The trucking industry is undergoing a significant transformation. Soon, all truck drivers must switch from paper logbooks to electronic logging devices (ELDs).
ELDs are an essential tool for enforcing work-hour restrictions and improving highway safety. But they’re also a great way to improve fleet efficiency and performance.
Fatigue can impair both the physical and mental performance of truck drivers. It reduces their reaction time and increases the likelihood that they will make mistakes while driving. Reacting a fraction of a second slower or faster can mean the difference between a close call and a deadly crash. Many factors contribute to driver fatigue, including not getting enough sleep, working long shifts, and lifestyle choices.
The ELD mandate aimed to reduce accidents and improve safety, but new research suggests it’s had mixed results. Some trucking experts believe that the mandate has increased accident rates.
ELDs automatically transfer duty status logs to fleet managers, eliminating drivers’ need to manually record HOS information on paper or in a digital format. It allows delivery companies to keep tabs on the performance of their trucks and improve efficiency. Additionally, the system stores duty status records in case of a roadside inspection.
A well-maintained ELD system can protect data from hacking and other security breaches. A good provider will also offer support and assistance with any issues. A good provider will also ensure that all devices comply with the FMCSA’s ELD guidelines. They will self-certify them and keep a list of registered ELD devices on their website.
Delivery businesses that make safety a top priority use electronic logging devices for a variety of reasons. Not only do they strengthen fleet compliance with hours of service regulations, but they also help minimize fuel costs and vehicle maintenance.
In addition, ELDs provide rich reporting that helps identify improvement areas, such as idling time and extreme driving events. This information is then used to coach drivers and reduce risky behavior and inefficient processes.
ELDs are a powerful tool for truck drivers and fleet managers to ensure compliance with hours of service regulations. They can record vital information that will help to track and resolve suspicious activity, protect fleet drivers from false claims, and streamline HOS workflows.
However, not all ELDs are created equal. Some require additional in-cab hardware for drivers, while others can be expensive if you need more advanced features like real-time GPS tracking or engine fault reporting. Some also charge more for add-on software features, such as alerts or preventative maintenance schedules.
In addition, comparing data between paper logs and ELDs can be challenging. Researchers have not separated standard loading/unloading times from detention time (waiting around for loading or unloading, which disrupts the driver’s available driving and on-duty hours). It makes it difficult to evaluate whether or not the mandate has improved highway safety. However, the ELD mandate did succeed in increasing the accuracy and decreasing the falsification of HOS records.
ELDs reduce the paperwork a company must process and save drivers time because they no longer need to write paper logs. They also speed up roadside inspections by providing accurate HOS data.
Advanced ELDs also feature additional fleet management tools to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance safety. For example, less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers can use real-time GPS to share ETAs with brokers, earning more per load. They can also use it to monitor driver behavior and coach drivers on poor driving habits.
Many trucking companies fear that ELDs will be expensive to install and operate, but these concerns are unfounded. FMCSA-approved ELD solution is easy to set up and offers competitive pricing. Additionally, the all-in-one platform provides many add-on features that can improve efficiency and save your business money, including preventing theft, scheduling preventive maintenance, coaching drivers, and submitting electronic DVIRs.