Electronic Logging Escalates Demand for Truck Drivers—ATS Calls for Training with Simulation
Despite some early hiccups, Advanced Training Systems sees the congressionally mandated use of electronic time and mileage recording as a long-term boon to U.S. motor freight carriers and drivers—but will increase the shortage of drivers and escalate the demand for better training.
(St. Petersburg, FL) June 18, 2018—The so-called ELD rule, which requires truck drivers to verify their daily record of hours worked and miles driven via an electronic logging device, went into effect in December of 2017.1 “There were a lot of dire predictions being made in the industry about ELD,” says John Kearney, CEO and president of Advanced Training Systems. “Some predictions included drivers being penalized for stopping to do maintenance or sit out a spell of bad weather; that there would be a mass exodus of older drivers hurrying into early retirement; and that both trucking companies and drivers would suffer financially. Essentially, the sky was going to fall.”2
Kearney, whose company is a leading designer and manufacturer of Simulators and Training using Virtual Reality for driver training (among other applications), adds that six months into the mandate, these predictions have shown no sign of coming true although there was a short extension in place. The net result of all the ELD changes is a growing demand for more and better-trained drivers, along with a market realization that incentive in the form of higher pay is essential to meeting that demand.
According to the American Trucking Association, the U.S. had a shortage of 51,000 truck drivers at the end of 2017, an increase of 40% over 2016. The association predicts that the shortage will be even greater for 2018, despite the fact that many companies are giving their drivers double-digit raises.3 Looking ahead, the U.S. is expected to need almost 900,000 more drivers over the next decade to keep up with growth and demand.4
“EDS is shaking up the industry,” he says, “but in a good way. The end result will be safer, better-paid drivers, but it has escalated the demand for even more of them.”
A recent survey by DAT Solutions, which tracks freight and rate trends, has identified five ways in which ELD is changing the trucking industry:
- Truckers are staying in the game. While drivers do leave the industry for various reasons the ELD requirement is not one of them. Despite this, trucker employment is growing, adding about 19,000 jobs over the past year.
- Productivity, as predicted, is down. DAT reports that 67.3% of truckers responding to its survey said they are driving fewer miles since the ELD rule went into effect. Nearly 71% reported earning less money during that same period, because they must stop driving after 11 hours.
- However, freight demand and rates are up. As truckers reduce miles traveled per day, there are more loads chasing available trucks. Rates have gone up as much as 40% over the past few months.
- Insurance companies are factoring compliance with ELD into their rate calculations.
- The combination of rising rates and increased competition for service is forcing shippers and receivers to become more time-efficient.5
“Because of the ELD requirement,” says Kearney, “these drivers will drive fewer miles and fewer hours than they would have a year or so ago. They will also be safer, better rested, and better paid, and—if current trends continue as they are—the industry will be more profitable. The issue now will be providing fast, effective training that simulates real situations for drivers in order to meet the increased demand for [truck] drivers.”
A key element both in attracting candidates and producing safe, road-ready drivers, notes Kearney, is the growing use of simulator training using VR as an adjunct to traditional behind-the-wheel (BTW) instruction. Just as in military and airline pilot training, the use of a simulator can teach the proper response to events too rare or too dangerous to be included in BTW instruction—for example, a steering tire blowout or an unexpected patch of black ice.
A recent study has found that driving simulators can also be very effective in training truck drivers for tasks such as backing and safety training. Simulator training also offers benefits from a cost-effectiveness perspective; one major trucking and logistics company reports a savings of $40/hr. in fuel costs alone.6
Advanced Training Systems has developed advanced simulation technology and training that can help train new operators—safely—to deal with any on-the-road situations they may encounter. That, coupled with the training and preparation offered by the nation’s best-equipped commercial driving schools, will help turn out the thousands of new safe, professional drivers currently needed by a booming and vibrant motor freight industry.
About Advanced Training Systems:
Advanced Training Systems (ATS) is a high-tech simulator technology and engineering firm that has revolutionized the design and manufacture of advanced training systems to improve training and create safer drivers. ATS, the holder of multiple patents in high-tech training using simulation, has as its mission to provide this cutting-edge adaptive training to all involved in the transportation industry at an affordable cost, resulting in safer drivers/ operators. For more information, visit www.atstrainingsystems.com.
- U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, ELD Implementation, March 28, 2018.
- “Predicting The Trucker’s Life With The ELD Mandate,” Careers in Gear, May 29, 2017.
- Goodell, Emily, et al., “Lack of truckers is making prices rise,” Yakima Herald-Republic and The Washington Post, June 1, 2018.
- Urbi, Jaden, “The US needs 50,000 truck drivers to avoid a shipping squeeze,” CNBC, May 28, 2018.
- Hawes, Clarissa, “Five Ways the Electronic Logging Device Is Changing Trucking,” Trucks, March 26, 2018.
- Kilcarr, Sean, “Navigating the virtual road,” FleetOwner, October 1, 2012.
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