Chaos ensued this past year when the trucking industry implemented mandatory electronic logging devices (ELDs). However, few consumers understand the true impact that this mandate is having on everyday prices.
While some companies have been using ELDs for years, most had not, and were then forced to transfer to the new technology, used for tracking drivers’ hours on the road, after the MAP-21 act was passed in 2012.
While this law doesn’t sound too vicious at first, it is the underlying hours of service (HOS) law that bothers truckers so much. Under HOS, no trucker may drive more than 11 hours within a 14-hour period. After completing their 11 hours, they must take 10 hours of consecutive off-duty time. This law was set to ensure that drivers were not overworked, and thus would be better prepared to drive each day, hopefully reducing the number of fatal crashes each year.
Previously, truckers had been responsible to track their own hours with pencil and paper. Hours were easy to fudge, and drivers could easily drive more than their daily allotment each day. Now, a driver may not leave their terminal without turning on their ELD to initiate their 14-hour driving period. As a result, many truckers complain that they are making less money.
According to Andrew Lynch, co-founder and president of Zipline Logistics, MAP-21 “has drastically limited the flexibility drivers can build into their activity and tightened the constraints that diminish their operating efficiency.”
This along with the driver shortage has proven troublesome for retailers. Shippers have raised their rates higher than ever to compensate for increased wages in order to compete for more drivers. As a result, prices have risen for everyday products, ranging in anything from groceries to toys to luxury items.
Industry titan General Mills have already raised their prices to neutralize the blow of ever increasing wages. Other giants, such as Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo, are expected to raise theirs shortly as well.