Could New Federal Regulations Cause Shipping Costs to Rise?

Federal Regulation for Truck Drivers Recently a new federal regulation took effect that requires drivers of big rigs equipped with electronic logs to use them to record their time behind the wheel. Regulators can now better enforce existing rules limiting driving time. The utilization of these electronic logs mean that drivers are likely to travel fewer number of miles in a single day. Shippers and drivers fear this could get complicated and ultimately cause costs to rise.

How It Affects Truck Drivers

Interestingly, some truckers would rather retire than use electronic logging devices — they just don’t like or want them! If and when that happens, the industry loses more drivers, which means the cost to hire a big rig in the spot market goes way up.

Federal rules say that commercial truck drivers are limited to 11 hours behind the wheel in a 14-hour workday. However, sometimes drivers exceed that limit, for whatever reason such as finding a place to park. In the past, then, paper logs were easier to falsify, and some undoubtedly were. Nowadays, with electronic logging devices taking over the industry, those who refuse to use them could face fines or worse– be removed from the road.

While many big companies have used electronic logs for years and their drivers are used to them, smaller carriers have been much slower to take on this new technology. A lot of “old timers” simply don’t want to feel like “Big Brother” is watching and controlling their every move. It’s not easy to get someone to change their habits, Many drivers see e-logs as unforgiving hassles, making their lives worse. Meanwhile, the cost per logging device is typically $100 to $600 per truck– something smaller carriers find to be a burden. They also have to pay service fees.

Seriously, this whole electronic logging thing is causing truckers to change careers and go into something else that doesn’t annoy them. Companies that need to ship things quickly, like fresh fruit, are finding it harder to get drivers to take on their runs. There are shortages in the availability of drivers covering loads. Long story short, the government, whether they realize it or not, is messing with the flow of commerce by mandating the use of e-logs.

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