“The small carrier shipping industry is going through some big changes that may have an impact on the shipping rates for Shelter Works customers.” That’s the assessment of Scot Lauth, logistics coordinator for Shelter Works.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is charged with rolling out a new Electronic Logging Device mandate for the entire trucking industry, and this is changing the dynamics of certain sectors of that industry.
In an effort to improve safety and decrease trucking accidents caused by fatigue, the governing body for the trucking industry in the US is enforcing the congressionally-mandated rule that all carriers install and use a standardized electronic logging device (or ELD) to track and manage hours driven by drivers and ensure compliance with federal safety standards.
An ELD is connected to the Internet and synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time for easier, more accurate hours of service (HOS) recording. To ensure that truckers don’t drive too many hours, their driving time, which previously had to be manually logged in a log book, will now be automatically calculated via the device. Once a driver reaches his limit, the device can indicate that to the driver so that he can safely stop and rest for the federally-mandated period of time. This type of safety equipment is intended to improve over-the-road safety but may also have the unintended side effect of increasing costs for trucking companies in two ways: increased equipment costs and increased labor costs.
Some large carriers have used this equipment for years, but many small carriers are now having to make what (for them) is a large investment in truck-level Internet access and ELD equipment costs.