In 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued the electronic logging device (ELD) rule — also known as the ELD mandate. It stipulates that by December 2017, those with a commercial driver’s license will be required to keep a Record of Duty Status (RODS) using an ELD to record the information, replacing paper logs. Here’s what the mandate will entail, according to the FMCSA:
- Requires ELD use by commercial drivers who are required to prepare hours-of-service (HOS) records of duty status (RODS).
- Sets ELD performance and design standards, and requires ELDs to be certified and registered with FMCSA.
- Establishes what supporting documents drivers and carriers are required to keep.
- Prohibits harassment of drivers based on ELD data or connected technology (such as fleet management system). The rule also provides recourse for drivers who believe they have been harassed.
One of the most common objections from some in the fleet industry is cost. Obviously, technological upgrades aren’t cheap, but in this case, they can be limited. To address ELD cost concerns, the FMCSA is allowing tablets, rugged handhelds, and smartphones to be used for data capture and transmittal as long as the system, as a whole, meets ELD requirements, which includes a hardwired connection to the truck’s engine.
If we’re taking a longer view, the upfront investment is only a temporary pain point when compared to the many long-term benefits ELDs can offer fleet management companies:
- Time spent recording paper logs are no longer necessary.
- Dispatchers are more up-to-date on drivers’ status, allowing for more accurate load planning.
- Accurate information on vehicle’s use allows for proactive maintenance to increase efficiency and safety.
- Precise data allows for easier compliance.
The American Trucking Association estimates that there are 3.5 million truckers on the road, and it’s important not to minimize the significant adjustment the ELD mandate will represent. As with any change, there are bumps in the road. However, by working with the right partner to help implement ELD technology, the transition can be easier and less expensive and can ensure that your fleet is compliant from the first haul.