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Truckers say ELDs are leading to fewer miles, less pay

Also, shippers don’t seem to be taking drivers’ hours of service into account during loading and unloading, according to the survey respondents. More than 77% of the carriers reported that their drivers are being detained for more than two hours on at least one out of five loads.

Most truck drivers say they are driving fewer miles and making less money since they started using electronic logging devices (ELDs), according to a recent DAT Solutions survey on ELDs and detention. Drivers also say that shippers and receivers are not taking their hours of service (HOS) into account.

Despite concerns that the hard ELD enforcement deadline would suck capacity out of the freight market, DAT is not seeing that, according to DAT Trendlines. There was even an 11% increase during the second week of the ELD enforcement, April 8-14.

The hard enforcement of ELD began on April 1, less than four months after the federal mandate took effect. This DAT survey was conducted in the final days of February.

Of 645 carriers surveyed, 91% said they either run with an ELD (81%) or are exempt from the mandate (10%). It’s worth noting that owner-operators — small businesses that were arguably heaviest hit by the cost to buy, install, and use ELDs — made up 93% of the survey respondents.

Among the carriers with ELDs, 67% said they drive fewer miles than they did before installing the devices, and 71% are making less money. About 65% of respondents said their company has been using ELDs for less than three months. Another 12% said their company has been using ELDs for at least half a year.

Slightly more than half of the respondents said that each truck in their fleet was hauling between 11 and 20 loads per week. About 7% said they were averaging 1 to 5 loads per truck while about 6% said they were averaging more than 30 loads per truck in a week.

Regarding truck parking, 87% said it was “harder” or “much harder” to find parking since the ELD mandate took effect in December.

Also, shippers don’t seem to be taking drivers’ hours of service into account during loading and unloading, according to the survey respondents. More than 77% of the carriers reported that their drivers are being detained for more than two hours on at least one out of five loads.

More than 70% of drivers said that neither shippers nor receivers ask them how many hours of service they have left. More than 80% said that shippers do not prioritize loading and unloading based on drivers’ available HOS.

About 65% estimated their average cargo load time was more than two hours while about 55% said it takes at least two hours on average to unload their trucks. On the other side, less than 5% said their trucks are loaded in less than an hour; and about 7% said their trucks are unloaded in less than an hour.

Despite these complaints, only 2.8% described themselves as "likely" or "very likely" to leave the trucking industry, according to the DAT survey.

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