With the increased oversight associated with reduced hours of service (HOS) and new safety regulations, the industry is seeing a significant shift toward electronic and automatic controls. In some ways, this simplifies the overall process, yet making the transition can take time, money, as well as technological acuity to understand how it all works. For those born in the digital age, the upgrades are easily integrated into daily routines; for those of the analog generation, however, there can be snags around every corner.
An estimated 17% of drivers on the road are aged younger than 35—for these drivers, a tech-based method to track workflow means more efficiency in tracking orders, capturing signatures, and reconciling returns. Utilizing this technology also helps to ensure better customer service, with drivers being more responsible for communicating delays to customers in real time.
For drivers who belong to an older demographic—and, in 2014, the industry average age of drivers was 48—this technology doesn’t come as easily, nor are they happy about the looming requirement to use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). A reported 70% of independent truckers, and 52 % of leased owner-operators and company drivers surveyed suggested they’d quit driving when the ELD mandate begins. If nothing else, the mandate could give aging drivers a reason to retire earlier—not a good thing in an industry already facing a significant labor shortage.
To ease the transition, companies are looking to increased training and interaction with their drivers, and the results are encouraging. After spending more time in the field, working one-on-one with drivers to ensure compliance, drivers tend to be more accepting of the devices, even wondering how they’ve gotten along without them. With the inherent benefits of taking “guesswork and burden” out of determining number of hours, ELDs also give fleets a way to better plan, and help owner-operators boost their productivity.