When Michael Demers, director of compliance for Coastal Pacific Xpress (CPX), Canada, reminisces about the days before PeopleNet eDriver Logs, he remembers drivers looking tired and grumpy after returning to the terminal.
“The last thing they wanted to do was reconstruct their trip to complete their paper logs. They were more tired than they should have been because it’s pretty likely they were on duty more than they were supposed to be,” he adds.
Fast forward five years to a group of smiling drivers—fresh from the road and grateful for eDriver Logs.
“The new hours-of-service (HOS) tracking method clearly had a positive effect on the amount of sleep they were getting and their quality of life on the road and home,” Demers adds. “To a driver, they returned from their trips rested and ready to enjoy their off-road life.”
“You can’t quantify the benefits of transforming drivers’ lives, but I believe that it speaks volumes to our effort to provide a respectful, engaging and safe work environment,” he adds. “Technology has made life easier for our drivers in a variety of ways, and we view it as an important part of our investment in recruiting, training and retention of our professional drivers.”
It was a time of change and more change—new regulations and new technologies. But, CPX turned eDriver Logs from a liability to a must-have perk that has actually helped driver retention.
Demers says it took about 6-8 months before CPX drivers admitted they’d never go back to paper. They realized that as a result of how valuable their time had become, they had become more valuable. In fact, CPX’s forward-thinking management dealt with drivers’ primary concern about how electronic logs would affect their pay.
“We implemented a pay increase based on how many miles could be driven in a typical on-duty driving period to put their minds to rest about limiting their HOS,” Demers says. “This certainly sweetened what they might have considered a bitter pill, and solidified our reputation for industry leading compensation packages, which is a huge advantage in recruiting.”
Discussing the cost increase for the company, Demers weighs the bottom line impact with the savings CPX has experienced due to a reduction in accidents, rollovers and collisions.
“Plus, compliance, safety and accountability has prompted smart customers to inquire about their carriers’ safety record,” Demers adds. “eDriver Logs is our ace in the hole, and our record speaks for itself.”
eDriver Logs boasts repercussions beyond drivers, according to Demers.
“At first, when a driver refused to take a load due to lack of on-duty time, dispatchers were skeptical and would verify the claim. They just weren’t used to being turned down. Monitoring HOS also helped us identify detention due to customer practices, so we could adjust billing for those customers. Our real objective was to reduce detention, so we could maintain our reputation for on-time and just-in-time deliveries, particularly to the Western side of the country.”
“The real test of a successful technology is that users can’t do their job when it doesn’t work,” says CPX’s IT manager Clint Hall. “Our drivers and admin staff have come to rely on PeopleNet and don’t want to look back.”
CPX installed 310 PeopleNet units in vehicles and 700 trailers. PeopleNet is based in Minnetonka, Minn.