Tag Archives: trucking

5 Key Trucking Regulations That Will Make An Impact In 2020

One of the most common challenges in the trucking industry, both for carriers and shippers, is understanding and having more transparency into government regulations. The FMCSA has had updates in policies recently, and many of these changes can substantially impact the current state of trucking in many ways. It is crucial to recognize the key trucking regulations that will come into play, and how can they affect your business.

What are the main trucking regulations to watch in 2020?

Alcohol and Drug Clearinghouse

The roll-out of the Alcohol and Drug Clearinghouse is probably the loudest and the most discussed update from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The project, that was officially released on January 6, 2020, is a secure database where any involved party can monitor if a certain Commercial Driver License holder has records of violation of alcohol and drug usage policies over the last five years. The testing requirement won’t change, but will now be located in a centralized online database. The main goal of the clearinghouse is bringing more visibility into driver’s professional history and improving drivers’ vetting process for motor carriers. The full compliance is expected on January 6, 2023.

HOS changes

The obligatory implementation of ELD’s and required recording of drivers’ hours of service increased the regulations’  compliance and safety. However, many of the HOS rules made it harder for drivers to operate in certain cases. The most common complaint was reduced schedule flexibility, which FMCSA decided to address in the newest update of these regulations. Here are some key outtakes of the proposed changes:

  • Add two more hours to the 11-hour driving limit
  • Increasing the short-haul exception from 12-hour limit to 14-hour limit, and 100 miles to 150 miles
  • Adding a 30-minute off-duty break as an extension of the 14-hour limit
  • Prolong the sleeping berth exception
  • Allowing any 30-minute time-off the road count as the rest time

The updates are called to give drivers more flexibility on how to use their off-duty time while being more efficient and compliant.

Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT)

The new regulation that will take effect on February 7, 2020, is related to all the driver training providers. There are many independent training programs that promise to prepare college graduates for the trucking industry and make them CDL holders. However, with the new regulation, all education enthusiasts have to be registered in the Training Provider Registry and approved by the FMCSA.

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Program

CSA is an already implemented safety program, however, the updated rules and requirements will be applied on September 20, 2020. Now, FMCSA is conducting an internal review of Item Response Theory. This will conclude to the final report and changes to the current testing programs, that are believed to increase safety on the roads and better inspect commercial motor vehicles.

California Assembly Bill (AB) 5

The new state regulation on working with independent contractors is not solely related to trucking but more to the general employment laws. However, it can greatly impact the hiring and employment process in the trucking industry as well. The new law restricts the ways to classify workers as independent contractors and pushes more towards signing them as employees. California AB 5 is called to bring more security to workers as employees, giving them more stable working conditions and avoiding the pitfalls of the gig economy. Although the law took effect in California, it’s likely that other states will follow these policy updates too.

Read 2020 Logistics Outlook: 3 Trends That Will Make an Impact

A Decade in Logistics: 3 Shifts That Impacted Logistics

The past decade felt like everything has sped up. The economy, technology, and development of many industries have experienced a substantial jump in growth. For logistics and transportation, it has been a decade of huge and really significant shifts. Mainly driven by the steady invasion of technology, the industry was reshaped in many ways, including safety regulations, operations, and other important transformations.

What were the most important shifts in logistics throughout the decade?

The changing face of the trucking industry

Technology changing the industry is quite obvious, but the ways in which these innovations have influenced logistics and transportation are not. 10 years ago, trucking had a very different face. A huge jump in trucker technology made drivers’ lives easier, reshaped safety regulations, improved tracking, and data storing. With electronic logging devices (ELDs), truckers can accurately record their working hours, send and receive updates, and share records on their duty status. These technologies had a huge impact on safety regulations, such as shifts in Hours of Service (HOS) rules and many other policies tailored towards increased drivers’ safety.

Technology impact

Apart from the trucking industry, supply chains have also experienced a huge upgrade thanks to digital innovations. The development of robust, more advanced transportation management systems and similar applications have redefined the way supply chains are working now. Increased visibility, connectivity, data storage, and safety all make it much more efficient.

Also, many other tech innovations like IoT, blockchain, robotic devices, and autonomous vehicles have all made a recent decade very significant for the logistics industry. From top-level customer service and same-day deliveries to automated warehouses and self-driven trucks, the past few years have shown that the progress in the industry is speeding up.

The growing demand for 3PLs and outsourcing

Another important thing that the past decade has taught us is that more and more shippers are turning to 3PL service rather than arranging an in-house logistics department. From 2010 to 2018, the gross revenue produced by the U.S. third party logistics providers has doubled, going from $127 billion to $213.5 billion. Generally, outsourcing has grown in recent years. From deploying specialized software to using various outsourced services, companies are becoming more flexible, integrated, and collaborative in terms of logistics and supply chain management. Considering the rising costs of in-house logistics services, rising trade tariffs, fuel prices, and capacity issues, it became much harder to navigate transportation even for large and mid-sized businesses. All these factors made 3PL’s the best solution for transportation and supply chain management.

How to Navigate the Driver Shortage

Why is the drivers’ shortage happening?

According to the survey by American Trucking Association, the driver’s shortage could reach 175,000 drivers by 2024, which is almost five times more than 2014 rate. These forecasts can soon become a reality, as the average age of American truck driver is 55 years. It is easy to figure out that in a matter of 10-15 years, the old generation of truckers will retire, and carriers will have to deal with a disastrous situation, as recruiting young talents is a challenge.

How to deal with the problem?

There are two main challenges in truckers’ recruitment: to decrease leaving rates among truckers and to attract young ones. For the first category, the answer is simple: give the drivers what they want. Usually, they don’t want a lot: simple things like competitive salary, less stress, and comfortable working conditions. To conquer the new generation of drivers, companies have to change their recruiting strategy.

  • Decrease the hauls time. These are primary and evident things that everyone wants to receive for doing a hard job. But roots of the driver’s deficit problem lay deeper than the layer of monetary reward. Changes involve personal approach and attention to important life events, like birthdays and anniversaries. Mere modifications like giving truckers extra time at home will increase efficiency and loyalty to the employer.
  • Provide comfortable equipment. No one wants to drive an old, run-down truck that has lots of issues. If you want the driver to spend a long time on the road, make the route enjoyable. Modern, spare, clean restrooms and small kitchens are vital for staying sane while driving long distances. Sleep deprivation is among the most painful troubles in a trucker’s job. Nutrition matters as well. Short break time prompts drivers to eat junk food, high in fat and sugar. Matching this with an inactive lifestyle will result in a collection of serious health problems and possible weight gain. Investing in the health of truckers will lead to enduring partnerships and can reasonably diminish the shortage.
  • Eliminate side responsibilities. Turns out that drivers are often involved in the time-consuming processes that are not in their direct competence. Equipping the trucks with smart devices like GPS and hands-off control will not only save shippers and drivers from time-consuming processes, but will also increase the safety during the route, as the driver is not distracted and can focus on the trail. Automation of the freight tracking process will also be a major step towards route optimization. If the driver goes to Chicago, you can update him with load offers ahead of arriving, so he doesn’t have to run an empty truck to the start point to receive a new order.

At the end of the day, better results require major changes. An update of all of the strategies that involve truckers can be a useful solution for decreasing the shortage. Optimizing the system, reducing the haul time, raising the payment, providing new equipment, and changing the approach towards drivers’ off-work life altogether will create a principal difference in the current situation.

Why Do We Need Truck Drivers?

Technology has completely taken over today’s world. Whether it is going to the grocery store, ordering items online, or just typing a question into Google – we expect products and answers almost instantly. As the demand for products and goods continues to grow, so does the importance of truck drivers.

Why do we need truck drivers?

Without truck drivers, we wouldn’t be able to do or buy half of the things that we need to. Truck drivers move billions of tons of freight each year and are the main reason we are able to walk into a store and purchase what we need. Without truck drivers, we would have to rely on local resources for food and wouldn’t have access to seafood, fruit and other meat options due to location restrictions. This can also apply to other products like oil, gas, and steel that are more abundant in certain parts of the U.S. than others.

importance of truck drivers

During this year’s National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, we want to take some time to highlight the importance of our truck drivers and say thank you for all of the hard work that they do. Many companies wouldn’t be able to be in business if it wasn’t for the hard work and commitment of truck drivers. Below are some of the main reasons that we should be thankful for truck drivers.

Importance of Truck Drivers

They’re Committed

Many truck drivers have been on the road for years and still enjoy what they do every day. Drivers commit to their work and make sure that their job gets done and deliveries are properly made.

They Help Businesses Run Smoothly

Businesses rely on trucks to bring in new shipments of products. For example, clothing stores would not be able to sell clothes without truck drivers delivering new items to them. Truck drivers are on the road early in the morning and late into the evening to deliver on time so that businesses can run smoothly.

They Spend Time Away from Family

Truck drivers often have to make sacrifices due to their busy schedules. Many truck drivers have children of their own and are away from home on deliveries for multiple days at a time. Being a truck driver requires putting in a lot of time on the road. Being able to balance work, family, and responsibilities at home is an important part of being a truck driver.

A world without truck drivers would be completely different than the world that we know today. Make sure to thank a truck driver this week to show appreciation for all that the drivers do for the world!


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3 Ways the ELD Mandate Has Impacted Trucking

The ELD (electronic logging device) trucking mandate is quite possibly the biggest change seen by the trucking industry in over 50 years, and one that many people have mixed feelings about. Since its introduction in December 2017, there’s no doubt it has made a considerable impact on the trucking industry. So, in order to gain a better understanding of this ELD mandate and its effects, we will discuss the implications of the ELD trucking mandate and how it has been impacting the trucking industry since it was put into place.

There are three areas that have been most affected by the trucking mandate, which are:

  • Cost
  • Productivity
  • Safety


According to the FMCSA, ELD’s were predicted to save approximately $1.6 billion per year as a result of less paperwork. Ultimately, savings indeed have been found through reduced fuel costs, decreased truck downtime and reduced crash rates.

ELD trucking mandate

The savings are surely impressive, but do they make up for the costs of implementing the ELDs? The most common device costs carriers are about $495 per truck. For a small or medium-sized business, that’s a huge expense. One that could drastically be changing the state of their business.


Prior to the ELD trucking mandate, industry experts estimated that ELDs would have a 3% – 5% impact on carrier productivity, especially on trips longer than 450, miles and short-haul operations of up to 300 miles that bump against the 14-hour rule. Larger fleets have additionally found a way to sustain productivity by sending out other trucks to pick up a load if a company driver is delayed or out of hours.


The driving force behind the ELD mandate has always been safety. The ELD mandate applies to over 3 million drivers on the road. Therefore, these are 3 million drivers that potentially would not cause fewer accidents due to fatigue and inaccurate HOS logging. An analysis by the FMCSA predicted that the ELD mandate would prevent approximately 20 fatalities and 434 injuries each year, due to driver fatigue. By ditching the paper and pen method and adopting the ELD method, current statistics have proven that the ELD mandate ensures that all drivers are following specific safety and compliance standards.

Trucking industry experts have predicted this kind of bumpy road following ELD implementation for a long time. If anything, the industry’s current struggles with the ELD could be a correction to the surging freight market.


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Minimizing the Impact of the ELD Mandate

ELD grace period is about to end

The electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is causing major changes to the industry and is making drivers want to leave the transportation industry instead of using the ELD. The regulation of the ELD rule began on April 1 after a three-month grace period allowing drivers to implement the device.

The mandate requires the use of an ELD to accurately record a driver’s hours of service. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said that the hours of service restrictions were put in place because of increased risk of crashes and chronic health conditions associated with lack of sleep when driving long distances as truckers do.

ELD mandate impact on trucking


This mandate is frustrating truck drivers and making some drivers leave the industry so that they don’t have to use the ELD. Before the mandate, truck drivers were concerned about bad weather, accidents or long detention times because of the potential to miss their next delivery. Now, with the mandate, any form of unexpected delay would put that driver over his/her hours of service mark and force them to stop for the night. This hurts the productivity and profit margins for drivers being paid by the trip.

Before the mandate, a shipper might have taken a six-hour run, made a delivery, picked up a new load and then returned home. Today, the same driver would have to stop because of going over the 11-hour driving limit and secure an overnight parking spot to stop and wait until they can get back on the road. Although this mandate is helping to create a safer environment on the road for all drivers, it is putting pressure on an industry already strapped for capacity.

As a shipper, there are things you can do to minimize the effects of the ELD mandate. You can:

  • Reduce the number of inbound deliveries entering their facilities through consolidation
  • Speed-up driver turn-around in their yards with dock scheduling and order management tools
  • Communicate effectively with promise dates, notifications and issues as they come up
  • Leverage the power of transportation technology to improve operations (a TMS)


These tips will help you reduce the number of trucks on the road and save money. It will be interesting to see what comes up in the industry in the coming months.


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The ELD Mandate Is Here: What’s Next?

The ELD mandate went into effect on December 18th, 2017, despite the attempts to delay it. The start hasn’t been smooth, many have been feeling the effects of it, but many are getting used to what is now a reality. A big topic of discussion is whether the mandate will remain in place, but it appears it is.ELD_Mandate_1.jpg

Presently, there are remaining questions about the enforcement and technical aspects of the mandate. Issues have been sprouting for fleet managers and drivers that no one expected until the mandate launched.

With some fleets rushing to be compliant by the 18th, some learned that their devices were not meeting the proper requirements that have been outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The problem has been that fleets have opted for a fast and cheap alternative for an ELD device without understanding the requirements needed for that device.

This has left confusion among owners about whether or not their fleet is in compliance. If not in compliance, there is only an 8-day grace period to make the switch to a proper device or they face a penalty from the FMCSA. Many fleets have been complaining about the costs associated.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), who opposed the mandate, has been receiving a multitude of negative feedback regarding the ELDs and the providers for them. They had once received over 50 calls in a day regarding a complaint about the ELDs. It’s assumed that the providers for the ELDs are not prepared to deal with the owner-operators yet as they are only used to dealing with large fleets.

Enforcement for the ELD mandate has been finicky to start. The FMCSA has enforcement personnel that began documenting violations during roadside inspections, and in some cases, issuing citations to those without a compliant ELD. But some drivers have not issued a citation dependent on the situation (i.e. Device not working abruptly, device notice to be switched etc.…). They will still issue citations for hour of service (HOS) violations though, so be prepared for that if it is to happen. Starting April 1st, 2018, enforcement will be allowed to place drivers out of service if they fail to present the required device.

Talking about being finicky, the technology still isn’t perfect. So, drivers who recently have been dealing with issues regarding their ELD have to find a workable solution if they are being inspected. Drivers have had to resort to the previous style of paper logging to record their hours of service because of a failed ELD solution. The fleet usually has records if the device fails but it creates an inconvenience for both the fleet and the driver. Enforcement will no doubt issue a violation if a driver cannot produce logs.

Either way, you put it, the ELD has not been running as smooth as the FMCSA has hoped. It is expected that the problems will continue to persist until the mandate is pulled back as some have hoped. Unless the technology can be perfected, there are still variables of error that can occur.

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How Shippers Can Prepare for the ELD Mandate

The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate is happening whether your company likes it or not. There are critics, and there are supporters – no matter the side you’re on, your company needs to prepare for the inevitable. To help, we’ve laid out 4 tips for you to prepare for the ELD Mandate.

ELDs are a hot topic in the transportation industry. What’s the impact on capacity? Do I need to be ELD compliant? Why are we switching?

While there’s no clear consensus on the impact on capacity, it’s important to remember one thing: the hours of service (HOS) each driver has in a day/week is not changing. The mandate is not changing HOS for drivers, rather ELD will change the method of recording the hours.

Previously, we’ve covered what the ELD Mandate means for you. Now it’s time to lay out a few steps you can take to prepare for the mandate.

Truck Driver Holding TabletPlan Ahead

You’ve heard this a thousand times: “Add lead time” –  that’s only because we truly mean it!

Short lead times can mean higher carrier rejection rates. In an ideal world, 48 hours lead time is needed for every shipment. Longer lead times increase carrier commitment and better chances of securing the capacity you need.

Be Proactive with Carriers

If you do business with a third-party logistics company (3PL), the 3PL should assess which of its contracted carriers utilize ELDs or have a game plan to begin utilizing.

If you do not use a 3PL – make sure you’re talking with your carrier(s) to get a better understanding of their timeline for implementation and what it means for you.

 Realistic Transit Time Expectations

Once the mandate is in place, shippers are likely to see an increase in the time it takes a shipment from the time it’s picked up to the time of delivery.

The reasoning? The HOS restrictions will be more successfully enforced. Drivers may be stuck with a full load pending a reset to their HOS if they don’t plan accordingly.

 Expect Price Hikes

The ELD mandate is predicted to severely shrink freight capacity due to the number of carriers who can’t (or will not) comply. When capacity shrinks, prices increase.

The percentage of increase has yet to be determined, but be prepared come December 18, 2017 for a surge in prices.

Ultimately, the decision on how to prepare, act, and recover from the ELD mandate is up to you and your business. As we approach the implementation date (December 18, 2017), PLS Logistics will continue to monitor for updates or changes to the ELD mandate.

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ELD Mandate: What you need to know

The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate has been a wildly popular topic of discussion for years. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that motor carriers must begin using ELDs on all trucks and commercial buses. Carriers and drivers have until December 18, 2017 to comply.

What does this mean for you?

The ELD mandate is designed to increase commercial motor vehicle safety, reduce paperwork, and improve Hours of Service (HOS) compliance.

Impact on Capacity

The estimated 3 million drivers who are currently using paper logs, are likely to experience decreased capacity when switching to electronic logs. The drivers that will be most affected by the mandate are the ones that have not been compliant with the HOS regulations. These drivers are estimated to see as much as a double-digit reduction in productivity.

Long-term Benefits

While this new regulation will see negative short-term impacts, the long-term benefits outweigh the costs.

In the immediate future, trucking companies will pay around $500 per truck for the ELD device. The FMCSA estimates the mandate will save the industry around $3 billion annually through reduced paperwork and fewer accidents.

The ELD mandate will also make it more difficult for drivers to misrepresent their driving time, consequently reducing HOS violations. By enforcing this policy driver fatigue will be reduced and prevent fatalities and injuries.

The mandate will also reduce liability to shippers due to fewer accidents by non-compliant drivers.

iStock-831064408.jpgDo I need to be ELD compliant?

Drivers who are currently using automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) or install those before the December deadline will be grandfathered in – giving them an additional 2 years to update the technology.

Additionally, drivers who operate under the short haul exemption don’t have to comply with the mandate. A short haul driver “operates within a 100 air-mile radius of the normal work reporting location,” according to FMCSA. This exemption is only if the driver’s duties are less than 8 days in a 30-day period.


Questions about the ELD mandate? Contact one of our truckload specialists today.

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5 Driver Safety Tips That Will Save You Money

Collisions are impossible to predict, and when they happen, they can cost your company millions. To combat this, you’ll want your fleet manager to construct a safety program that makes this unpredictable expense, well, predictable.

Fleetistics iStock-545806984.jpgstated that “investing in fleet safety technology is the most effective way to minimize collisions and all of the expenses that accompany them.”

Settlement payouts, repairs, insurance premium increases, and the harm to your brand’s image are too great a cost to risk. However, implementing technology isn’t a miracle fix. It definitely won’t benefit your business if your drivers and managers aren’t using it effectively.

According to Mobileye, onboarding is the most important factor in this equation, as it’s the best place to begin. The driver is already learning about driver safety during this stage, and since they’re new, they’re going to take it seriously.

Use the following tips and tricks to save your business money, increase productivity and employee satisfaction, and boost your revenue.

  1. Explain how adhering to the safety program benefits the driver. Before even understanding the different fleet safety systems, the driver needs to know why using them is beneficial. Reasons, like protecting their health and boosting earning potential, are sure to encourage new hires to take the learning process seriously and sweat the details.
  2. Empower drivers to look for solutions. Certain fleets will have drivers that travel through desert plains or snow for days. When they’re taught how to seek out safe solutions for situations that are common, they’ll be empowered to critically solve future problems for their team.
  3. Connect new drivers with experienced drivers. Experienced drivers with a record of safety can be an invaluable asset to your company and your new hire. Shadowing is not uncommon among fleets, and if a driver with a record of safety is training the new hire, they won’t be as prone to reckless driving practices as they would be if an unsafe driver had done it.
  4. Provide safety incentive programs. You’d be hard pressed to find a better way to capture employees’ attention than an incentive program. Choose an incentive that works well for your business and that your drivers respond to.
  5. Never stop monitoring. Keeping drivers compliant after training is a challenge, but it can be made easier by staying up to date on their driving history. Don’t stop monitoring and training your employees after they’ve become seasoned.

Read next: 5 Things Carriers Should Stop (Now).

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