It’s official. The ELD Mandate is now the biggest priority for fleets and drivers in the trucking industry.
The American Transportation Research Institute earlier this month released its annual Top 10 list of critical issues facing the industry, and the federal ELD Mandate rocketed from No. 6 on that list a year ago to No. 1 this year. The survey drew 3,285 responses from across the industry. Of those, 64.5 percent came from drivers, 27.8 percent from trucking company officials, and 7.7 percent from other industry stakeholders.
Some of the top concerns about the ELD Mandate revolve around driver productivity and carrier operations. For drivers, the perception is that their earnings will effectively be capped if pay rates aren’t adjusted. For fleet operators, the perception is that the mandate is complicated and that their current operational methodologies will be significantly impacted. In other words, they will have to do things a different way that they are used to. In both cases, the concerns are about effecting the bottom line.
The ELD problem is so big that it booted the perennial No. 1 worry — hours of service — to the No. 2 spot. Third was the cumulative impact of regulations, another long-term and chronic issue facing the industry.
14 Months Out: Two-Thirds of Small Fleet Operators Aren’t Ready for ELD Mandate
Waiting appears to be the approach being taken by two out of three small trucking companies.
A recent survey done by Transplace, an industry management and logistics provider, showed that 38 percent of small carriers had no immediate plans to implement electronic logging devices ahead of the mandate’s December 2017 deadline. Only 33 percent of small carriers currently integrated any form of electronic logging into their fleets.
In contrast, the survey showed that 81 percent of large fleet operators (those with 250 or more trucks) have implemented a 395.15-compliant AOBRD system.
Clearly, the challenges from here on for small fleet operators will revolve around evaluating and selecting systems, getting the equipment installed, and training drivers and managers how to use the systems. Getting equipment delivered and installed, and personnel trained in the remaining 13 months before the mandate takes effect promises to be a challenge simply because so many different players will be competing for the time and attention of vendors, the shop time of technology installers and the services of contract or vendor-provided trainers.
Cost seems to be the single biggest reason for the discrepancy between large and small fleets. The survey showed that 55 percent of fleet operators have spent or plan to spend between $100 and $700 per truck to install ELD equipment, with the remaining 45 percent expecting to spend even more than that. For smaller operators, with smaller amounts of available cash and less access to debt markets, that kind of additional spending is a major hurdle.
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