Managing Time With ELD

How do you manage your time well when shippers and receivers don't seen to respect it?  It's tricky and the delima can sometimes be a source of stress in trucking.

Remember you have 14 hrs to be on duty and 11 hours to drive.  And before 8 hours expires you must take a 30 minute break.

With Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) it's important to consider many aspects of trucking life and plan ahead as much as possible. 

Here are some things tips to consider:

What is an ELD?

An ELD is an electronic logging device.  Many truckers use an app on the phone connected to the truck's computer.  Many other truckers use a dedicated device that resembles a GPS or some resemble an ipad.

Below you'll see some variations and their cost.  The Garmin eLog is what i used combined with the app.

ELD devices truckers use

  • Leave early but not too early (Don't start your clock for nothing)
  • Call shipper/receiver before leaving too early for appointments to inquire about parking and them unloading you early.
  • Ask if you can sleep overnight at shipper/receivers for early appointments
  • Ask if you can sleep at the dock for early morning appointments
  • Plan your breaks strategically so you take only 1 30 min. break
  • Get rest so that you are not sleepy when you need to drive
  • Weather
  • Traffic
  • Routing
  • If you'll need to stop for a shower
  • If you need to find a load, get up early before the masses get on the load board.  

You need to leave early enough to be early to your appointments.  My old philosophy was to leave as early as possible especially on long trips so that you will be more likely to make your appointments even if something unexpected happens.  If you want to relax do it near the destination.

With ELD or electronic logs you don't want to start the day too early just to wait all day for a later appointment and not be able to drive afterwards due to an expired 14hr clock..  So be aware and mindful of how you plan the entire trip.

One smart thing to do is to call the shipper/receiver to find out how early you can arrive.  If there is an appointment at 3 will you be able to get loaded/unloaded if you arrive at 9 or should you wait?

Be careful of the answer you get.  Sometimes they will try to be vague and say, "maybe" or "it's a possibility" and you can hear in their voice that it is a long shot.

Often these types of dispatchers just want the truck there sitting so they know that the truck will be there.  Brokers will sometimes lie to you about appointment time as well, giving you an earlier time than the actually appointment. 

If the truck is sitting there, then they don't have to wonder/worry about the truck making the appointment on time.

They often don't care about you wasting those hours sitting just waiting for the clock to run down.

If they sound iffy, it probably won't happen.  Might be better to wait and leave for the destination in time to arrive there about an hour early.  Not 5 hours early if you haven't started your clock.

This is a generalization.  But is applicable to most situations.  Just add your own brain power to the specific situation and apply this insight as needed.

Leaving Early on a Long Trip

A run that will take 2 or more days, you can still leave as early as possible.  It's the day of the actually appointment that I am mostly saying be careful not to leave to early.

That said, if you have a lot of time to get to where you're going and you want to stop to chill somewhere, don't forget to be mindful of your 70 hr clock.  If you stop and goof off and end up driving on 4 days, when you could have driven for 3 days and did a reset on the 4th day, then you just shorted yourself miles for the following week.

So, if its, money/miles you're after, don't let partying or even site seeing ruin that.  Meet your money goals, then you can drive more leisurely.  For a coast to coast trip, get close to destination then chill.  Unless you make a thoughtful decision to do otherwise.

What about sleeping at the shipper or receiver with ELD?

You don't know if there will be room to park so don't just drive over.  Call the shipper/receiver first to make sure you have somewhere to park.

Even better, ask them if there is a dock that you can back into so that you don't have to move the truck in the morning until you're loaded or unloaded.  This is awesome.  Sometimes, it works out and sometimes, it doesn't.

But it means your clock won't start until you're almost ready to leave!  As opposed to getting up early and driving over to the appointment.  This means your clock starts and is running while being loaded/unloaded.

Breaks and Lunches

Strategically plan your stops.  This includes your 30 minute required break.  If you have other things that you need to do like fuel or take a shower.  Let the stop for your 30 mins break be part of the time spent taking the shower.

Or for fueling, you could fuel, then instead of parking in front of the isle and going inside, you could go straight to a parking spot.  Log off duty and get your receipt while you're on break on the way to the bathroom or picking up your lunch.

Time Management Video

This video was made before ELD but it addresses some parts of time management that is still relevant regardless of Electronic logs.  It also talks about not running legal and avoiding driver fatigue

Get proper rest

New driver tips


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