ELD Implementation & the 21st Century Trucking Industry

After years of anticipation and debate, the U.S. Federal Mandate requiring Electronic Logging Devices in the Commercial Trucking Industry is nearly here.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) final ELD rule is set to go into effect this December 18, 2017, marking an important step forward for the trucking industry.

This transition from the outdated 20th century paper-and-pen system of logging driving hours to modern-day, 21st century technology is, quite frankly, long overdue.

A 2014 study commissioned by FMCSA found that ELD-equipped carriers saw hours-of-service (HOS) violations cut in half and an 11.7% reduction in crash rates. Because ELDs are more accurate (and more difficult to falsify) than paper logbooks, carriers will be more apt to comply with HOS rules, while drivers will be better rested. Fewer fatigued drivers mean fewer crashes on our roads. Fewer crashes mean fewer fatalities. Period.

Surprisingly though, many trucking companies still have yet to comply with the regulation.

Telematics industry analyst Clem Driscoll, the founder of research and consulting firm C.J. Driscoll & Associates, said he believes most large fleets will be ELD-compliant by the implementation deadline, but that might not be the case for some smaller trucking companies.  

“I think some will still be scrambling at the end of December and may not make it,” Driscoll said.

“I drag my feet on everything DOT (the Department of Transportation) hands down,” said one fleet operator with fewer than 10 trucks. “We’re small, and we slip through the cracks.”

While a few vocal opponents in the industry have spread misinformation about ELDs to avoid HOS compliance, this simple fact is indisputable: No driver or carrier who honestly logs their time will need to change anything come Dec. 18, other than the manner in which they record their hours. Drivers are simply moving from an out-of-date, inaccurate, time-consuming, manual paper logbook process to a more current, precise, automatic ELD system.

Some drivers are still vocal about their hope that the ELD mandate will be overturned. Though this scenario appears highly unlikely, these unhappy drivers haven’t bought an ELD or even taken any steps to research the options that are available.  

The future success of any industry depends in large part on the ability to adapt to and embrace technological change. For trucking, ELDs are a small but significant piece of that change. The new ELD platform can yield enormous benefits well beyond the realm of safety. Data empowers us to make better-informed decisions, helping fleets, and shippers to optimize operations and realize cost-saving & time-saving efficiency.

As the implementation date draws near, it is imperative that fleets and drivers prepare for compliance. There is no shortage of ELD vendors to help drivers reach compliance. Also, overall, the price of these devices has already dropped significantly. In fact, several vendors are now offering solutions with no up-front hardware costs.

Tom Poduch, director of logistics design at Transervice, encouraged first-time adopters of e-logs to consider opportunities to improve their operations, rather than focusing solely on basic ELD compliance.

“Don’t be afraid of the technology,” he said.

Others see the ELD rule as an important milestone in the history of the trucking industry.

“ELDs will change the way drivers interact with fleets’ back offices and with law enforcement, said Scott Sutarik, associate vice president of commercial vehicle solutions at technology supplier Geotab.

“I think it will fundamentally transform the industry,” he said, comparing the ELD mandate to deregulation in 1980.

The time has come for our industry to move forward with ELDs. Together we will usher in the beginning of a 21st Century trucking industry – one that is safe, efficient and fair for all.

Ready to take that step into the future?  We can help!  The My20 ELD and app contain everything independent owner-operators and fleet managers need to meet FMCSA electronic logging device compliance and more. My20 combines simple, powerful, and productive features to create an all-in-one tool that not only streamlines every facet of your drive but has the ability to increase a driver’s earning potential.

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