With Monday marking the official start of a new era in trucking, it seems as though it was business as usual for many that I encountered out there on the road this week. Most would assume that this would be a good thing, with a huge amount of speculation about how it was going to impact the industry negatively and contribute heavily to the already increasing "capacity crunch". Unfortunately, from those I encountered and talked to, business as usual included for them being misinformed and even downright defiant in some cases!
Early Monday morning, during my first delivery of the day, I struck up a conversation with the guy unloading next to me that led towards the topic of ELD's. He was curious if such a new truck like mine came with an ELD in it already pre-installed, in which I replied that they could be ordered that way, but that I as a small fleet owner had decided to go with a less-costly BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) unit. I detailed my past week of "working the kinks out" and shared what problems and benefits I had seen to using one myself with him and was interested on where he was on the whole mandate issue.
Interesting thing that developed from this particular conversation though, was that he was completely misinformed about how the mandate would affect him as an owner-operator. He was leased to a carrier with 20-30 trucks as he put it, that didn't whatsoever mention anything about having to comply with an ELD mandate to him. In his defense he thought he was exempt because he was only one truck, but didn't realize he was part of a larger fleet equation, having to run under their interstate authority. He also had thought that because he didn't leave California in his truck that he would be exempt. This couldn't have been further from the truth, since the fleet he was leased all have interstate authority, apportioned plates and run well outside of the 100-mile radius rule.
The next thing that sticks out in my mind from this past ELD-week, were a couple of gents I encountered coming back up Cajon Pass on I-15 toward home on Wednesday, whom I was privy to have overheard having a short CB radio chat before exiting for my off-ramp. The conversation sparked when I heard someone comment on the sign that was taped on the back of one of their trailers reading, "My Truck, My Choice, NO ELD!" The conversation continued to go south when the other driver commenting on how he liked the other guy's sign said "I don't need that stinkin' ELD either because I drive a truck that's so old, it's exempt!" He continued to show his "adherence to government policies" when he followed up with, "I don't need those %#*% filters on this that they wanted me to put on it either!" His defiance was somehow just as humorous to me as the fact that if he was driving a non-retrofitted truck in the state of CA with no ELD to boot, he was a shutdown waiting to happen as a result of his outlaw-ish ways!
With the realization that the inevitable is now upon us, my choice to comply comes with its own adjustments as well. Although all my trucks were always on a "do what you log, log what you do" understanding, it is a little different with the sands trickling through an hour glass once you flip it over in the morning and fire up your truck. I can say as a small fleet operator though, that the access to logs via “the cloud” and potential lessening of paperwork for me when it comes to HOS auditing is a welcome side effect of having everything electronic now in all my trucks. My personal adjustment has been seemingly mundane, as I would imagine it has been for most this week as well. There has been no excitement to the implementation on my end, with the exception of one day only having six minutes left on my fourteen when I signed off. I am interested to hear how the rest of you have adjusted to this first week of ELD adherence, or defiance? Please feel free to sound off in the comments section below!