An article dated August 28th in Material Handling and Logistics (MH&L) talks about the DOT is considering a re-examination of the Hours Of Service regulations. Extreme pressures on truck driver productivity are what is driving this. Now that everyone has to operate within the exact rules of the HOS regulations, people are waking up to the fact that this has been an outdated regulation for some time.
The ELD Mandate Requirements may be a good thing for the industry and truck drivers’. If it has done nothing else, it has made the government, companies, shippers, and receivers realize the HOS regulations do not work. The only way it worked before was we had the majority of the drivers’ willing to bend the rules enough, to make money.
Now with the ELDs, everyone is forced to drive legally, and when it’s time to shut down, drivers’ can not go over on his or her hours. Which is what they had to do to get loads delivered or picked up on time. The drivers’ that did not bend the rules a little more than likely ended up sitting in the truck stop as dispatchers gave the loads to drivers’ that would work themselves over the limit to get the loads delivered and make that extra money.
As we can see all that has changed. Now, everyone must run legal resulting in less driver pay and more late loads. When you get down to it, what is driving this push to review the HOS regulations? John Q Public demands their groceries be delivered on-time, and large corporations are not going to lose large sums of money because their products were not delivered.
“The agency is finally listening, and now the door is open for truckers to make their voices heard and to spur real, common-sense changes to the HOS regulations,” said Todd Spencer, president of OOIDA. As I have said many times, the government cannot regulate human behavior! We are all different, and no one sleeps the same amount of time, everyone needs different amounts of sleep.
The only system that will work is one in which the driver has more control over their work time and rest time. The ELDs have taken away the drivers’ independence as to how they get the job done. Good drivers’ will perform well as long as they are given the freedom to do the job as they see fit and until that is put into place the industry will continue to have problems, and the HOS regulations will be argued about until the cows come home. (A little farm lingo there).
You can read the entire article here at mhlnews.com
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People are starting to talk more about Data-Driven Trucking. You may ask “what is that?” The federal ELD rule has brought this all on. The government-mandated electronic logging devices have not just replaced paper logbooks; it has marked a significant step forward for technology adoption and the use of data in trucking, this was all in Transport Topics this week.
Data gathering or data tracking is nothing new for most large corporations these days and they have perfected it as the efficiency of our computers has improved over the years. However, it is relatively new for the trucking industry. It will enable more capability in the sector if used effectively.
Trucking companies are going to be able to track everything now about the operation of their equipment and how a driver performs while behind the wheel. All of this can be good, or it can be wrong. A company will now track exactly how long a truck sits at the dock getting loaded which will be advantageous when planning loads and delivery times. If a company has one vehicle in the area and two shippers are requesting equipment, data will be readily available for the dispatchers as to the one who loads trucks faster.
Companies will be able to track time spent at a maintenance facility getting needed repairs. The next time they purchase tractors the dealer who has better repair data will be in excellent condition to get the purchase. All repair data will now be easily tracked, so when the time comes for new investments, the dealer with the lower repair bill may get the sell.
Most engine manufacturers have remote engine diagnostics on their tractors, and now the data will be available immediately to maintenance personnel as to how the engine is performing. The data on how the driver is operating his or her tractor will be looked at in the home terminal and can be monitored on a minute by minute basis if need be. Information on fuel mileage, use of cruise control and how many times a driver brakes during the day will be readily available to personnel at the home terminal and even the central office.
These are all good and profitable for the trucking companies, but what about the people that work there? Are we turning everyone into robots? We are talking about hard braking incidents, GPS tracking, engine codes, cameras inside the vehicle and all around. Pay raises for drivers’ that perform all these above the norm and additional training for those that don’t do so good.
I can remember when some companies started pay bonuses tied to fuel economy and most times they did not work so well. Drivers found out they were not attainable, become frustrated and left the company for another that paid a little better.
All this data-tracking will work if it used effectively, but companies that start thinking their drivers’ are just another piece of machinery will lose out in the end. I believe that is the biggest problem in the industry today, they have taken the personal aspect out of trucking and no longer give the driver the opportunity to do the job to the best of their ability. In other words, they restrict drivers’ talents. Read the article here at Transport Topics.
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Thank you for reading my weekly rant and as always leave your comments!