Analyst: Trend to ‘micromanage’ drivers deterring truckers, ELDs to push small carriers out of biz

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Updated Sep 12, 2015
The electronic logging device mandate likely to take effect in late 2017 will ding the country’s capacity by about three to five percent, says analyst John Larkin.The electronic logging device mandate likely to take effect in late 2017 will ding the country’s capacity by about three to five percent, says analyst John Larkin.

It’s expected that when the upcoming electronic logging device mandate hits — likely to take effect in late 2017 — it’ll shrink the number of carriers, trucks and drivers on U.S. roadways, a supposed natural attrition that comes with such a mandate, either in the form of those who’d rather quit than comply or those for whom the cost of compliance is just too great a burden.

One analyst recently forecasted that between three and five percent of the country’s trucking capacity may be pushed out of the industry by the DOT’s coming requirement to use electronic logging devices, and many of those, he said, will be smaller carriers.

“Smaller, less compliant carriers won’t be able to cheat anymore to be competitive,” said John Larkin, head of Stifel Transportation Research, speaking in a conference call with investors last month. “And some of them will actually fail as a result of that.”

Larkin also touched on carriers’ continual trend toward “micromanaging” seemingly every aspect of truck operators’ jobs, noting it’s a deterrent to both current operators and those potentially interested in becoming one.

“Part of the problem is that we have a mentality out there that if we’re going to be cost competitive, we have to micromanage the driver. We want he or she to be in the right hand lane doing 62 miles an hour in a speed-governed truck while we’re monitoring his or her fuel efficiency,” Larkin said.

He went on:

“We’re making sure they stay on the prescribed route and we’re making sure that they take a rest at the prescribed rest area. We are making sure they take on fuel only at the prescribed fueling point and in the gallons that has been predetermined. We’re watching them on the satellite. We’ve got a camera inside the cab of the truck that will take a movie of you if there’s any kind of acceleration, deceleration, swerve to the left or swerve to the right. This is not the kind of job that the swashbuckling truck drivers of years gone past would have any interest in and that’s part of what makes it so difficult.”

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