Miles have dropped about 6 percent for the 40 percent of carriers who have adopted electronic logging devices, said Derek Leathers, president and COO of Werner Enterprises and one of three fleet executives who participated in CCJ Market Movers, a new town-hall style event held Thursday, Aug. 27, during the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas. CNBC Reporter Morgan Brennan and Avondale Partners’ Donald Broughton moderated the event.
That mileage dent means the Department of Transportation’s expected Sept. 30 publication of a final rule mandating ELD use will be “a game changer for capacity,” said Richard Stocking, president and COO of Swift. Carriers who don’t use ELDs “can run maybe 100 more miles a day,” said Stocking. “When they can’t do that…how are they going to make it?”
Once the final ELD rule is published in the Federal Register, “there will be a group of carriers that won’t convert,” predicts Leathers, whose company pioneered the use of ELDs in 1998. Instead, they will keep operating for the two-year grace period until the rule takes effect “and then they’ll just walk away,” he said.
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Covenant Transportation Group Chairman David Parker said early adopters of ELDs “will reap the benefits of drivers coming on board,” from carriers that aren’t using the technology. Similarly, shippers are already aligning themselves with core carriers who have embraced ELDs.
All three carriers on the panel use ELDs on 100 percent of their trucks and say the benefits outweigh the potential negatives. “We actually saw utilization of drivers go up because we could match the freight to their hours,” Stocking said.
Leathers agreed, and said that when Werner first went with ELDs, “it was an obstacle to recruitment and retention. But now we have data that proves you can do it legally and still get the miles. It’s less paperwork. If they see it’s coming, the first thing they are going to do is go to a safe harbor of the company that knows how to do it.”