The purpose of the FMCSA ELD devices data tracking implementation is to improve significantly commercial truckers’ compliance with hours-of-service rules.
In the period leading up to the ELD device mandate, nearly 67% of the fleets surveyed were compliant, and 22% of fleets became compliant by the ELD compliance deadline.
As the ELDs track the truck driver’s hours of work, location, distance traveled, and perhaps even driver behavior, this enforcement is projected to minimize driving fatigue.
This kind of technology can be revolutionary in the commercial fleet industry and is predicted to be a game-changer for transportation businesses and drivers.
Many stakeholders in the commercial trucking industry are concerned about the effects of the e-log and the future challenge to fulfill the demands of shippers.
Therefore, this article addresses how the ELD affects the trucking industry in terms of service and benefits.
Effect of ELD Devices on Truck Drivers
Truckers drove, on average, up to 60 hours every week before the ELD implementation.
However, these drivers can constitutionally drive up to 55 hours per week since the introduction of the ELD devices. This reduces the number of driving hours.
And, therefore, restricts short-term capacity until all operators, drivers, and shippers transitioned to the ELD.
ELDs implement tight time constraints faster. This way, the delay of a truck for longer than two hours at a shipper/receiver will cause the driver to lose income for the day.
As ELDs force truckers to take a 10-hour break; Shipping companies now have huge pressure to reach loading times.
Also, a switch to ELDs has prompted numerous truckers to quit the industry. Similarly, after the introduction of the ELD mandate, many shipping companies reported losing truckers.
In fact, 51% of carriers reported losing drivers that didn’t want to work with ELDs devices.
Impact of ELD Devices on Trucking Companies
When the ELD was first introduced, Medium to large commercial trucking companies with a fleet size of over 250 vehicles started with positive outcomes using ELDs.
However, the effects of the ELD devices are held out and challenged by some small fleet owners/operators.
Their objections originate mainly from lack of flexibility, costs, and privacy concerns.
Small trucking companies and owner-operators would have to pay for the ELD purchase price and recurring ELD service subscription charges.
A standard ELD device’s total expense is calculated at $40 per month per truck.
If the amount of safety features grows, prices will rise, in addition to other features such as front and rear-facing cameras, lane deviation, yaw, and pitch tracking, among many others.
Although $480 in annual spending does not seem absurd, however, the industry’s margins are still tight.
Many drivers between the age range of 45-49 years abandoned their work when the ELD mandate was implemented.
And this led to the attrition of more than 25 percent of commercial truck drivers.
Finding professional drivers become problematic for shippers and carriers; the shortage of tractor-trailer drivers is expected to have been around 239,000 by 2022.
Effect of ELD Devices on Trucking Industry Capacity
Independently owned and operated trucking businesses working under the regulatory radar completely abide by the HoS.
And This is anticipated to contribute to a reduction in the productivity of drivers.
The ELD mandate created a capacity shortfall equal to around 200,000 to 300,000 trucks based on forecasts.
Although this prediction could be high, however, ELD devices' effect on the trucking industry is expected to increase yearly.
With a fleet size of 5-10 trucks, 71 percent of independent truckers are the average.
Thus, the gross loss for shipping companies is expected to be about 260,000 to 300,000 vehicles in the future.
It would also result in a significant truck shortage, about 5-8 percent of market losses, and this also translates into higher freight rates.
Health insurance premiums
Increased compliance with ELD device regulation is projected to lead to smoother road construction and reduced accidents, therefore lowering insurance premiums.
Congestion of the Parking Area
The ELD mandate removes the flexibility faced by drivers using paper logs. Therefore, drivers might change their habits to find secure parking with decreased flexibility.
A report showed that lack of production due to parking issues would cost a commercial trucking company between 1 to 2 loads a month. Which, in turn, can also cost between $1,000 and $5,000 monthly.
Impact of ELD Devices on Road Freight Rates
The use of ELD devices also affects freight rates, just like it does to trucking capacity.
Carriers companies are reportedly facing a lack of drivers to transport freight. They will also be forced to increase rates to pay for unused overheads.
The yearly rates of spot van line-haul are 2.2 percent higher without fuel surcharges.
Line-haul rates for flatbed trucks are 2.9 percent higher.
There are competitive spot rates, which are negotiated separately between independent carriers and independent truck drivers and brokers.
Contract rate movements, which are long-term arrangements between carriers as well as shippers, have further slowed down.
Due to the shortage of drivers and trucks in the market, the average freight rates have been risen by around 5-10 percent since 2017-2020.
Presently, shippers have continued to experience a shortage of trucks and, therefore, will tend to endure this shortage mostly during peak periods.
ELD devices Impact on Productivity
DAT reports indicate that after the ELD regulation was implemented, nearly 67.3 percent of truck drivers participating in the survey say they are traveling fewer miles.
Simultaneously, almost 71 percent reported making less money when they had to stop after 11 hours.
One-day trips are being stretched into two days by bad traffic, delays at docks, or finding it difficult to find parking space. And these eliminate a few hours of their work time daily.
To solve this issue, many major brokers are now requesting Two-driver teams.
Despite any problems they might face on the route, teams can travel twice the miles in a day to guarantee the freight is delivered on schedule.
When a business driver is delayed and so out of driving hours, some large fleets, therefore, managed to find a way to maximize productivity by sending out yet another vehicle to pick up the load.
For one-truck companies, which have little flexibility in their day until their driving hours are over, this is not the case.
Effect of ELD Devices on COST
The FMCSA forecasts that the ELDs would save more than $1.6 billion annually in savings on paperwork alone.
They also said that fleet carriers would lower fuel costs, reduced vehicle downtime, and reduced overall accident rates, to mention a few.
Still, $1.6 billion in savings on paperwork is impossible to believe.
The following is a summary of the outcomes of the FMCSA Regulatory Impact Analysis.
- RODS Driver Filling: $4877
- RODS Submission: $566
- Filling Rods: 120 dollars
- paper log-books Elimination 42
Total: $705 a year in savings on paperwork
Let us just admit the facts, the savings are incredible; however, do the costs of implementing the ELDs compensate them?
Per truck, the most common ELD solution would cost carriers around $495.
That is a massive cost for a small to a medium-sized company - Something that could dramatically affect the functionality of their business.
Effect of ELD devices on SAFETY
The major factor behind the ELD implementation is safety in the first place.
For over three million vehicles on the road, the ELD mandate applies.
That's three million drivers because of fatigue as well as inaccurate HOS logging that could cause fewer accidents.
An FMCSA analysis predicts that, due to driver drowsiness, the ELD device will help stop roughly 20 fatal accidents and 434 injuries annually.
It will help ensure that all drivers follow established safety and compliance guidelines by dumping the paper and pen procedure and implementing the ELD model.
Road Inspections Increase Since 2017
About 95 percent of the inspections are performed by state inspectors, with the remaining carried out by federal inspectors.
And it is established during the inspection if the truck driver or the ruck complies with the FMCSRs or the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs).
Significant breaches result in the issuing of out-of-service (OOS) orders for trucks or drivers.
Before the driver or truck returns to work, these breaches must be addressed.
The number of checks performed by both federal and state inspectors is rising.
3,457,102 truck inspections reported carried out in 2017, and 3,508,719 vehicle inspections were carried out in 2018;
And that is a significant increase when compared to 3,382,980 inspections carried out in 2015.
The Main Causes of Truck Accidents
Among the riskiest careers in the modern age is truck driving.
A report released a few years back was rated one of the ten deadliest occupations in the world.
To understand how risky it is, remember the fact that mining, logging, and deep-sea fishing were included among some of the other occupations on the list.
By trucks and heavy vehicles, approximately 70% of the goods carried across the U.S. are transported.
These transported goods include raw materials, gasoline, food products, imported goods as well as finished products.
These account for products worth $671 billion last year.
And As per the American Trucking Associations, over 15 million trucks work in the U.S., and over 7.4 million individuals are working in jobs linked to trucking, making it the world's biggest transportation industry.
A U.S. government study showed that 65% of truck drivers' on-the-job injuries were caused by collisions and traffic accidents.
There have been over 400,000 fatal crashes involving heavy trucks last year, about 1,100 a day.
Although truck crashes have many causes.
However, the study concludes that there are so many reasons why truck accidents are much more prevalent than just about every other form of road traffic accident.
- Some of the reason outlined are;
- Speeding and Reckless Driving
- Poor Truck Maintenance
- Unsafe Driving Practices
- Distracted Truck Drivers
- Inexperienced Drivers
- Vehicle Critical Error
- Truck Driver Fatigue
- Weather Conditions
- Overloaded Cargo
- Road Conditions
Truck Accidents Data From 2017 To 2020?
4,136 deaths involving heavy vehicles occurred in 2018 in the united states.
67% of the heavy truck casualties were people in other vehicles.
3,204 among the involved vehicles were tractor-trailers (74 percent), and 1,108 (27 percent) were single-unit trucks.
The overall number of deaths in 2017 involving trucks is 4,115. (21 less than 2018).
The number of miles traveled in the United States by truckers keeps increasing, as predicted.
Drivers driving large semi-trucks drove almost 305,000,000,000 miles in 2018 alone.
In 2019, a total of 2,734 fatal accidents were recorded in the United States involving buses and trucks.
According to a preliminary analysis released in January 2020, 3,087 deaths were reported in those accidents.
In accidents involving big buses and trucks, another 60,818 persons were injured. There was a total of 122,331 destroyed or damaged vehicles.
NHTSA also published confirmatory fatality figures for the first half of 2020.
The latest figures show that throughout the second quarter of 2020, 8,870 people had died in vehicle traffic collisions, which was a 3.3 percent decline relative to the second quarter of 2019.
Of course, it should be remembered that at the peak of the public health crisis of COVID-19, the second quarter was when stay-at-home directives were in place all over the country.
In the first six months of 2020, the overall traffic level fell by more than 16 percent.
Which ELD Systems Are Most Used in The Industry?
In the ELD device market, Keeptruckin, Omnitracs, Teletrac Navaman, and Geotab Gand Donlen are among some of the prominent companies.
Besides, these devices and technologies are provided by many regional & local companies.
To gain a strategic edge in the market, companies concentrate on new product innovations. Manufacturers are also focused on bringing value to more advanced tech & hardware applications for devices.
Some of the mosts patronized companies in the ELD market are AT&T Fleet Complete, Blue Ink Technology, CarrierWeb, Donlen, Garmin ELD, Geotab, KeepTruckin, Omnitracs, ORBCOMM, Pedigree Technologies, Samsara, Stoneridge, Teletrac Navaman, TomTom Telematics, Transflo, Trimble, Verizon Connect, Wheels Inc.
In March 2019, for instance, Omnitracs acquired Blue Dot Technologies to expand the business by focusing on advanced fleet management system development.
The companies that supply the fleet management solution concentrate on integrating different features in the units.
Donlen collaborated with an AI technology firm, Nauto, in April 2019 to implement safer AI-based fleet management technologies.
Improve Data Tracking and Analysis by Carriers
As shown in a new survey by Fleet Advantage, more than a quarter of major fleet companies said that ELD data is reducing running costs by at least $4,000 annually per vehicle.
Operating expenses were cut by at least $1,000 annually per vehicle by as much as 30% of the participants.
Using data collection to help fleet customers handle lifecycle expenses;
Fleet Advantage spoke to more than 700 fleet owners and executives who run vast fleets to ask them questions about the implementation of analytics, what areas they use analytics in, and what outcomes they have achieved.
Fleets of more than 200 vehicles are operated by over 45% of those surveyed.
Eighty-one percent of participants had no analytical plan for their fleet 5 years earlier, the study found.
Today, 61 percent of fleets employ analytics to measure everything from the vehicle position to repairs to fuel trends on a regular or weekly basis.
The area wherein analytics produced the largest profit margin was fuel data, with 27.5 percent of fleets monitoring how fuel was used by their trucks.
When other core aspects are affected, up to 19 percent of fleet professionals pointed to service and maintenance and driver behavior changes.
Taking full advantage of these technologies would allow you even to cut costs further and make driving safer.
Reduces Fuel Costs
As an ELD will detect unnecessary idle periods and even speeding incidents for trucks, it would offer the chance to reduce vehicle fuel consumption.
You will be able to build incentive packages to enable truck drivers to boost fuel efficiency.
Truck Downtime reduces
You would be able to reap the benefits of all the available vehicles to the best of your ability with the help of ELDs.
Users of the fleet management system would be able to minimize truck downtime and improve the truck's efficiency.
The Aberdeen Group's experiments have shown the importance of ELDs to reducing the downtime of vehicles.
Total Crash Rates Lowers
A study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Center for Truck and Bus Safety showed that;
Vehicle drivers who used E-Logs have a lower average crash rate and a completely avoidable crash rate than trucks that haven't had electronic driver logs.
Help in Regulatory compliance
There are a lot of requirements for the ELD Mandate.
And this makes it easier for a fleet company to comply and be accredited by other regulations, such as the Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports and IFTA.
Cybersecurity Impact on Trucking Industry - Risks and Prevention
A Private Industry Notification (PIN 20200721-001) issued by the FBI, detailing vulnerabilities on a group of self-certified ELDs on July 21, 2020.
The vulnerabilities may allow an intruder to steal and corrupt data generated by eld and, in certain instances, insert commands into the electronic control unit (ECU) of a truck to trigger the truck to behave in unpredictable ways.
However, ELD is vulnerable to electronic attack, interruption, and compromise, like any system with network connections.
If the system is connected to shipping monitoring or dispatching systems, an intruder could be capable of reaching or interrupt those networks.
And, just like every other network-connected device, if it has not been built with security in mind, hackers are highly likely to find ways to exploit the bugs to their advantage.
It takes front diligence to assess and pick an ELD approach to implement the necessary technology and controls for continuing due care.
As a result of due diligence, when evaluating and implementing an ELD solution for your fleet, we suggest answering the following questions:
- Request a map of the data plains?
- where the ELD data is generated, gathered, processed, distributed, and stored?
- And how is the process of prevention built-in to the solution's design and development?
- Is the ELD system been independently verified for flaws in data protection?
- What are other measures used to secure data privacy in the solution?
- At any point throughout the flow of data, what are the potential risks?
- What are your roles in handling the solution to keep it safe?
- How is the data protected or encrypted?
These questions are not a deterrent to the use of new technological developments;
However, they help recognize possible challenges and include the knowledge required for an educated decision to be taken by the fleet manager.