Tag Archives: ELD

Produce groups seek 2-year wait on electronic logging

A coalition of industry associations has asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for a two-year exemption on electronic logging device mandate for trucks carrying agricultural commodities.

A current ELD mandate waiver which postponed the measure for trucks carrying produce and other ag products ends March 18.

In a letter submitted Feb. 20, the United Fresh Produce Association, Western Growers, the National Potato Council, the U.S Apple Association and more than 20 other produce groups said a combination of factors have driven up transportation costs.

“With the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, driver shortages, and other issues, there have been considerable increases in transportation costs for fresh produce causing devastating effects on our industry,” the letter said. “We are hearing from many of our members across multiple commodities and sectors throughout the country that shippers are having to pay two or three times, occasionally more, the normal rate for transporting their product.”

ELD concerns

The letter said feedback from producers and trucking operations indicates many ELDs on the market are not able to accommodate the agricultural exemption that is provided under the hours-of-service regulations. Under the agricultural exemption, hours-of-service regulations do not apply to the transportation of agricultural commodities operating within a 150-air mile radius of a pick-up.

“We believe that this extension would provide a reasonable period of time for FMCSA to work with the technology providers in developing a program to verify that the ELDs on the market can perform the tasks that the rule mandates and allow trucks hauling agricultural commodities to fully utilize the 150-mile exemption,” according to the letter.

The coalition is asking the agency to consider hours-of-service modifications to accommodate the realities of loading and unloading fresh produce.

“The unpredictability of loading and unloading times as it relates to fresh fruits and vegetables can significantly detract from the on-duty hours drivers are allowed in a day,” according to the letter, which notes that two-to four-hour delays at loading are not uncommon.

“We encourage FMCSA to consider flexibility under either the ELD rule or the hours-of-service rule for truck drivers who are idling, waiting or traveling small distances reflective of negotiating a congested terminal to be considered in an exempt status,” according to the letter. “We do not believe that this type of activity is as demanding as over-the-road driving and therefore should not contribute to maximum driving times.”

The letter also asks the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to:

  • Allow packing facilities, cold storages and other locations to be considered as a “source” location under the hours-of-service regulation.
  • Allow the agricultural exemption’s 150-air-mile radius to begin at the final pick up point for multi-point pickups. Drivers make multiple pick-ups from small packinghouses or cold storage facilities to fill their load before continuing to final destinations. “We would encourage the 150 air-mile radius to begin at the location of the last pick-up point so as not to disrupt current supply chains and accommodate the operational efficiencies organically created by the marketplace over the last 100-plus years,” according to the letter.
  •  Clearly define that empty trucks are covered under the agricultural exemption. According to the letter, agricultural exemptions should be clearly defined to include unladen trucks as eligible if they are traveling to a facility exclusively to pick up an order.

Story by Tom Karst @thepacker

Legislation introduced in House to delay ELD mandate two years

A bill has been filed in the U.S. House to delay the compliance date of the federal government’s electronic logging device two years, to December 2019. If enacted, carriers would have two additional years to adopt electronic logging devices.

The legislation was introduced Tuesday and referred to the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Texas Republican Rep. Brian Babin filed the ELD Extension Act of 2017. Babin’s introduction of the bill came a day after a House panel recommended that the U.S. DOT study whether a “full or targeted delay” of the mandate is needed. Both developments signal that efforts to engage Congress on the issue have gained traction. In a report issued Monday, members of the House cited the burden placed on smaller carriers, like owner-operators, and questions surrounding enforcement and “technological concerns” as reasons to delay the ELD mandate.

For Babin’s ELD delay bill to become law, it must be passed by the House and Senate and signed by President Trump.

Other than passed as a standalone bill, the legislation could also be attached to broader legislation, such as the DOT appropriations bills currently in the works in both chambers of Congress.

Lawmakers have used the DOT funding bills as avenues to enact trucking policy reforms in recent years, such as the reversal of some of the hours of service changes implemented in 2013.

Story by James Jaillet

ELDs: What is there to fear?

We are now less six months from the official start of the electronic-logging era.

The rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been years in the making, including a redo following a successful court challenge earlier in the decade. While that temporarily halted the rule, it did not slow innovation. After years of advancements made in fuel efficiency and communications, newer technologies like onboard diagnostics, pre­dictive cruise control, and crash avoidance systems are slowly becoming indispensible safety options.

In my 16 years covering this industry, I’ve been fortunate to get a first-hand look at so many new vehicles. These aren’t just pieces of equipment;  they are high-speed computers simultaneously sending data to drivers, dispatchers, and shippers, all while reading traffic and road terrain ahead. It is with these images in mind that I’m left wondering how anyone is thinking a pencil and paper is truly the right option for logging hours of service (HOS) heading into 2018.

During a conference call in late April, I was surprised to hear executives with Landstar System say that 24 percent, or 2,200, of the owner-operators the company uses have not yet switched over yet. They downplayed the likelihood of a significant capacity crunch, instead suggesting most are just waiting until the deadline, or hoping the Supreme Court would take up a legal challenge from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn.

After Landstar’s conference call, I spoke to Rob Moseley, an attorney in Greenville, SC. He seized first on the numbers game, even before the case itself. “Of the 7,000 or so petitions for review, [the Supreme Court] only decides 80 or so cases a year. So regardless of the merits of the case, the numbers are against them,” Moseley said.

Waiting till the last minute goes against the advice of many, who suggest training is needed. Some of the waiting game is fueled by the perception electronic logs result in lower productivity, forced upon truckers by regulators sitting behind a desk.

I sympathize with truckers who have spent decades operating safely with logbooks and do not want to add additional costs and what they consider complexities by going electronic. And there likely will be some short-term hiccups after the mandate kicks in. However, I’ve long felt this is outweighed by the public image and safety benefits that will come from taking this modern leap.

I’ve also believed many of the concerns about the technology would actually turn out to be positives. This has been a reoccurring theme during my reporting for a number of stories during my two months thus far with Fleet Owner.

For example, one consultant told me truckers will make more money with electronic logs. With paper logs built around 15-minute increments, truckers can lose an hour of driving time changing their duty status. Transitioning to 1-minute increments with electronic logs provides an opportunity to add about 50 mi. a day, or potentially $10,000 over a year.

For truckers, there remain worries of running short on hours, with no way to stretch the truth to deliver a load or make it home.  And that is where the ultimate benefit could come from—using data culled from all these electronic logs to seek regulatory reforms and to push for more investment in truck parking.

That is what we just saw transpire with the restart controversy. Once research showed the safety benefits were not clear-cut, the government listened to the pleas from the industry.

With e-logs, using real safety data and science, it can be far easier to make the case that changes are needed—be it mandatory rest breaks or more flexibility built into the rule itself. That is something likely to be easier to accomplish during the Trump administration.

For years, trucking has lamented its image problem, and how the public does not appreciate the industry’s safety record. Electronic logs offer a remedy. Rather than whispering about how much HOS cheating may be going on, the computer will tell the tale.

Story by Neil Abt in The Open Road


One20: Nearly 60 percent of users still haven’t switched to e-logs

Trucker-focused app maker One20 concluded in a recent study that less than half of truck drivers using One20’s service still have not switched to an electronic logging device, though the compliance date is still more than six months away.

One20’s Vice President of Marketing Amanda Ford says 57 percent of drivers surveyed don’t use electronic logging devices, and that number jumps to 60 percent with drivers over the age of 45. While Ford says she believes more drivers will begin to comply as the Dec. 18 compliance date nears, she says cost and ease of implementation seem to be holding some drivers back.

One20 in March introduced its own ELD at the Mid-America Trucking Show — the F-ELD, a “bring-your-own-device” ELD.

One20 updates app, announces availability of trucker-focused tablet at TA/Petro stores

In its TopOne20 report released last week, the company outlined the best and worst of life on the road for truckers, along with how drivers spend their time and money when on the road. More than 3,000 drivers participated in the study, and Ford says the analytics from the study correlate well with other data collected from the 250,000-plus drivers that use One20’s app.

In addition to the information collected about ELDs and technology, the study also polled truckers on their favorite truck stop chains and restaurants. TA and Petro truck stops were the preferred travel center chain based on parking, clean facilities and good restaurants.

Subway restaurants were voted the best quick-serve restaurant, while Iron Skillet was voted best sit-down restaurant by the surveyed truckers.

One20 plans to release additional reports quarterly, with the next one coming in July.

Story by : Matt Cole at overdriveonline.com