In the two years since the final ELD rulemaking was announced, December 18, 2017 was seen as a D-day for trucking, with predictions of drivers hanging up their keys and loaded trucks stranded at inspection stations a week before Christmas, put out of service because they lacked ELDs.
While the effects of the mandate are still to be seen, there's reason to believe December 18 won't be the crunch date it was once predicted to be. Here's why:
- Out of service violation postponed - In August, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance announced that trucks lacking ELDs won't be put out of service until April 1, 2018.
- Hit to CSA scores postponed - In November, the FMCSA announced that drivers caught without an ELD won't get points against their CSA scores until April 1, 2018. This too was significant because even if a truck was not placed out of service, the threat of poor CSA scores might have compelled carriers to comply.
- Rates are at multi-year highs - It's been a long time since rates have been this high, so even independent drivers who may have considered leaving the business when the mandate was first announced, may be lured to stay while rates remain high. In fact, last month's monthly average rate for vans and reefers hit their highest mark in more than three years.
When will capacity hit occur?
All this is not to say that the ELD mandate won't have any effect on capacity. It could just come at a later date. "It will take time for the federal dollars funding enforcement of the mandate to trickle down to the states," said Bob Poulos, CEO of the fifth largest expedited fleet in the country, in an interview in the FreightWaves newsletter. "We expect many noncompliant carriers to slide under the radar for 6 to 7 months."
Targeting slowpoke shippers
Some of the impact of the ELD mandate has already occurred. Trucks.com recently published an article titled "ELD Rule Spurs Carriers, Truckers to Drop Slowpoke Shippers." It highlights how trucking companies are creating "shipper of choice" programs that prioritize preferred customers. It says that carriers are "becoming less tolerant and dropping shippers that slow down freight movement."
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