Friday Five: Embark’s autonomous truck, detention time, and ELD adoption


Did you know?

Of the 3.5 million drivers on the road in 2017, 39.8% drove a Daimler-made vehicle (Freightliner or Western Star). Other major manufacturers on the road are Paccar at 28.4% (Peterbilt and Kenworth) and Volvo at 20.9% (Volvo and Mack).

Trucking Tip of the Week

The one constant within the trucking industry is that everything changes, from weather, regulation interpretation by a state trooper, and highway patrol to weigh stations and beyond. Truckers tend to be more aware of industry changes, but what seems like common sense can sometimes be easily overlooked. Paying attention to your surroundings when parked is just as important as paying attention to the car attempting to pass on the right. Knowing your surroundings can keep you safe and out of a potentially dangerous situation.

Technology in Trucking

A company called Embark tested their autonomous truck on a trip from Los Angeles, CA to Jacksonville, FL. The vehicle did the 2400 mile trip in five days and followed a test run from Los Angeles to El Paso, TX. Embark believes that the trip from Los Angeles to Jacksonville can be whittled down to as little as two days, yet they highlighted that they are not out to replace drivers entirely. Drivers will be needed in the vehicle at all times and must handle the off-freeway drive times. Notably, the route Embark’s autonomous truck took completely missed the bad weather areas of the country, and it’s uncertain how these trucks will handle poor weather.

Detention Issues

The FMCSA and DOT finally have numbers behind just how prevalent and detrimental detention time is to the trucking industry. In a study that began in 2015, the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General has determined that $1.1 – $1.3 billion in wages are lost by for-hire drivers every year due to detention time. The report also stated that a driver’s crash rate increases by over 6% for every 15 minutes over the initial two hour detention period. The 76 page document though stops shy of calling for a change but noted it wanted to improve the data collection process to better ensure accuracy.

ELDs

Truckstop.com conducted a research project in conjunction with Bloomberg and found that 28% of drivers on the road today have yet to adopt an ELD, meaning about 800,000 drivers have yet to implement their ELDs. What’s even more surprising is the fact that more ELD vendors keep popping up on the FMCSA ELD registry. When the mandate hit on December 18, 2017, there were 120 companies and 160 devices registered with the FMCSA. Today, that number is 167 companies and 312 different devices. If you are in the 28% that has yet to adopt, be diligent in your research on what product to purchase. No vendors have been removed from the registry at this point, but that will quickly change once the hard deadline of April 1 arrives. If you are still looking for an ELD, check out Truckstop.com’s ELD marketplace here.

Keep your shiny side up!

There was plenty of other information rolling through this week. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to let us know – email us at mailbag@truckstop.com.

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Regulatory Affairs Analyst Jeremy Feucht follows the latest political and legislative processes, along with their potential effects, on the trucking industry. He has worked in the U.S. Senate and has served as a member of Planning and Zoning, City Council, and Urban Renewal boards.