5 Things Drivers Could Be Doing to Prepare for the ELD Mandate
Nov 22, 2017
It’s official. No more debating and wondering and hoping that electronic log mandates won’t be passed. These new laws are here to stay, and so starting December 18th owner-operators who wish to remain successful in running their businesses will need to be prepared.
There is a lot of talk amongst truck drivers about how bad electronic logs will be for the trucking industry, and more specifically, for truck driver’s pocket books. A lot of that is pure speculation and even intentional fear spreading. Owner-operators who steer clear of the hearsay, and instead prepare for the new reality they are about to face, will be miles ahead of the drivers who remain complaining around the fuel island.
Long time users of paper logs will have an adjustment to make with e-logs. Take advantage of the final three weeks before the deadline and familiarize yourself with the new technology. Make any potential mistakes now before they count against you and your company’s CSA score. Run paper logs and e-logs simultaneously and see how they compare with one another. Explore the resources available to you and be a knowledgeable user of the technology instead of becoming a victim to it.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of five things drivers could be doing in order to be ready when the December 18th date comes and e-log use is officially mandated.
1. Be a partner to your company safety director not an adversary.
Your top resource when learning about e-logs is your company safety director. Work with them instead of against them to achieve success. They want you to succeed as much as you do, and it is their job to help you, advise you, correct you when needed, and make sure that you and those around you are safe and in compliance with all laws and regulations.
2. Make a plan each day, and be proactive in anticipating potential delays and solving problem before they become problems.
E-logs demand that you maximize your time each day. Before you begin in the morning, create a plan for yourself. Know where you are going, when to be there and where you hope to end each day. Having a plan will allow you to get the most out of each day.
The biggest enemy of e-logs is wasted time. Some of this is inevitable: traffic jams, customer breakdowns, trailer washout lines. However, some time wasters are in your control as a driver and owner-operator. This includes things like finding directions to customers, verifying pick-up and unload numbers, picking the less busy trailer wash, and looking at traffic reports. The most successful drivers will anticipate time wasters and proactively deal with them before they can become major problems.
3. Communicate your hours and daily plans clearly with your dispatch team.
If communication with dispatch was important before, it is paramount now. Drivers will need to work with their dispatch team and clearly state their available hours of service, daily driving plans, home time needs and all other kinds of information. When load planning you must to work together to make sure everyone fully understands expectations and abilities.
4. Put in a full day of work, maximizing the time you do have.
Because you have a fixed amount of time each day it is critical to must make the most of your driving time. Breaks are required and built into the system. Whenever possible use your 10 hour break for personal tasks such as showering and shopping so that you can do as much driving as your HOS allows. As mentioned, being proactive in anticipating and solving potential problems will be crucial. Another important trick is to try and average “Drive and On Duty” at 8.5 to 9 hours a day so you never run out of the 70 hours in 8 days.
5. Maintain a Positive Attitude
It has been said that success is 90% attitude and 10% effort. Dispatchers see this over and over again. Good things happen to people who maintain good attitudes. Negative things happen to people with negative attitudes. Hundreds of things have the potential to effect a truck driver’s day, and some days the only thing you can control is your attitude. Choose to be positive about the change and the challenge and you will be far down the road in overcoming it.
“Try it you might like it” is a saying parents use when encouraging their kids to eat new foods. Many times the kids think they will hate the new food, only later to discover all the whining and fussing wasn’t worth it because the food wasn’t so bad. This discovery is already happening with drivers who have turned on their e-logs early. Drivers with decades of experience who were hard-headed about going to e-logs have given them a shot and they have found out the change is nowhere near as bad as anticipated.
So what are you waiting for, try it, you might like it.