Electronic logging devices (ELDs) are here. Operations staff play an integral role in helping drivers plan efficiently and schedule their time to operate within the boundaries of the hours-of-service regulations. With the transition from paper logs to ELDs, a driver’s day must be calculated down to the minute. Because of this, it is important for operations staff to be a driver’s advocate and help the driver proactively address trip planning issues before they become a problem and create unnecessary business interruptions. This approach benefits both the driver’s and the company’s earning capacity as well as boosts morale and fosters teamwork. Three areas operations staff can help drivers manage their time and avoid ELD-related problems are delays at the shipper and receiver, parking, and communication.
Shippers and Receivers
With fourteen hours of available work time and eleven hours of drive time, drivers have to plan their days well in advance. Inspections, driving to the shipper, loading/unloading, and taking the mandatory 30-minute break are just a few tasks for which time must be allotted. Operations staff can help drivers avoid prolonged detention time by calling ahead to set up appointments for loading and unloading and negotiating detention or layover pay, if necessary. Dispatchers and load planners can also ask the shipper/receiver to have the shipment ready when the truck shows up and determine ahead of time if extra time will be needed for load securement.
The implementation of ELDs is expected to create parking logjams at truck stops. Available spots may be hard to come by, so operations staff can help drivers by researching the number and size of truck stops along the driver’s route, calling on the driver’s behalf to determine how many spots are available, and making a reservation.
The same goes for rest areas, especially if the driver is hauling an oversized load. Find out ahead of time if oversized loads are permitted in the rest area. And lastly, when the driver is out of drive time and wants to use the truck for personal conveyance, remind the driver how to enter this properly on the ELD.
Sometimes, even the best laid plans don’t work out. Unexpected delays can throw a wrench into any schedule, and this is when communication becomes so critical. Communication is a two-way street, but operations staff can be an asset to drivers. They can assist drivers by finding alternative routes and factoring in a driver’s available hours, coordinating emergency roadside services, and calling a shipper or receiver in advance to alert him or her of a driver delay. Operations staff can also instruct drivers on how to deal with problem customers or handling issues at specific customer sites so the driver can plan accordingly. In this early stage of ELDs, communicating with drivers regularly, especially about how to make daily edits and annotations, will be important to help drivers maximize their work hours, relieve stress, and focus on operating their vehicles safely.
Call To Action
- Develop a personal conveyance policy.
- Conduct ELD training with all drivers and driver managers.
- Create a communication check-in schedule with drivers.
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