Whenever there’s a new government mandate addressing a new technology, there are a lot of rumors and questions circulating that might make you wonder what is true.
This is exactly what’s going on with the FMCSA’s ELD Mandate and electronic logging devices (ELD).
What is the Electronic Logging Device Rule?
The electronic logging device rule is a congressional mandate that’s part of the MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century) Act. It aims to create a safe work environment for truck drivers and provide a better way to track, share, and manage duty status records.
The ELD Rule Timeline
The ELD rule was passed on February 16, 2016, with the compliance date for the ELDs starting on December 18, 2017. However, vehicles that were equipped with AOBRDs were instructed to either upgrade or replace them to satisfy the ELD rule by December 16, 2019.
The rule was enforced in 3 phases:
- Phase 1: Awareness and Transition (February 16, 2016 to December 18, 2017)
- Phase 2: Phased-In Compliance (December 18, 2017 to December 16, 2019)
- Phase 3: Full compliance (Began December 16, 2019)
Despite the phased transition, the rule created a lot of fears and worries due to certain misconceptions.
So, let’s tackle some myths associated with ELDs today and separate the truth from fiction.
Myth 1: Electronic Logging Devices Will Ruin Business for Fleet Owners and Drivers
Amongst the most commonly shared remarks with the FMCSA when they came out with the ELD rule was the worry that ELDs could ruin business for fleet owners and drivers.
Those concerns originated from:
- The expected prohibitive cost of ELDs
- Losing commute hours
- Tight service hours for regulation compliance
But was there a cause for panic?
After many of the fleet owners and owner-operators began using electronic logging devices, they never looked back at their paper log-books again. Data even shows that 21% of fleets experience better utilization of drivers and equipment because of ELDs. In addition, 34% of respondents in one survey stated that since the ELD mandate they’ve increased their fleet size by adding new drivers and equipment.
Many drivers have discovered that using ELD helps them have more time for the road because e-logs reduce paperwork and can record changes in duty status right up to the closest minute.
With paper logbooks, drivers have to estimate to the closest 15 minutes, which results in them posting fewer miles.
Myth 2: ELDs Are Costly
When ELDs came on the scene years ago, an FMCSA study revealed that fleets had to pay up to $41.25 for just one truck per month. Even with such costs, fleets were up for investing in such solutions that cut down on paperwork, utilize driver time more efficiently, and help maintain contact with drivers.
Due to the global technology revolution, electronic logging device costs have dropped tremendously, partly due to innovations like tablet and smartphone sync features that reduce up-front costs.
An overall reduction of technology hardware prices is also responsible for reduced ELD prices.
Since the introduction of the ELD mandate, today, the monthly cost of electronic logging devices can be as low as $15 for one truck, with a total annual cost of $180 per truck.
If you consider the total operational costs involved in running a fleet, an ELD investment doesn’t even compare to operating costs like vehicle equipment, fuel, permitting costs, and liability insurance.
Myth 3: Drivers Need to Interact with ELDs Too Much
Those who advocate against the ELD rule may think truck operators need to interact with them while driving.
This isn’t true. Drivers do not have to interact with the device while on duty. Yes, the driver must select a status when they are sleeping or off duty, but no system should or can identify this automatically.
An ELD can identify the ‘On-Duty Not Driving’ and ‘Driving’ states, however, and automatically updates the status of the driver accordingly.
Though the driver doesn’t have to interact with the ELD when the truck is in motion, there’s a countdown timer that communicates via alerts. This is to ensure that drivers don’t get surprised that they’re lagging on hours or going over their hours.
Myth 4: ELDs Automatically Report Hour of Service (HOS) Rule Violations
Drivers or fleet operators may also worry that violations will be sent to law enforcement without their knowledge, and that their vehicles are essentially being spied on by authorities.
While a law enforcement agent can easily see when there are HOS violations if needed, nothing will be transmitted to them unless it needs to be (e.g., for an FMCSA compliance audit, roadside inspection, or traffic violation).
ELDs are meant to replace paper logbooks. They do not automatically transmit data to law enforcement or inspectors.
Plus, ELDs make roadside inspections much quicker. Vehicle operators can get back on the move faster, as inspection officials can see areas of concern and verify HOS regulation compliance easily.
Myth 5: ELDs Will Turn Off Your Truck
The worry that ELDs would automatically and immediately shut down vehicles if drivers are past their hours of service (HOS) limits is another unfounded myth.
The decision of when and where a truck should be stopped safely is left to the driver. Electronic Logging Devices are designed to simply capture engine data, not control your vehicles.
Innovations and new processes always come with fears. With the right knowledge, however, you can eliminate misconceptions that lead to such concerns.
ELDs were designed to make the logging process effortless for drivers, and they do just that. With ELD solutions like BigRoad, you can make your logging process a lot easier by managing and tracking your drivers’ Hours of Service, tracking your fleet location, and managing maintenance schedules, all from one platform.
On top of the ELD solution, BigRoad also offers a freight-matching app, called BigRoad Freight, where you can Search and Request Loads accounting for your Hours of Service. And best of all – it comes free with the ELD solution that you get from BigRoad.
If you want to improve your long-haul logistics business, learn more by requesting our demo.