Is the ELD Mandate Going to Destroy Small Trucking Businesses

The infamous ELD mandate the government proposed made quite an impact on the trucking industry before it was even implemented. If you are a company trucker or own your own business you are likely already familiar with the term. The industry is experiencing a significant growth with a tendency for improvement (as you can learn here: http://gotruckcapital.com/uncategorized/interesting-facts-us-trucking-industry/). However, truckers fear ELD mandate might change the positive predictions regarding the industry.

The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) is a piece of technology that is supposed to log the truckers’ hours electronically, replacing the log books truckers used up until now. The mandate requires all truckers to switch to ELDs by mid-December.

Many truckers fear how this change might impact the rates, the capacity, service levels and the trucking industry in general. Small trucking business owner particularly fear the ramifications of this new mandate, as this technology means a tighter grip on their working hours. Small truckers were largely independent up till now, but suggest that this mandate might mean the government will have a tighter grip on their operations.

How Do ELDs Work?

Truckers are already familiar with the procedure of logging their working hours and submitting these to the authorities if asked. This system is set to make sure drivers don’t go out on the road for more than 10 hours per day, as it may compromise their safety.

This mandate was completed in early 2016, giving truck owners almost two years to adapt to the changes. The ELDs are linked with the truck’s computer. This allows them to monitor the engine and whether it’s running or at rest. Therefore, the concept of ELDs is aimed towards keeping the drivers safe.

At least, that’s the official version.

Why Are Drivers Opposing This Mandate?

Medium and large companies are already working on implementing the new logging devices into their fleets, and so far the results are positive. However, it’s the small companies and owner-operators that take issue with this system.

The main issues small companies have with the mandate are the cost of adding ELDs to their trucks, as well as numerous privacy concerns. Adding an ELD to a truck costs around $600 and has a monthly subscription fee. This means more monthly expenses for truckers who try to make ends meet after paying for repayment rates, maintenance, and other fees.

The ELD will also limit their hours of operations, which will impact their earnings. Owner-operators tend to work longer hours to deliver a haul, and with ELD that will not be possible.

How Will It Affect the Trucking Industry?

Since the mandate was first presented, a lot of owner-operators threatened to hang their keys before they switch to ELDs. This will definitely make the truck driver deficit that’s plaguing the industry even worse.

However, it is mainly truckers near retirement who are less likely to meet the new mandate. While this is certainly a great loss for the industry, there are still a lot of young truckers willing to embrace the change and make it work for them.

Furthermore, as the number of companies producing ELD increases the price is going to be more affordable for the average driver. The FMCSA also announced that they are working on developing a mobile app that can be used instead of the ELD. Both will significantly reduce the impact the new mandate has on a trucker’s budget.