The new administrator for the FMCSA, Raymond Martinez, hinted at changes to the hours of service (HOS) at an informal meeting with owner operators at the Mid-American Trucking Show saying, “Is there a way to build some flexibility here. We’re not going to get rid of ELDs. But we can look at the fundamental issue of hours of service, and say, ‘Can we make those more fair?’ ”
OK, there is hope for truckers who have been grappling with the implementation of the ELD mandate since December 17 2017. On April 1, 2018 commercial drivers without ELDs can be forced out of service if discovered during Department of Transportation inspections.
We all know what the issue really is: things that were never possible in the past without drivers fudging their logbooks are now impossible with the electronic data log.
Several issues are arising as a result of the ELD mandate, many not intended:
- parking shortage – with truckers forced to drive within legal limits, the lack of parking is exacerbated
- shippers cost increases – there’s been reports of the spot market on freight doubling and tripling. it’s likely we’ll see more of this.
- trucker shortage – while there is a trucker shortage, there is also a shortage in their available working hours
- delayed freight –
This is interesting as the market realizes the real cost to ship and in order to reach capacity the industry as whole must address the problems.
What does this mean for the overall economy? As Martinex has pointed out, the ELD is beyond his authority to change: it was an act of Congress. The best the trucking industry can hope for is some adjustment to the HOS in order ease stress on the truckers without forgoing safety concerns of sleep-deprived drivers behind the wheel.