SC&RA COMMENT: Technology that pays
03 April 2019
Many veteran truckers were and still are reluctant to surrender their paper logs. Old habits notwithstanding, ELDs (electronic logging devices) have arrived, and they’re here to stay. Something transport companies and their employees should consider: ELDs should lead to better paychecks, smoother schedules and enhanced operational efficiencies. Ultimately, the technology levels the playing field by representing a standard set of rules that all carriers must follow.
In today’s truck and fleet applications, ELDs can monitor and record a whole host of data about the vehicle and its driver that go beyond RODS (Record of Duty Status).
Many systems integrate map and route solutions as well, which can help drivers navigate around construction and avoid high-traffic areas. In fact, many fleets are already seeing the benefits of ELDs through reduced paperwork for drivers and better dispatcher awareness on driver status – allowing for better load planning and HOS compliance.
As John Wilbur (CEO of Roadmaster Group) pointed out in a recent interview with FleetOwner, “The implementation of ELDs is changing the industry’s mindset on non-driving hours. They have brought about an awareness to the abuse of a driver’s time, which can no longer be covered up through interpretive logbook editing. With the clock always running, carriers must be compensated for excessive wait times.”
Wilbur spotlighted how data provided through ELDs provides the carrier with quality wait-time information that can be presented back to shippers. “ELDs establish proof of a driver’s downtime, whether they are taking a break or being detained at a shipper/receiver.”
But what might resonate with truckers more than data is that ELDs will help earn them more money in the long run – through better routes and less detention time. One universal pain point for truckers is being detained for hours without pay at shipping docks.
With ELDs, drivers and employers can more easily track how long they’ve been detained. The technology can share with companies where their drivers are being detained and how much money they’re losing from having them off the road.
Most industry surveys land at between three and five percent of carriers receiving payment “most of the time” from shipping companies that keep them waiting. As Shoaib Makani, founder and CEO of ELD provider KeepTruckin, noted in an interview with Business Insider, “They will be able to use that information to collect detention pays. Drivers and carriers should be paid for the time they’ve spent at these job sites.”
This lost-time-equals-lost-pay conundrum could certainly be addressed, if not mitigated to some degree, by ELDs – which, in turn, addresses another issue holding steady throughout the industry: driver pay. Relatedly, a Business Insider study found that truck drivers were being paid as much as 36 percent less today than in 1980, adjusted for inflation.
Makani added, “It’s really all about take-home pay, and that’s the problem here. It’s not that they (truckers) are not working enough – they’re not being paid enough.”
ELDs also get drivers back on the road faster with expedited inspections. With clean results that an officer can see, drivers can move through inspections more efficiently and get back on the road. They also no longer have to comb through handwritten paper driver logs trying to find errors or HOS violations.
Additionally, ELDs build a truck driver’s roadside resume. Drivers can provide a documented history of responsible job performance when they interview for a position with their ideal carrier, or meet with their current employer to discuss bonuses, incentive programs or standard raises based on safety and productivity.
And who knows, worker shortages being what they are, a fleet that properly utilizes ELD tech in its operations could potentially attract the ever-coveted younger generation of workers – who, themselves, gravitate towards companies that both understand and maximize technology.