According to American Trucking Associations, the ELD mandate will affect over 3 million truck drivers all over the United States. This is a call to all carriers to be prepared for this massive change in the industry. Many companies have already registered ELDs with the FMCSA. As the compliance date nears, it is expected for that number to increase.
Many changes have happened in the trucking industry over the past few years. For example, in 2011, the Food Safety Modernization Act (commonly known as the FSMA) implemented strict rules and requirements for shippers, logistics professionals, and carriers to prevent and reduce food-borne diseases. Of course, the trucking industry has complied with any changes that have been implemented. The biggest change that has happened was in December 2015 when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) passed the final Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate rule.
Many trucking industry and independent drivers have been opposing the rule by calling it a financial burden that will force many participants out of the industry. However, despite the opposition, the compliance date is drawing closer daily where every carrier and driver must have installed an ELD by 18th December 2017.
Short-term effects caused by the ELD installation are quite possible. So, planning carefully in the next two months can help your fleet adjust to these new requirements. What are some implications of the new ELD mandates?
There will be a great transformation because of the ELD mandate. Unfortunately, it is not exactly clear how much effect it will have. There are three areas that will more than likely be affected, which are as follows:
According to FMCSA, ELDs will save approximately $1.6 billion per year as a result of less paperwork. Additionally, savings will also be found due to reduced fuel costs, decreased truck downtime and reduced crash rates. As you notice, the cost will go down but what about the cost of the implementation of the ELDs? Most of the devices will have a cost of $495 per truck, which looks like a very expensive initial cost, but once you factor in the savings they bring this can be recouped quite quickly.
The FMCSA has previously estimated that the ELD mandate will save around $2.44 billion, which is a result of the amount of time drivers will save since they will not be dealing with paper logs. However, other sources do not agree with that estimate; they estimate that the trucking industry will lose 3-5% of its total production, while smaller carriers will incur 6-10% loss in their overall productivity
Safety is a huge factor that is forcing the implementation of the ELD mandate. Drivers will have less fatigue while driving and give more accurate logs in their Hours of Service (HOS) with this mandate. An analysis done by the FMCSA shows that the device will prevent about 20 fatal accidents and 434 injuries annually due to the fact that drivers will be less fatigued while driving (you can read more about this analysis here). But what exactly is the purpose of this electronic logging?
The purpose of these logging devices is to strengthen compliance of truck drivers to adhere to their hours of service requirements. This, in turn, will reduce driver fatigue, which leads to accidents or unsafe roads. Additionally, the device will monitor the location of the truck and the driver, miles they have traveled and every movement the vehicle makes. This new technology will be very information in the trucking industry.
The ELD is a device that will be synchronized with the vehicle’s engine and will record the driving time automatically. This will simplify the amount of work that drivers have to do because they will no longer need to use the paper logs to keep track of working hours. In layman’s terms, the ELD mandate will transform how truck drivers work and the carrier’s enforcement of protocol. As with anything, there are some that believe the mandate will have an adverse effect on the trucking industry.
Here are a few facts for the ELD mandate that should not be overlooked:
• Crucial Dates –December 18th, 2017 is the compliance date for the ELD mandate. After that, you are subject to hefty fines and possible court fees. For those companies using Automatic Onboard Recording Devices (AORDs), their compliance date is December 16th, 2019. Check out a timeline of dates here.
• Rule exemptions – commercial trucks older than the model year 2000 are exempt from ELDs. Additionally, local carriers that travel 100 miles or less and those who transport new and used trucks from factory to the dealer are also exempt.
• The technology needed – an ELD must transfer information through wireless email, web services, Bluetooth or USB. During a road inspection, a printout will be required.
• Paperwork – trip records, expense receipts, dispatch records, and settlement sheets are just a few items that you will need a physical copy of. The ELD mandate also requires for you to have one supporting document for a one-day trip.
• It is forbidden for carriers to violate their HOS.
It is recommended not to wait to comply with the ELD mandate. It is possible for an appeal to be made to the court concerning this mandate, but the possibility of that being successful is slim. If you are a carrier or an independent driver, it is a good idea to start preparing now. Communicate with your potential customers on how your fleet will be complying with these new regulations. If your fleet adapts to the ELD mandate successfully, you will have no worries about fines that are given to those not complying. The FMSCA website has a good Frequently Asked Questions section that is a great place to get more familiar with ELDs. Also, check out our blog on the 8 Common ELD Mandate Myths!