Regulations on Trucking and their Effects

Couple of years ago, in 2015, the US Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) adopted a rule to improve roadway safety by focusing on reducing deaths and injuries that occur because of commercial motor vehicle crashes. One of the major causes of trucking accidents is driver fatigue due to lack of sleep and insufficient break time. This rule is targeted to address that problem directly.

The number of hours that commercial drivers can drive on the roads and highways is limited by federal safety regulations. The concept is drivers who are on the road behind the wheel for too long become tired, which increases the possibility for accidents, injuries and deaths. The law requires rest periods and breaks to alleviate fatigue related crashes.

For almost a century, since 1938, logs have been kept by truck and bus drivers using pencil and paper. Because the system is entirely manual, it’s difficult to correlate into statistics, verify, and make use of the information.

The new law requires the data about driving times, breaks and rest times be maintained electronically so that the information can be easily verified and reports can be generated to improve compliance, and so that managers, police officers and other enforcement officials can easily review the records.

Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) must automatically record driving time, how many miles were driven, whether or not the vehicle was moving, and locations traveled. Smart phones, tablets, and specialty devices can be used to record this information.

These devices are intended operate without the need for data entry by the driver or other personnel. GPS tracking is used to record a trucks location, movement and mileage. Thus, a driver does not need to remember to enter the information into a logbook for each stop on the route.

These new electronic record-keeping requirements will, in general, make life easier for truckers and freight companies by significantly reducing the amount of manual labor required to enter, verify and make use of the information. Additionally, because everything will be made available in a database, reports can be easily generated to prove and improve compliance.

The effect of this new rule will be to reduce accidents and the resultant deaths, injuries and property damage. On the downside, drivers will be more restricted on hours and can’t do as many shipments as they do currently. Because of this, carriers might have to expand their trucking fleets to compensate, and driver’s incomes can be negatively affected.

SmartHop application can help by taking advantage of unused space on the truck to create additional income for drivers and carriers. For example, if the truck is 30% empty, SmartHop can fill that space with pallets and thus increase the profit for both the carrier and the driver.

Larger loads mean additional profits, which can compensate for the reduced driving times needed to adhere to the Department of Transportation rule.

This is yet another reason to take advantage of the services that SmartHop can offer to improve productivity and increase profits.

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