the electronic logging devices in and get them operations yet the government still knew it could not afford to start enforcement on the required date. Instead, they just started writing tickets for a further couple of months and let the drivers go.
This was great for local law enforcement and the states. They get to collect revenue without actually enforcing the electronic logging mandate. Just another revenue grab by the states on a program that the Federal government is struggling to justify.
Anyone what to take a guess at how the insurance companies will look at the electronic logging mandate?
Our guess is they will give discounts to companies that have the electronic logs installed even though there is still a degree of debate on whether or not the electronic logs actually make the transportation industry safer. We base this on the fact that many car insurance companies give discounts to personal vehicles that place monitoring devices in their cars.
The problem is, a truck is not the same as a personal vehicle. In a personal vehicle you have no requirements on when and how long you can drive. You can do whatever you want. Therefore, it makes a little more sense to give a person a discount if they can prove they are a safe driver.
But, what about professional truck drivers? They are already heavily regulated. Not only work hours but previous employment history is checked. Professional truck drivers have a record of how they have done in previous on the road safety inspections in addition to their motor vehicle record. Professional truck drives already have limited duty time as well as random drug and alcohol tests.
In short, professional truck drivers are already well regulated and monitored even without electronic logging devices. Therefore, does the electronic logging device make them safer or give them another distraction in the cab of their truck. Does it force them to drive aggressively and even if they don’t feel like it?
We have spoken numerous times about how we don’t feel the 14 hour rule makes the transportation industry any safer. We firmly believe this one rule makes the industry more dangerous and is the biggest obstacle when it comes to the entire electronic logging device debate. Guys we need the 14 hour rule changed!
The bottom line is that the transportation industry has yet to feel the full effect of the electronic logging device mandate. But, it is coming. There are a lot of uncertainties and no one really knows how it will affect the industry as a whole. There is a lot of debate that it will not make the roads safer. Most people think it is a very safe thing to assume that it will constrict the overall capacity available to move freight by a significant amount.
Add this to the problems with infrastructure and rising insurance costs there may be tough times ahead for the transportation industry. Shippers and consignees have decided to fine carriers for late delivers due to carriers attempting to comply with the electronic logging device mandate which is placing the transportation industry in even more of a precarious position.
At some point the country is going to have to decide if they want to support the industry or if they want to see less trucks on the road, shortages of food in the grocery stores, no fuel at gas stations and a general increase in product prices across the board.
We are not promoting unsafe transportation practices; we are talking about having the best regulations that make the roads safe. Not just passing regulation for the sake of a politician getting their name in the paper. Let’s get regulations that actually make the roads safer. Let’s stop the shippers and consignees from penalizing the transportation industry when it complies with whatever regulation is out there.
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