And now the FMCSA has come forward with a mandate requiring trucks, with few exemptions to use ELD’s or Electronic Logging Devices by December 2017. We applaud the new requirement, and Hotshot operators running under and over 26,000 GVWR combinations will be forced to comply.
There are numerous sources of analysis to the trucking industry as a whole regarding the ELD mandate, however Matchpoint Auto Transport is focused on Hotshot Auto Hauling, so it would be appropriate for us to provide an analysis and commentary on the ELD Mandate for our segment of the trucking industry and why we applaud the new requirement.
The burden we fight daily is the reality that many Hotshot drivers run out of compliance. There’s a ton of cowboys out there on the road in Hotshot rigs manipulating their paper log books. And, it is virtually impossible for a DOT officer to detect the skillful manipulation of a log. As a result these drivers are driving more than the legal daily or weekly limit, and increasing their weekly capacity for work. Simply put, this is breaking the law and the ELD Mandate will put a stop to it.
The auto hauling business is a perfect example of supply and demand economics. Pricing is determined by the balance between the availability and capacity of trucks, juxtaposed to the supply of cars to be shipped. When trucks are scarce and cars are numerous, shipping prices go up, and conversely when the availability of trucks is plentiful and supply of cars is scarce, shipping prices fall.
Every time a non-compliant hotshot auto hauler cheats on his log book they INCREASE truck capacity by working more hours than the legal limits, and therefore drive prices down. The practice penalizes the logbook compliant drivers by lowering their rates over fewer hours of work than the cheaters.
The ELD Mandate will effectively “level” the playing field and bring ALL drivers into compliance with duty hours. The impact will be to reduce overall truck capacity, and therefore increase rates for the compliant drivers. We applaud the ELD Mandate and look forward to the day when the Hotshot logbook cheaters are forced into Hours of Service compliance.