Today's Trucking


Posted: December 5, 2016

UPLAND CA-Nobody knows exactly when electronic logging devices will be mandatory, but most trucking industry insiders agree that that the day is coming.  At the moment, Canadian regulators are scrambling to get some legislation in place in time to coincide with the American deadline of December 2017. (For more, click here.)  And that’s not a sure bet either, given that a federal court in Chicago heard arguments in September put forth by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s (OOIDA) lawsuit challenging a rule that would require most truck drivers to start using electronic logging devices next year. So don’t expect a resolution to the ELD saga anytime soon.  

Meantime, the California-based Dispatch Solutions Inc. (DSI) issued a white-paper designed to get you in ELD mode.  “You need to learn details about the technology and the rule so you can create a plan for your company,” the company states in the white paper. And with that, DSI has issued the following 6 ELD FAQS

1) How do I know if the mandate applies to my fleet and, if so, what is the deadline to comply?

Answer: The mandate covers almost all drivers and fleets required to maintain records of duty status. Drivers of pre-2000-model-year trucks are among the few exemptions. The rule requires you to transition to ELDs by Dec. 18, 2017, if you are switching from paper logs or logging software. If you currently use or begin using CFR 395.15-compliant automatic onboard recording devices before to Dec. 18, 2017, you can wait until Dec. 16, 2019, to start using ELDs.

2) How do I determine if an ELD device meets the federal-mandate requirements? Answer: ELD manufacturers must ensure their products conform to certain technical specifications (such as connecting to the vehicle engine to automatically record driving time), certify their ELDs and register them with FMCSA.

3) Do you know the real costs of adding ELDs to your fleet? Answer: According to an FMCSA estimate, you can expect an annualized compliance cost per truck of between $165 and $832. The device and installation costs are only part of the equation. You have to factor in expenses related to training and operational changes. However, if you compute the FMCSA projected paper-work cost savings of $705 per driver each year, ELDs could pay off. You also might qualify for cheaper insurance plans since trucks equipped with ELDs have an 11.7-percent-lower crash rate than those without them.

4) What ELD options are available? Answer: While the ELD mandate requires devices to gather a limited amount of data, some ELDs collect much more. They can record information such as vehicle-performance parameters, speed, hard braking and rapid acceleration. Some ELD solutions give office personnel real-time visibility of vehicle location and driver duty status. With this data, you can manage your equipment more efficiently.

5) Do you have a plan for employee training? Answer: It’s important to be transparent throughout the process of implementing new technology, especially since drivers are already leery of more company and government control. Driver acceptance is one of the biggest obstacles to a successful roll out. Make sure you communicate the safety, operational and convenience aspects as you train employees across your organization – office personnel as well as drivers. And be sure to create an ELD policy for owner-operators, if you use them.

6) Even if the federal rule doesn’t stand, should I go ahead and implement ELDs for my fleet? Answer: Steve Wilhelms, vice president of business development at Vigillo LLC, a commercial transportation technology firm, says 15 to 20 percent of brokerage firms require ELDs – or the shipper the broker is handling freight for requires them. He predicts that number could multiply rapidly, and the pressure to comply will only become stronger. Plus, consider that states could adopt the federal regulation or something similar to it. Pay attention to any ELD-related actions by states in which you operate.

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