It is a new year: Happy 2018!
December 18th, 2017 finally came and went. The rough road leading up to the day of the ELD mandate is at an end. However, believe it or not, the situation may get more bumpy from here, not less. The rough road of ELD’s could intensify, due to ELD aftermath.
In the next few weeks and months that follow, the ELD rule will solidify and become mandatory, and truckers without compliant electronic logging devices could be cited and fined. And yet tens of thousands of non-exempt, owner-operators and fleets have stated repeatedly that they had not yet installed a compliant system, as reported by various online polls. On the enforcement side, interviews with officials indicate the preparedness of inspectors could vary greatly from state to state and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The biggest “X Factors” are 1) how smoothly inspectors can download logging data from dozens of different systems and 2) just how lenient most will or won’t be, in the next few months after the mandate, when it comes to writing citations and fines for not having an operable ELD.
“There is a lot of panic buying” going on, says Josh DeCock, product management director for Pedigree Technologies. “We have partners who say their customers are going to wait to see how seriously the FMCSA is about enforcing it (the mandate) and if there are big fines. If there are not big fines they may wait until April or May.”
Captain Brandon Douglas of Tennessee’s state police suggests that in his state, citations will most likely not be issued before April 1, the date in which officials begin enforcement of the “out of service criteria.” While he speaks only for the state of Tennessee, speaking more generally, Douglas feels “…you shouldn’t write a ticket for it” if it’s not being counted in a carrier’s CSA Safety Measurement System scoring profiles or being enforced as an out of service violation, both of which have been announced as official policies of, respectively, FMCSA and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance of enforcement and industry.
Hearing this, some may say “why don’t we just wait until April 1st to be compliant?” Well, some drivers and/or fleets may require a few weeks to adjust. After all, if you have never used an electronic logging device, it will take some time to get familiar with the system. This is why it is highly recommended that drivers should start using ELDs immediately. In fact, LaTonya Mimms of the FMCSA has consistently recommended that drivers use ELDs before the compliance deadline to help drivers and carriers get familiar with how the device operates. Otherwise, waiting until the last minute may hinder a driver’s ability to work.
However, electronic logging devices are unlikely to cause any problems for most fleets. The reason being: the ELD mandate hasn’t changed the hours-of-service rules. So, if a truck driver has been following HOS regulations throughout his or her career, there would be no surprises. In fact, an electronic logging device will make him or her more productive and efficient. The ELDs simplify hours-of-service tracking for everyone. More importantly, electronic logging devices free drivers from the drudgery of paperwork, including manually recording hours of service and filling paper logs.
The FMCSA estimates that a driver, on average, spends nearly 20 hours per year manually filling paper logs. Electronic logging devices eliminate that waste of time, effectively helping drivers utilize their time more efficiently. Additionally, the elimination of paperwork will save a lot of money. According to an FMCSA estimate, the ELD mandate will save the trucking industry one billion dollars per year by reducing the use of paperwork!
Furthermore, drivers can expect quicker roadside inspections and fewer violations. Because everything is recorded automatically and presented in an electronic format, safety inspectors have a much easier time understanding and inspecting the logs. It is also expected that the use of electronic logging devices will drastically reduce the different types of violations.
Moreover, electronic logging devices are significantly more accurate than paper logs, which would drastically reduce the number of hours-of-service violations that truckers usually get. ELDs are connected to the engines of the vehicles and automatically notify drivers of upcoming HOS violations. This automated process frees drivers from constantly worrying about hours of service. Ultimately, it allows them to focus on driving safely.
Lastly, ELDs are now much more capable than just recording duty statuses. For example, Konexial’s My20 ELD is packed with powerful features, such as real-time dynamic load matching with GoLoad, fuel information, GPS tracking and My20 rewards, to name a few. To see all of My20’s features, visit the My20 ELD product page.