- The trucking industry has been going through an upheaval since the December implementation of the electronic-logging device (ELD) mandate.
- The ELD mandate is a rule that limits how much truck drivers can drive and when they can do it. They cannot drive for more than 11 hours during a 14-hour period.
- Truckers previously told Business Insider that they dislike the ELD mandate, which has cut into their salaries and ability to manage their own days.
- However, Shoaib Makani, founder and CEO of ELD maker KeepTruckin, said the ELD mandate might help defeat another major issue that truck drivers deal with: being detained at shipping docks without pay.
The electronic-logging device (ELD) mandate was designed to keep drivers and others on the road safe. Since December, truck drivers have been required to keep an ELD in their cabins to ensure they follow a pre-existing law that limits truckers to driving 11 hours in a 14-hour window.
That time limitation is a problem when drivers have to spend precious hours held up at shipping docks. Per industry standard, drivers are expected to wait up to two hours at shippers to be loaded or unloaded — unpaid. And almost 63% of truck drivers say they wait three hours or more every time they’re at a shipping dock.
Detention isn’t just frustrating for drivers. Shoaib Makani, founder and CEO of leading ELD maker KeepTruckin, said it could make the road unsafe, according to data from the 500,000-plus drivers who use KeepTruckin ELDs.
“We have looked at data across our network to see what impact detention time has had,” Makani told Business Insider. “If they are waiting for more than two hours, they end up driving faster afterwards.”
“That’s significant in terms of safety,” Makani added. Speeding accounts for more than a quarter of all traffic fatalities.
The trucking industry has been, until recently, dominated by a lack of technology. Truckers logged their hours with paper logs until the ELD law came into effect last year. It’s still typical to book new jobs by calling up a freight broker. And because GPS isn’t the norm, that freight broker might call the trucker every 15 minutes to ensure they’re still on the road, delivering the package.
Many drivers detest ELDs, and the hours of service law that ELDs enforce.
“The 14-hour clock is a huge hindrance,” Will Kling, a Reno, Nevada-based truck driver, told Business Insider. “There are a lot of time constraints. You do find yourself pushing it more often than you should because of the law.”
The detested law might ultimately help drivers with another huge issue in the industry
However, ELDs might just help solve one of the other biggest problems that truck drivers highlight: being detained for hours without pay at shipping docks.
With ELDs, Makani said drivers and their employers can more easily track how long they’ve been detained at a shipping dock. KeepTruckin can share with trucking companies where their truck drivers are being detained and just how much money they’re losing from having that driver off the road.
“The ELD brings the vehicle online so you know when the driver or vehicle is detained and how long they’re detained for,” Makani said.
Nearly two-thirds of carriers said in a DAT Solutions survey that they or their employees had been regularly detained at docks for more than three hours, but only 3% said they received payment most of the time from the shipping companies for keeping their workers waiting.
“They will be able to use that information to collect detention pays,” Makani said. “Drivers and carriers should be paid for the time they’ve spent at these job sites.”
That addresses yet another issue that truck drivers grapple with: low pay. A Business Insider study found that truck drivers are being paid as much as 36% less today than they were in 1980, adjusted for inflation.
“It’s really all about take-home pay and that’s the problem here,” Makani said. “It’s not that they’re not working enough. They’re not being paid enough.”