Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cost of ELD mandate too high for small business to bear

I have personally fought the ELD mandate every step of the way since I was the chairperson of the Minnesota Trucking Association in 2012. I never believed that professional truck drivers should be mandated to have an electronic log. If they choose to, that is a different story. Forcing them is un-American. What an insult to a group of professionals.

The reality of what this mandate is going to cost our small company is keeping me awake at night and stressing me out beyond words. Back in about 2009 I started doing some research on these things they called “electronic on-board recorders” or EOBRs. I couldn’t believe we were getting prices in the $200 to $300 per unit range.

I thought that was ridiculous. So we backed off and stuck with our paper logs; they worked just fine and cost way less.

Then the word “mandate” came about, and I really backed off. The last thing our small company needs is to be forced to buy a product we cannot afford. Our drivers also voiced their concern, saying they felt the devices would neither be helpful nor improve safety.

Fast forward to 2016, and now it seems we will be forced to buy a product we cannot afford. Except now the price has gone up to $1,200 per unit. And, yes, that would be per truck.

OK, time for a good ol’ trucking math lesson here: $1,200 per unit times my 55 trucks equals $66,000. Oh wait, we are not done yet. It seems my software company wants their share of the trucker pie. Of course, doesn’t everyone? So to integrate the ELD into our software will cost me another $37,500.


Now back to our math lesson:
  • $66,000 ELD Units for 55 trucks
  • $37,500 to integrate ELDs into software
That’s $103,500 total, not including installation, time involved and – oh you know, I am sure someone will want more along the way. “Someone” always does.

My trucking company is estimated to gross $10 million this year. We are on track to obtain a 5 percent profit margin, which should net us $500,000.

But wait. The ELD mandate will take away over 20 percent of my profit. I cannot afford this mandate.

I guess we can thank our government for taking raises away from my employees, for putting our company in a financial concern, for making us cut back on items that would actually improve safety. Not for the cost of a ridiculous mandate that has not and will never improve safety on our highways. Welcome to the world of trucking, where some days it feels as if we have no choice and no voice.

However, I remain an active OOIDA member because I believe if we rally behind an organization that is run by real truckers we do have a voice. I will continue to support OOIDA and the push forward, rallying the truckers to say we do not want an ELD mandate. As hard-working Americans we demand a choice.  

No thank you, ELD mandate!

Joyce Brenny is an OOIDA member from St. Cloud, Minn., and the owner of Brenny Transportation, Inc., and Brenny Specialized.

33 comments:

  1. I retired in 2013. Drove trucks for over 20 yrs., was an O/O with two trucks between 1985-1988. I've been around the block, including being a driver-trainer. I read LL cover-to-cover, & I just sit there shaking my head back & forth in disbelief. I can't believe how the trucking industry is going downhill like the second half of the Dragon-Fly truck. No way would I ever drive any of these 'New' trucks. When I'm behind the wheel of a 'large-car', I'M IN CHARGE, NOT ALL THESE COMPUTER CHIPS, RELAYS, SENSORS & etc.! No way are all these computer gadgets going to tell me what the truck's going to do whether I want it to or not! That'll be the day! Now they even want to add ELD.'s, speed limiters, & on & on & on! Even though I am no longer driving big trucks, this crap (had another term I was gonna use, but I'm tryin to stay nice) still really pisses me off. The new drivers fresh out of truck-driving schools & getting in to these new crap boxes, really have no idea of the difference between a front-brake limiting valve, & a huckbolt. All they know is all that computer crap running the truck. Good luck if it stops running. Back in the day we could usually jury-rig them up enough to get us to somewhere where we could get it fixed. (baling wire, vise grips, duct tape, & a big hammer was all we needed). Well drivers, best of luck to all of you, & remember to keep it between the ditches, & may all the 'chicken houses' have the Big Word out for you!!!

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  2. this ELD mandate is just another way for the government to force out the small trucking companies so the mega fleets can control all the freight with their fly by night low paying student drivers

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  3. $150 for Rand Mcnally 100% DOT compliant elog device. Plus cost of a basic tablet. Hardly the $130K burden.
    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=1275461&gclid=CjwKEAjwwOvABRC08aedoZ_lnTMSJACs_cbuedr0c9C4EMhsq5chK_HmQ7AE1UTdRmdoqBvMmkWOYBoCDtHw_wcB&Q=&ap=y&m=Y&c3api=1876%2C91438732682%2C&is=REG&A=details

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    1. U might want to reread the mandate. It says it has to be wired into ur truck so when u move it changes to drive

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    2. What happens if it fails?
      You're still required to present 8 days of logs.

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    3. You also carry a paper log with you. You call the dispatcher and have them fax the previous 8 days to you.

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    4. Again read the rules,carrier must register each unit with fmcsa,with assigned drivers info, must be forwarded to them at same time as the carrier,failure to comply and gov't knows exactly where, when,violation accured ,,,,,gov't will be sending the fines in the driver , carrier,,,the moment of the violation happened

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    5. owner op, there is no such requirement. If you think there is go to the FMCSA website, read the 460+ page document and come back here with the page # supporting your assertion. I've read the document and what you say is not in there.

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    6. The Rand McNally is legal because the actual eld unit plugs directly into the diagnostic port of the ecm

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    7. Mike, you are correct, you can do the tablet with the Bluetooth hooked to your ecu but with 2 to 25 trucks you have roughly a 20,000 dollar outlay for software, then when you jump to a company like Brenna, they have to integrate software already in use. If they use the ELD for communication plus logs and do their daily inspection on the ELD their software is going upwards of 65 to 70k and thatdoes not include monthly cost. Ms Brenny is being conservative her actual first year cost with installation and down time for installation will easily reach 250,000 dollars.Half of their profit margin and the ongoing will result in about a annual cost of 100k including hiring anot IT person to manage the system.

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  4. Keeptruckin.com has ELDs for $20 per month, or $30 if you want IFTA figured for you too. And, that's the only cost per truck. No cost for the actual device, just the monthly fee, and it just plugs into the data port. It's not necessary to go with the expensive options. They've made sure to keep up with any new proposed requirements for the future and made sure it's compliant for all of those regulations too. Check them out,they can save you a fortune if the mandate goes forward. They also have a free phone app that can replace your paper logs in the mean time. It works just like paper logs, but the company can track everything from the office so there is no need to send in logs or keep buying paper logs. It automatically tracks your remaining hours to make it easy to avoid mistakes and violations, and they can be fully edited at any time from your phone. I used it back when I was on paper logs and I loved how quick and easy it was to do everything.

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  5. Mike you obviously don't drive a truck these things are a joke just like the government that's enforcing this crap

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  6. Can you move slow with this to get to a dock or does it start your time as soon as your truck moves?

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    1. some have a minimum speed before switching to driving, but it's like 5 or 10 mph. Have talked to drivers who have gone into violation while circling the truck stop looking for a spot

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    2. The one eld device on the government's approved list that we actually installed and ran. THERE were no options for setting distance or speed but each time you released your brakes you were automatically moved to the drive line.

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    3. I am an O/O and I have elogs with the company I am leased to. 2 miles and the elog kicks in. So if you have to move a few miles, just run 1.8 miles...shut the truck off...start it again and go.

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  7. 1999 and older models are exempt(for the time being). Just keep the old ones running,
    and keep fudging the paper logs..
    That's my plan for the near future..

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    1. Government will kill your truck because it's outdated & not be in compliant with emissions

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    2. For fuck sake! "Fudging" is how we got here to begin with...

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  8. All just another way for the government to keep trucking an unskilled profession, that way Minimum Wage laws won't apply.

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  9. If you gross $10M and only have a profit margin of 5% or $500k you're doing it wrong.

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    Replies
    1. Your "anonymous" reply sounds like you've never had to pay the bills on a truck, or listened very closely when the cost conversation was happening. EG: def sensor fails & derates the truck before you can get shut down - my Pete cost $3000 US to fix. Insurance costs, through the roof, truck payments, easily in the $2800 to 3500 per month range. If you change the oil on 55 trucks every 3 months @ $200 each, $44000 per year. A 5% profit for a small company without the huge discounts the big carriers get for their volume buying is not doing it wrong, it's a miracle they make any profit.

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    2. Thats why it is just not worth owning a truck any more. A established company driver can make more at the end of the year and not have all the headaches.

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  10. I don't know what all the cring is about, it's easy and simple. It's nothing like you babies are crying about. A 14 hour clock is a 14 hour clock. Yes you move a mile it will go to driving status. When you use it get use to it you will never go back to paper logs, I'll never go back to paper logs. On the Qualcomm is a feature you put the DOT email address in and your logs gets sent to them. I've used it 2 years now and never had to send the logs. Yes they have looked at the 8 day to see if you haven't drove over your 11 and log your post trip, pretrip and fuel as a 30 min break. You good to go. No more paper work to fill out every time you stop. It's less head ache. And no it don't report how fast your going if your wreck less etc. You can change the settings depending on your company. Edit your time or what not to gain more time. Record a 1-5min pre and post trip. Paper 15 min is the lease you can record. Yea you can save time with E-logs and drive more miles. I do every day and love it.

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    Replies
    1. Good for you. Only real drivers have paper. Keep your eld. Doubt your makin money also so tell us all another fib

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    2. Can I ask ya'll a question how am I gonna keep hauling cattle long distance I won't run team don't trust anyone else to drive while I'm sleeping and no offense but half ya'll can't drive anyway I'm exempt from a few things like the 30 minute break certain roads but when I gotta run 22 hours straight with cattle on coming out of California going back east I ain't ever putting eld in my truck

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    3. I use an app called big road it has different settings for oil field & cattle and stuff like that... check it out I think that you will like it...your homie whiplash.

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  11. I made money. I have eld's in the truck. Its governed at 62mph and I'm on track to make 80,000 this year. ELD's keep you legal and the DOT never doubts your logs.

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  12. ELDs will cost small businesses and O/O thousands of dollars a year...ELDs get you to 100% compliant but not 100% safe ....You can always tell who has ELDs by the way they drive in bad weather construction zones and truck stop parking lots...Every study I have seen older drivers with out ELDs and speed limiters are far safer than drivers with ELDs and speed limiters....Soupport OOIDA

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  13. There are two products out there, Big Road Trucker and Keep Trucking, that are android compatible apps. They are both FREE, and can be run on any android device. The also have full service backend software online for both the driver and the company. In addition, they both offer devices that plug into your ECM port and connect to your android device via bluetooth creating a fully functional ELD. The cost to install is whatever you decide to pay for the android device, then you have to network service, $12 per month, per truck for the backoffice software, and $25 or $30 per month, per truck, for the ECM device. You can get into this for about $200 initial, then about $60-$65 per month per truck. That's not ideal, but it won't break the bank, and also lets you meet the requirements without breaking the bank. PeopleNet and Qualcom are NOT the only solutions out there. Spend $10 worth of time looking into it and save $1000's.

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  14. I see more entries about less expensive units operating on android etc.
    You must remember that after a fleet gets to a certain size they are already committed to some kind of Dispatch software and that means network integration which as of today is one of the major expenses for a startup of ELD use. And once you integrate systems you will add an IT person to stabilize and manage that combined system.

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  15. I checked into EOBR's when they first came out. The cost ranged from $1,200 to $3,600 per truck for just the unit. Then there was a monthly fee of $45. I can buy 3 years of paper logs for just one month's fee. There is no real reason for anyone who owns trucks to be forced to purchase an EOBR when paper works just fine. One of the initial selling points was safety. Since EOBR's have been installed accidents involving trucks have actually gone up. Another talking point made by some of the major carriers and the ATA was making a level playing field. That is also a lie. Forcing all carriers to spend thousands of dollars on equipment that they neither want or need is anti American and anti competitive. Smaller carriers and independents don't want or need electronic logs. We have gotten along for many decades using paper. Paper logs meet the letter of the hos laws. Rather than forcing all owners to install EOBR's, perhaps we should get rid of the hos all together. When there is a national emergency, such as flooding or a hurricane, those hauling supplies and equipment are exempt. I have yet to hear or see a major accident involving one of these carriers. If we can operate during a national emergency without incident, we should be able to work safely without having to comply with the hos during other times.

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  16. I haul milk and it's 24/7/365. Can't be shutdown 35-40 min away from home and can't pay a driver to sit and wait for that to happen. Have to get trailers empty so we can fill em back up the next day. Your load can't sit there waiting until you get your ten off unless you make it home because you'll short yourself a load every week and that adds up. Takes too long to unload at the plant and wash out to follow dept of health regs with the distance we have to go to deliver to the closest plant. We can do it but dairyman price milk based on freight and I guarantee if you don't want 10$/gal milk. This can't happen

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