ELD Survey Series: ELDs and the Long-Term Industry Impact

Posted - October 27, 2016

By: Ben Cubitt, Senior Vice President, Engineering & Strategic Carrier Management

In part 1 of this series, I discussed the recent ELD Survey conducted by Transplace in order to gain insight into the implementation preparedness of transportation carriers and the expected industry impact of these devices. In this post, I’ll outline more of the key takeaways from the survey and discuss how ELDs will be impacting the transportation industry overall in the long term.

Capacity and the Driver Shortage Cause Concerns…

According to the results of the survey, while most carriers expect their capacity or utilization to be affected as a result of ELDs, the level of expected change varies significantly by carrier.

  • 56% of large fleets expect their utilization to decrease, while 32% expect to see no impact from the implementation of ELDs.
  • Smaller fleets are even more cautious about how their utilization will be affected, with 64% expecting a decrease and 25% expecting to see no change.
  • One response said: “Rate increases will be forthcoming to shippers that take excessive time to load or unload.”Additionally, as some expected, some carriers reported losing truck drivers after implementing ELDs. However, most carriers indicated that they only lost a few if any drivers. One response to the survey said, “Many drivers feel that the waiting times incurred at a shippers facility that are currently unlogged will now be logged – and that this will negatively affect their pay.” One respondent also had a comment about driver pay in light of these changes: “We only lost a few [drivers], but we did give a raise to our drivers so we would not lose as many because we anticipated a learning curve and knew they would lose money.”

…But There Are Benefits to ELDs

Although there are certainly concerns from many regarding their widespread implementation, ELDs will have several positive business benefits within the industry. In addition to logging driver hours, most monitoring devices measure other areas of driver and truck performance. According to the survey, carriers do foresee some benefits as a result of ELD utilization within their companies, including:

  • Improved monitoring (33%)
  • Better utilization of drivers and equipment (21%)
  • Driver convenience (10%)
  • Reduction in operating costs (2%)
  • Fuel savings (2%)

In fact, once ELDs have been implemented, 84% of respondents report a reduction in the HOS and logging violations. One response noted, “Mandatory ELDs will create a level playing field and position us to better control our customers’ (often unrealistic) expectations.”

While a lot can happen between now and when the mandate takes full effect on December 16, 2017, most carriers – large and small – anticipate a noticeable impact to utilization and capacity. The challenge will be to find the right balance of good safety practices without causing a significant disruption to the transportation industry.

Shippers will continue to follow this ELD initiative closely and many are beginning to document their carriers’ ELD implementation status. These shippers are surveying their carriers to confirm ELD adoption status and also press carriers who have not implemented ELDs on their plans to move to full ELD compliance.

What long-term impacts do you think the ELD mandate will have on the industry?