December 18, 2017

Effective December 18, 2017 there are big changes in how truck driving activities – such as hours on duty – are recorded.  Traditionally, truckers have relied on manually filling in a paper log detailing hours on duty.

Enter ELD or “electronic log device”.

Think black boxes on airplanes that record all aircraft and pilot activities.  Drivers will no longer be asked by authorities to produce a log book but rather, officials will merely download driving data from the ELD.  (Hot Freight outlined these coming regulations in our blog back in October 2016.)

These changes are immediately effective for all drivers travelling in, or through any U.S. jurisdictions.  The same changes are coming for truck driving within Canada but not until mid 2018 with hard enforcement starting in 2019.

The unspoken reality of trucking has always been that paper log books could easily be manipulated and falsified.  Under the ELD mandate – a U.S. Department of Transportation initiative – hours of service rules are not a stop watch that can be stopped and turned back on to suit non-driving activities.  Drivers and carriers will no longer be able to bend the rules – a practice that has traditionally been built into the entire supply chain.  All hours driven and rest times will be electronically recorded and impossible to alter.

Ultimately, improved safety on our highways and roads is the goal and it starts with well rested drivers.  Truckers are now forced to use the ELD in each and every truck which will cause the whole supply chain to come under the microscope as shippers and receivers work to make sure their products get where they need to be and when they need to be there.  This underlines the need for truckers and their customers to work together and communicate clearly.

The introduction of ELD will require customers and truckers to prepare for changes to transit times.  What used to be a next day delivery point may now become a two day point because of the exact timing of driver hours of service as opposed to more flexible paper record keeping.  Delays that are out of the control of customers and truckers will become a bigger factor in delivery dates and deadlines.

Truckers expect initial difficulties adjusting to ELD instead of traditional paper log books.  Loading and unloading delays, traffic and weather delays and customs inspections are hours of duty factors that first come to mind.  The expectation is that there may be changes over time with permissible detention times and other delays that cannot be controlled.

This linked YouTube video sponsored by the Canadian Trucking Alliance is worth watching as it explains the implications of this new law and how it will affect shippers and truckers.


By John Tittel – Hot Freight International Inc.