How Shipping Cars Will Be Different in 2018

How Shipping Cars Will Be Different in 2018

ELDs reduce driving time

Today’s technological advances have made shipping for consumers so easy and efficient, now waiting for our online orders to be delivered has made us love the mailman that much more. What in past took took over a week, is now being delivered in two days – and even the same day. Car shipping however is different and in some ways maybe even getting slower and more expensive.  This year, new legislation is forcing the long-haul trucking industry to adapt, in the name of safety and efficiency for drivers, a new mandate has passed that has led to some heavy opposition by truck drivers.  The Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) Mandate went in effect at the end of 2017 that requires truck drivers maintain their driving reports electronically.  What this means is that every minute the driver is on duty is electronically tracked and reported.  An ELD syncs with a truck engine to automatically record driving and idle times.  Prior to this law, drivers maintained their route records on paper forms. 

Is the ELD mandate good?

ELDs make it easier for companies to track and manage a driver’s travel data and hope to improve safety in transportation by keeping overworked and tired drivers off the roads. So why is this mandate opposed?  With an ELD, drivers have an exact tracking of their work hours and are strictly penalized for not following a strict driving code, in a sense resulting in no wiggle room for creativity for logging timesheets as some might have had the old fashioned way.

While ELDs seem like a great idea to those concerned with safety, many drivers were not receptive and demonstrated their anger towards the law in the most imaginative form.  Dozens of trucks along Highway 99 and Interstate 5 near Sacramento, CA drove way under the speed limit in all available lanes, leading to massive traffic build ups.  The drivers wanted to show the nation that they are crucial to our economy and they can make it crash if their demands are not heard.  Why would drivers be harboring such hatred towards ELDs? Driver Marvin Mann explains, “Say you leave your house, you drive three hours. You’re about to go pick up a load and you’re there for six hours. Now you can’t drive that much because you only got a 14-hour shift you can use.”  To drivers, ELDs seem more inefficient and don’t let them make the most of their time. Instead of being productive, they are forced to sit and wait until the electronic system permits them to drive again. Some truck drivers are outraged about the micromanagement of their time and are not happy with the new law.

How Will the ELD Mandate Affect You?

Depending on the duration of the transit, drivers using ELDs will now be losing the extra driving hours they counted on for on-time precision of their deliveries. This means that the cars they are carrying will have to be delayed. For example, after driving for an 11 hour shift, there must be a period of 10 consecutive hours where the drivers are to remain off duty under the existing law. From the point of view of a driver, waiting is sometimes less productive. To save time, drivers may forgo their rest period to make a delivery and complete their routes, even though they may not report this on paper log books. Now although this was against the rules and regulations, gone are the days when drivers could have the leisure of stretching the truth a bit with pen and paper. Because every mile is tracked and every hour is accounted for, a driver has to follow driving guidelines strictly to avoid penalties. So if a driver is within minutes of his destination, the ELDs will clock and penalize him for not taking a mandatory break. This causes idling in the delivery of goods and many frustrated shippers.

Shipping With Us

For RCG Auto Transport, the implementation of ELDs means that car shipping services will experience a tumultuous adjustment period as drivers figure out how to efficiently make use of their driving hours. A car transporter may need to decrease car deliveries per month to stay profitable. This means customers may experience longer wait times to receive their cars. Customers may not receive their vehicles until the next day even if a driver is within minutes of their delivery location. This is not fun for us, we do not like waiting for that ice cream truck.  We are on demand consumers, and, maybe this mandate is not so great after all?  But what about the safety on the roads, don’t forget that. A local resident that works for Israel Trucking of Nogales, Arizona expressed his concern, “Less driving time, means truckers will be less productive and companies will have to increase rates. That will eventually be felt by everyday consumers when they shop at grocery or clothing stores because everything comes in a truck.” For this reason, the market will fluctuate and prices of transport will be impacted. Since the ELD was enforced, the auto transport market has been flooded with vehicles needed to be shipped. Whether the move is 150 miles or from coast to coast, drivers are getting picky with the cars they choose to transport knowing they have a distinct schedule to follow. With both positive aspirations for efficiency and negative drawbacks for drivers, the ELD mandate is here to stay.  

About the Author: Alex Marinov

Alex Marinov is the president of RCG Logistics LLC, with years experience in the shipping and freight industry. His main interest include sustainable building design, video production and automobiles.


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