Is the ELD Mandate in the US Working?
The answer to the above question is yes – but not without some repercussions. The ELD Mandate is the most recent, widely encompassing directive laid down by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).
In a nutshell, the ELD Mandate makes it mandatory for all commercial vehicles over 10,000 lbs (4.5 tons) in the US to be equipped with Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). The main purpose of these ELDs is to monitor a driver’s Hours of Service, ensuring that the drivers of America’s heavy truck industry don’t drive fatigued on the nation’s highways. It also has other features that the US government believes will benefit the trucking industry in the long run.
The mandate has proven to be a very important piece of legislation because nearly every significant industry in the US depends on heavy, long haul trucks. Construction and engineering companies are one group that are being heavily affected by the mandate. These companies depend on haul trucks, maintenance trucks, fuel supply trucks, and other heavy carriers for transporting construction equipment.
For Construction Pros details several reasons why this mandate is a good development for the construction and engineering industries. For instance, ELDs come with GPS-enabled fleet management software. This gives fleet operators the ability to plan their routes, and update the drivers live via the ELDs installed in their vehicles. The sheer amount of operational data derived from being able to plan and execute routes has already been instrumental in the efficient operations of many construction companies.
Other than planning the most efficient routes, the software has also helped in preventive maintenance, and the use of under-utilised company assets. In short, it provides a greater overview of available company resources, where they are, and their current status – a definite operational benefit for the logistics side of the construction industry.
ELDs have another feature that ensures that the heavy trucking fleets avoid traffic violations, sanctions, and fees. Verizon Connect in their overview of ELDs inform how the devices are designed to keep fleets road-legal. This is achieved through compliance software that monitors changing government regulations and informs the drivers of these changes in real time. This means that more vehicles can be maximised, resulting in less delays on construction projects.
While ELDs are clearly beneficial on paper, they have faced some push back from the freight industry. Some trucking professionals are saying that it’s harming the delivery industry. North-eastern Ohio driver Steven Wright explains that they’re no longer able to drive and earn as much as they used to before ELDs became mandatory. “The longer you spend on the road, the more money you get,” says Wright, who says that the 14-hour overall ELD work cap is unreasonable, especially considering that many of those hours are spent at unloading sites. Meanwhile, other drivers have raised similar concerns, including how the mandated breaks scheduled at the same time through ELDs leave parking lots filled with resting truck drivers.
In short, the ELD Mandate is not perfect yet. But given how it currently operates, it looks like a positive overall step in ensuring the safety and efficiency of the American heavy trucking industry. If you’re looking for more similar news stories, Highways.Today has more reports and insights on the huge and burgeoning industry of transportation in the United States.