Month: August 2019

Using Electronic Logs

using-electronic-logs

Federal law now mandates the use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs).  Aimed at increasing efficiency and safety in the trucking industry, ELDs have been a divisive topic for truckers and carriers alike.

About ELDs

An ELD is a device that is installed in a truck’s engine to monitor its drive time.  It can be accessed with a smartphone or other mobile device as long as it meets all technical requirements found on FMCSA’s website. A portable logging device can be used but must be mounted in the cab of the vehicle in a place that is visible to the driver when he or she is behind the wheel.  The ELD records date, time, location, engine hours, vehicle miles and driver information.

The Rule        

Up until the ruling, drivers have been forced to fill out paper logs to accurately record their Hours of Service (HoS) to remain in compliance with the HoS rule from the FMCSA.  The HoS rule was implemented as a way to combat drowsy driving which can lead to accidents.  By mandating driving hours and hours between shifts, drivers can get the rest they need to be alert on the road.     

To ensure compliance with the HoS rule, ELDs were made mandatory for any driver who is required to fill out HOS records.  December 18, 2017-December 16, 2019 is the phased-in compliance period. After December 16, 2019, all drivers and carriers who are subject to the ELD rule must be using them and be registered with FMCSA.  Short-haul drivers are not required to use ELDs.

The Controversy

Many carriers and owner/operators see ELDs as an intrusion that will do little to improve safety on the road.  A recent study (Scott, Alex & Balthrop, Andrew & W Miller, Jason. (2019). Did the Electronic Logging Device Mandate Reduce Accidents?) supports this claim.  The study showed that while ELDs improved drivers’ compliance with the HoS rule, there was no evidence to show that the number of accidents decreased since the ELD rule was phased in.  In fact, the study found that smaller companies who struggle to compete with bigger carriers increased incidents of speeding to avoid going over their Hours of Service limits.  

Benefits

“Big Brother” feelings aside, there are benefits to ELD devices that go beyond safety.  ELDs make compliance with HoS a more streamlined process. Nobody enjoys paperwork. The use of ELDs has been estimated to cut time spent completing paperwork by as much as 15 minutes a day.  Not only that, ELDs round up to the nearest minute, not to the nearest 15 minutes like paper logs did so errors are virtually eliminated.  Less time on paperwork means more time on the road earning money.  

A more streamlined process is helpful all around.  ELDs give a warning to drivers when they are approaching their HOS limits and they also mean quicker truck inspections.  No more sifting through paper logs―all pertinent information is easy for the officer to see and get you on your way.  

 

ELDs also improve communication and tracking. Some ELDs have GPS tracking but with only a 10-mile accuracy intended to give drivers some privacy per the FMCSA rule.

ELDs protect drivers.  They’re harder to change than paper logs.  They improve compliance with the HoS ruling which protects drivers from bosses mandating that they work more than the hours per week allowed by law, which is a real problem for many drivers.  

 Agree or disagree, compliance with the ELD rule is the law and drivers who fall under the HoS rule must have an ELD installed and registered by December 16, 2019. 

Sources:

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/electronic-logging-devices

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service/summary-hours-service-regulations

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330425892_Did_the_Electronic_Logging_Device_Mandate_Reduce_Accidents

https://eldfacts.com/elds-for-truckers/

DF: Top 7 Scenic Routes For Truckers

top-7-scenic-routes-for-truckers

Driving a truck is a popular occupation for many reasons.  Some come for the good pay with job security and high demand for drivers.  Others choose the driver’s life because the road calls to them.  The vastness and the ability to see this beautiful country of ours every single day draws them in.  

Whether driving long hauls or short routes, drivers get to see it all.  Here are some of the most scenic routes for truckers:

  1. US Route 89

This road stretches from Canada to Mexico, taking drivers through Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, and Arizona and through an abundance of national parks, monuments, and heritage areas.  Taking this route will bring you across the Rockies, through the wild Yellowstone National Park, and the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon.

  1. Pacific Coast Highway

Running along the coast from Northern California to Southern California, the Pacific Coast Highway shows some of the best views that California has to offer.  If you’re looking for an interesting place to stop, this route has Venice Beach, the Queen Mary, the Bixby Bridge, Hearst Castle, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Glass Beach to name a few.  Your big rig may not fit through a redwood tree but a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway is a must-drive, especially if you’ve got time for a little fun.  

  1. US Route 2

If your route takes you into NH in the fall, you’re in for a treat.  New England is awash in reds, yellows, and oranges as the trees burst with vibrant colors.  US Route 2 goes from Northern Maine through the White Mountain National Forest in NH, home to Mount Washington which boasts the second coldest temperature ever recorded anywhere in the world, and through quaint towns in Vermont.  After popping up through Canada, Route 2 picks up in the U.S. again in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and continues across the upper U.S. through Montana and ending in Washington.    

  1. Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway

Also known as the “Appian Way of America”, the PP-OO highway is a historical gem.  It was built before the national highway system was put in to bypass small towns.  This road takes you through farmlands, hills, and nearly-forgotten towns.

  1. Interstate 77

This route travels from Cleveland, Ohio to Charlotte, South Carolina.  It takes you through the dramatic Blue Ridge Mountains and into downtown Charlotte where you can take a break and check out the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

  1. Scenic Byway 163

Traveling along this scenic route through Monument Valley on the Utah and Arizona border, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the set of a movie about the Old West with a huge rock formation backdrop.  You’ll definitely want to stop for photos on this one.

  1. The Swiss Alps of Texas

 

Yes, The Swiss Alps.  Of Texas. If you can squeeze part of this loop that spans Highways 337, 187, and 470 into your route, you will be rewarded with picturesque hills and deep canyons and rivers.  It may not be exactly like the real Swiss Alps but it’s a beautiful drive just the same.

Incorporating a scenic route into your drive can make any ride more enjoyable and can break the monotony that sometimes comes with driving a regular route.  If you’re looking for loads that may take you along some of the more scenic routes of the U.S., Direct Freight Services can help. Our full-service load board can help you find loads all over the country and has numerous useful features such as full credit reports, credit scores, load filtering, payment expectations, and broker authority information as well.  Check out the Direct Freight website to find out more. 

 

Sources:

https://usroute89.com

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_101

https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/us2.cfm

https://www.wmur.com/article/mt-washington-tied-for-second-coldest-place-on-earth-saturday/14769919

http://www.ppoo.org

https://utah.com/scenic-drive/monument-valley

https://www.texasoutside.com/texas-scenic-drives/