A new mandate from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will go into effect this December, and the change has some in the industry worried. The new rule will require all drivers of commercial trucks and buses to utilize ELDs (Electronic Logging Devices) to keep track of the time behind the wheel—rather than the tried-and-true paper log books that have been used since the 1930s.
While one of the biggest reasons for the switch is safety, some carriers fear how drivers will react. Until now, it was possible to fraudulently record information as to one’s Hours of Service (HOS) in order to get in extra miles or make a last delivery for the day. While some might have felt this was just a bending of the rules, it created a very real problem where sleep-deprived drivers were posing a threat to other travelers on the road. In fact, one survey conducted by the FMCSA showed that ELDs used by early adopters of the technology offered a 50 percent reduction in HOS fraud and just under a 12 percent reduction in crashes by their drivers.
Still, some drivers are worried these new electronic, cloud-based logs will be “too accurate,” preventing them from being paid for a long loading time or a brief stop to stretch their legs. Thus, one trucking company in Chattanooga, Tennessee decided to increase driver pay by 12 percent—giving experienced drivers more than 52 cents a mile. Business owner Guru Shah stated that, “[Drivers] care about nuances of the job that make them feel respected.”
Above all, the idea is that drivers who continue to take pride in their jobs and ensure they stay well rested will get the load delivered safely. While one recent survey shows that more than 20 percent of shippers and logistics providers have yet to prepare for the switch to ELDs on December 18th, companies like Shah Trucking are going the extra mile to make sure drivers know they’re a valued part of the process and that their efforts are greatly appreciated.
Thomas Greer is a Memphis, TN personal injury trial attorney with Bailey & Greer. He has extensive trial experience in both state and federal court. Among other victories in the courtroom, Thomas obtained a $3.7 million jury verdict in a personal injury trucking case and a $500,000 wrongful death jury verdict in an auto accident case.