Within one month, the electronic logging device mandate will take effect. While shippers have known about the mandate for two years, truckers, shippers and carriers are still concerned about how it will impact capacity. Paired with soaring manufacturing and tightening capacity within the last month, the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate could cause the capacity crunch to worsen. In addition, other regulations, like changing attitudes and backlash at the environmental protection agency (EPA) and struggling infrastructure in Hurricane-affected areas, could cause further capacity problems. To help prevent the worsening of the capacity crunch, let’s take a closer look at how the ELD mandate and other regulations may affect capacity.
What Is the ELD Mandate?
The ELD mandate is a portion of the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” bill, which was passed by the United States Congress in 2012, explains ELDFacts.com. The bill outlines criteria for highway funding and the use of ELDs for use in a trucker’s Record of Duty Status. Today, the record of duty status is used to record compliance with an existing hours of service (HOS) requirements. Although the ELD mandate is a means to tracking HOS requirements, the two laws are completely different. As a result, but the ELD mandate and HOS regulations may have separate impacts on the capacity crunch.
When Does It Take Effect?
The ELD mandate is set to take effect December 10, 2017, and unfortunately, many owner-operator, truckers have not yet completed the installation of ELDs or found an appropriately authorized and licensed ELD vendor, says Jeff Berman of Supply Chain 24/7. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will not begin requiring inspectors to place commercial motor vehicle drivers without and installed ELD out of service until April 1, 2018.
Even truckers with prior ELDs installed, which may have been installed before 2012, the upcoming ELD deadline has stringent requirements for what type of ELD may be used and who may install it. Truckers with existing ELDs from the pre-ELD mandate period will be automatically grandfathered into the existing list of ELDs at the end of 2019. Therefore, truckers looking to continue driving for the next two years need to have a new, approved ELD installed no later than the April deadline, if not the preferred December deadline. In the interim, politicians are still in debate about if the costs of installing new ELDs is justified under existing regulations, reports Supply Chain Dive. However, part of the reason the FMSCA has not yet rescinded or pushed back implementation revolves around HOS requirements.
What About HOS Regulations and the Capacity Crunch?
The capacity crunch revolves around how much available capacity is being used at any given time in the trucking industry. As a result, capacity is directly tied to the number of drivers which may be operating at any given time simultaneously. According to the FMCSA, the HOS rules are quite specific for property-carrying drivers. These include the following:
- Truckers have an 11-hour driving limit, and truckers may only drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. Considering the amount of time required to park a truck, take breaks and other activities, it is nearly impossible for drivers to get in a full, 11 hours of daily driving while still obtaining the 10 required, consecutive hours off duty.
- Drivers now also have a 14-hour absolute driving limit for driving after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours of off-duty.
- Drivers must also take breaks and may only drive if eight hours or less have passed since the end of the drivers last off-duty.
- Perhaps the biggest impact for the HOS regulation is its specification of how many hours a driver may work within an eight-day period. If the driver drives for seven consecutive days, a trucker may not drive more than 60 hours on duty in the same period. Similarly, driver may not drive more than 70 hours with it in eight consecutive days. This consecutive. Can only restart after a driver takes 34 or more hours off duty.
Considering the HOS requirements, think about what this means for driver completing a two-way trip that requires 10 hours each way. The driver may now be limited to only making 14 total roundtrips within a seven-day period. Prior to the HOS requirement implementation, the same driver could have successfully completed an extra two trips by adding 2.5 hours to the daily driving schedule. Under the new HOS guidelines, the number of trips drivers may make is severely limited.
The Big Picture
The HOS requirements directly revolve around the ELD implementation and vice versa. The ELD will be used to track and monitor drivers existing adherence to HOS regulations, so regulations may adversely affect existing trucking capacity. Shippers need to consider how the ELD mandate and HOS regulations will result in a tightening of the existing capacity upon implementation, and even if the impact is not immediate, it will come to fruition within the next year. Shippers forgoing implementation of the ELD mandate within their fleets could face stiff penalties and other setbacks due to enforcement actions taken by the FMSCA.