With the new electronic logging device (ELD) mandate kicking in earlier this year, many in the transportation industry are wondering whether it will have a positive or negative effect on the industry and its workers. Even though it’s still too early to know one way or the other, it’s never a bad idea to measure implications of a situation with a comprehensive list of pros and cons of the ELD mandate.
Pros of the ELD Mandate
Consider the following advantages of the ELD mandate:
- Accuracy. The electric logging devices are synced with GPS systems, giving them the ability to track how fast drivers are moving, how long they are behind the wheel, and when they are stopped and waiting. This capability will ensure that the ELDs are extremely accurate. Dispatchers and fleet owners will trust the data they receive, and truckers won’t have the option to change their logs and drive over their maximum hours.
- Easier-to-track hours of service. An ELD keeps a driver from needing to track his or her hours, distracting them from focusing on loading or unloading duties. Once the system is more established in the trucking industry, it will also make it unnecessary for drivers to fill out paperwork and wait for approval before dropping off or picking up a load and hitting the road.
- Fast, accurate paychecks. Because the hours will be tracked electronically, drivers will not need to worry about getting inaccurate paychecks. The paychecks will also be faster, because the hours are sent automatically. Additionally, the system’s accuracy will eliminate the need for disputes over hours between drivers and management.
- Comfort for families. GPS tracking is not only helpful for the dispatchers. The families of truck drivers will have the ability to log on and see where a certain driver is, assuring them that their loved one is safe and accounted for out on the road. They can be comforted by the knowledge that their loved one is working safely, and everything is going as planned, instead of having very little awareness about their whereabouts when they are on the job.
Cons of the ELD Mandate
On the other hand, the ELD mandate does have some disadvantages:
- Cost. One of the major disadvantages of ELDs is the cost. Paper logs are less expensive. ELDs require large amounts of money to install, especially if you own a large fleet. Though many large fleets can negotiate a lower price for the installation, it is still more expensive than the cost of paper logs.
- Learning curve. As with any electronic replacement, there will be a learning curve with the new ELDs. Professional drivers, fleet managers, dispatchers, and enforcement personnel will all require training to understand how to use the new technology. Along with understanding how to use it, drivers will need to learn how to troubleshoot and fix it if something goes wrong on the road.
- Loss of privacy. The GPS technology that ELDs use could seem invasive to truck drivers. Almost everything they do will be tracked by enforcement officers and fleet operators.