One morning this week I made a couple of observations that seem to be related to the upcoming electronic logging mandate (ELD). On a recent morning, I opened my windshield curtains and was getting ready to start my day. I noticed a driver across the aisle from me intently watching his dash. All the sudden he looked up looked to his left down the aisle and hit the throttle and came out of the spot like he was at a drag race. I thought to myself that this seemed odd and in a good way to tear up your equipment. Soon after that I saw another truck take off the same way. This truck went down to the end of the aisle pivoted the trailer around and came back up through the parking area at a much higher rate of speed than would seem safe. I am only assuming when I say they are new to having electronic logs and that they must feel the need to watch every second of their time.
I have been noticing in the last few months a lot of odd behaviors at the travel centers which seem to be related to the ELD mandate. Three of my early observations have been, taking half hour breaks on the fuel island, driving too fast or staying under five mile an hour while traversing the parking lot.
Let’s talk about half hour breaks on the fuel island first. There are times when finding a place to take our half hour break can be difficult. It is certainly not professional to block everyone in the fuel island while you take the mandatory half hour break. There are times however when the parking lot is full, it is late at night, and the fuel island is one of the few options to park the truck for half an hour. I have used this option late at night. The reason for me doing this is twofold; the first reason being there are people looking for parking spots for their ten-hour break and secondly the fuel islands were not full. Whenever I practiced taking my half hour break on the fuel island it was late at night, there were no trucks to be blocked in, and I stayed with my truck, the entire time ready to move if needed. The last thing I would want to happen is for a driver desperately looking for a place for their ten-hour rest break to pass up the spot I was sitting, when I would be leaving as soon as I had finished my half hour break.
Next let’s talk about the drivers that think they need to get every second out of their day by driving at an unsafe speed in the parking area. I understand that all of the seconds add up to minutes and the minutes add up to hours. I am hoping as drivers get used to having an ELD that this practice will diminish. None of us wants to run over someone in the parking lot to save thirty seconds of drive time.
Finally, there is the under five miles an hour in the parking lot driver. I can only assume they are idling so slowly that they are keeping their ELD from switching to drive time. Obviously, this practice does not bode well with the previous mentioned higher speed driver trying to make up time in the parking lot.
Just the other day I followed a truck to the exit which was barely creeping along. I wondered to myself at the time “what is he doing going so slow?” As we approached the exit this truck slowed down even more. When we got to the stop sign at the exit the truck ahead of me came to a stop as expected and paused. Some fifteen to twenty seconds went by with no traffic on the highway before this truck pulled out. At this point the truck left the stop sign in a very rapid fashion. I can only assume what was going on in this case as I was not driving the other truck. My guess would be that the driver was trying to keep his electronic log from switching to drive time by keeping the truck under five mile and hour to the exit. The slight pause at the end was most likely because drive time was not available quite yet. It seemed as though the driver did a masterful job of maximizing their drive time availability by timing out their break right to the exit of the travel center.
With all of these drivers in various stages of their learning curve in regards to working with an ELD there will probably be much frustration. All I can hope is for some patience amongst all of us while everyone gets used to operating under the ELD mandate. In closing it is not worth someone’s life or torn up equipment to save mere seconds.