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Friday Short Haul - Hauling hemp, road rage fatality, new rules for autonomous vehicles 5/24/2019 Autonomous trucks on USPS test run 5/22/2019 Future era of cab-less trucks will be the end of HOS rules 5/20/2019 Friday Short Haul - FMCSA under-21 comments, Tesla autonomous car crash, 24,000 drivers sign contract with YRC 5/17/2019 Under-21 interstate drivers getting serious look by FMCSA 5/15/2019 Trucker Buddy program matches drivers with a classroom; everyone wins 5/13/2019 Friday Short Haul - Driver awarded $80 million, ODFL driver wins, loading dock black hole 5/10/2019 Storm breaks out from Rockies, slams into Midwest, South 5/8/2019 Capacity issues have shippers looking at private fleets 5/6/2019 Friday Short Haul - HOS rules, dark skies, Falcon drivers 5/3/2019 'Bug' permits now required for four eastern states 5/1/2019 Simulator use is catching on for schools, carriers 4/29/2019 Friday Short Haul - Thinking electric, Penske opens charging station, border crossing crisis, railroads taking trucking business 4/26/2019 ELDs might not be the panacea that was hoped for 4/24/2019 Truck drivers may soon see "phantoms" driving yard trucks 4/22/2019 Friday Short Haul - Nikola big rigs, WIT welcomes Peterbilt, Oregon crashes, Border crossings 4/19/2019 Carriers claim financial benefit of putting up drivers in hotels 4/17/2019 Uber's IPO application reveals interesting data about its freight brokerage business 4/15/2019 Friday Short Haul - CDL examiner arrested, tolls proposed for trucks, marijuana use on the rise 4/12/2019 Smart Load Board will get carriers the loads they need 4/10/2019 Huge lines and long wait times greet carriers at Mexico border 4/8/2019 Friday Short Haul - Marijuana, ATA campaign, personal conveyance rules 4/5/2019 Over-the-air downloads revolutionize parameter updates 4/3/2019 Don't get scammed by skimmers 4/1/2019 Friday Short Haul -- New Cascadias honored, motorist survey, U.S, Xpress awarded, rest stop parking 3/29/2019 Legislators address underride collisions, propose more underguards for trucks, trailers 3/27/2019 Motorists soon may encounter a different kind of truck convoy 3/25/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Women in Trucking, irate motorist, FMCSA eases HOS, Safe-Cap 3/22/2019 Recent survey shows cost of roadside repairs is rising 3/20/2019 FMCSA announces drug and alcohol clearinghouse website 3/18/2019 Friday Short Haul - Swift settlement, driver shortage myth, TCA Best Fleet award 3/15/2019 The hidden danger of looking but not seeing 3/13/2019 Accident scammers target trucks for financial payout 3/11/2019 3/9/2019 3/9/2019 Friday Short Haul - Snow on the roof, bypassing toll road, Waze under fire 3/8/2019 Retailers blame driver shortage for price increases 3/6/2019 Drivers' smartphones may be clue to road roughness 3/4/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Freight rates, HOS changes, tonnage reports 3/1/2019 New tax changes hit drivers hard 2/27/2019 FMCSA to implement under-21 interstate driver program for former military 2/25/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Connecticut tolls proposed, hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, cell phone use 2/22/2019 Congress committee looks at state of America's highways 2/20/2019 Number of cargo thefts is down; but dollar value about the same 2/18/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Crossing the border, CA sues FMCSA, Lobbying against larger trucks 2/15/2019 Detention - A problem still in search of a solution 2/13/2019 February Highway Angels honorees named 2/11/2019 Friday Short Haul -- C.R. England announces pay raises, eCommerce impact on trucking, TCA announces best fleets 2/8/2019 Is a guaranteed minimum pay the solution to the driver shortage? 2/6/2019 Long CDL testing wait times cost economy billions of dollars; not helping driver shortage 2/4/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Walmart hiring, Uber Freight App, Speed-limiter Law, America's Road Team 2/1/2019 Cranking -- The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly 1/30/2019 California survives challenge to its low-carbon fuel standards 1/28/2019 Friday Short Haul - Highway robbery ... autonomous trucks ... new trailers 1/25/2019 LithiumHub enters jump-starter market with Jumpbooster JP30 1/23/2019 2019 Looks Good For The Transportation Industry 1/21/2019 Raymond Burt named TMC Trainer of the Month for February 2018 3/28/2018 TMC Transportation Announces Recipient of Prestigious Wheel Master Award 3/7/2018 TMC Transportation Named The Home Depot’s Flatbed Carrier of the Year For Fourth Straight Year 2/28/2018 Pay Raises & New Peterbilts for PAM Drivers 2/26/2018 New DOT Drug Testing Rules Effective Jan 1, 2018 1/11/2018 Amtrak Derailment: Trucks Haul 270,000 Pound Locomotive Engine During Cleanup 12/21/2017 Pepsi Places Largest Order Yet For Tesla Electric Trucks 12/12/2017 Kavin Hallett named Trainer of the Month for October 2017 12/8/2017 Over 100,000 Truck Drivers Likely Have Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea And More Testing Is On The Way 8/10/2017 Drivers Share Their Best Tips, Tricks, And Secrets For Life On The Road 7/18/2017 Drivers Are Losing Money By Taking The Wrong Approach 7/13/2017 Truckers and Guns: What Is and Is Not Legal 7/6/2017 Preparing To Go Solo For The First Time? Experienced Drivers Share Their Best Advice 6/29/2017 The Truck Stop Survival Guide: Advice From Experienced Drivers 6/15/2017 The Worst Cities For Traffic In The U.S. For 2017 6/8/2017 We Ask Drivers How They Would Make The Logbook Rules Better 5/30/2017 Self Driving Trucks Are Not Coming Anytime Soon 5/25/2017

ELDs might not be the panacea that was hoped for

Dave Wickenhauser on Wed, April 24, 2019

Last Updated: Tue, April 23, 2019

The law of unintended consequences has struck again.

The purpose of federally mandated electronic logging devices was to prevent log book "cooking" with the goal of reducing accidents and making it easier for trucking companies to verify their drivers' reporting of hours of service.

Now, into its second year of full mandatory use, there are concerns in the industry that not only have ELDs not reduced accidents, but that the devices are causing some to question whether the wall of separation between independent contractor and employee status is disappearing.

The industry admits that use of ELDs by drivers has virtually eliminated log book cheating. But the problem arises when trucking companies deploy telematics features available in the electronic devices to track and monitor drivers. Independent contractors get monitored and tracked just as employees do.

Recent court cases have gone against carriers on the evidence that technology like onboard recorders and now ELDs with advanced telematics have given those companies employee-level control over the drivers that they had classified as independent contractors.

Courts look at factors like how much control the carrier has over when, where and how the driver accomplishes the task of hauling his or her load for the carrier. Today's ELDs with telematics allow carriers to virtually micromanage drivers with no regard for the difference between independent contractors or employees.

Jeremy K. Schrag and Morgan L. Simpson, attorneys with law firm Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, told MH&L, “Moving forward, it is important for trucking firms to understand the relationship between wage and hour litigation and the monitoring capability of telematics packages.

“Trucking fleets that use sophisticated telematics tracking devices to monitor, assign and check in on independent owner-operator drivers are at a higher risk of an adverse wage and hour decision.”

Not reducing accidents

The issue of ELDs muddying independent contractor status notwithstanding, some in the industry are questioning whether ELDs are effective at all for the purpose that they were originally mandated.

The FMCSA has compiled statistics examining data available since the ELD mandate was put into effect in December 2017 and was subject to full enforcement in April 2018.

In summary, FMCSA found that hours of service violations did indeed decrease, especially among smaller carriers and independent owner-operators. Large carriers did not show a marked decrease in violations because most were already deploying ELDs and already had better HOS compliance.

However, at that same time accident rates and unsafe driving violations among smaller carriers and independent owner-operators increased, sometimes significantly, once ELDs were introduced into their driving program.

It is suggested that these smaller trucking firms and independents drove under unsafe conditions in order to make up for lost revenue because of having to maintain a stricter HOS compliance.

The purpose of ELDs was to increase HOS compliance; which FMCSA rule drafters believed should reduce accidents and increase driving safety. But, as the law of unintended consequences rears its ugly head, the FMCSA is learning that quite the opposite has taken effect.

The trucking industry is pinning hopes on some HOS revisions by the FMCSA and the Department of Transportation that are now at the White House Office of Management and budget for review.

Briefly, some of the rules undergoing revision might be those regarding the 30-minute break, a more-driver-friendly split sleeper berth rule, a petition by the Owner-Operator Independent Association to take a rest break once per 14-hour duty for up to three consecutive hours if the driver is off-duty, and a petition that would allow drivers to use multiple off-duty periods of three hours or longer instead of the required 10 consecutive hours off-duty.

The research cited in the FMCSA report was conducted by Alex Scott, Northeastern University; Andrew Balthrop, the University of Arkansas; and Jason Miller, Michigan State University.

According to the study, "Our research also provides another example of how policy interventions are fraught with uncertainty in complex systems with many interconnections and possible feedbacks.

"There are many examples of potential policy gains being offset by unintended and often deleterious consequences in these environments: seatbelt usage can potentially increase other unsafe driving behavior (Peltzman 1975), the Endangered Species Act can be detrimental to the species listed (Ferraro et al. 2007), and high-stakes testing increases cheating (Jacob and Levitt 2003)."

The study concluded that the gains from fatigue reduction along with other benefits like reduced paperwork, and more information availability to both inspectors and carriers due to the electronic capture of a driver’s activities, were offset by increases in unsafe driving behavior.

The study researchers concluded with, "Nonetheless, with regards to safety, drivers are heavily incentivized to avoid accidents, and this did not change with the ELD mandate.

"Given the legal liabilities involved with being in a crash when outside hours-of-service limits, drivers are incentivized to be extra cautious when driving beyond limits. The ELD mandate has not done much to change the driver calculus in this respect, and so it is perhaps not surprising that we fail to uncover significant accident reductions."

Sources: MH&L, MH&L, ResearchGate

Tagged Under:

DOT Driver Solutions Electronic Logbooks FMCSA Hours Of Service Owner Operator Split Sleeper Berth Rule Time Management Truck Driver Safety Trucking Accidents

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