Every trucker is familiar with electronic logging devices (ELDs). The final ELD mandate was delivered in 2015 and affects 3 million drivers, but 84% of drivers still don’t have them. The federal mandate is pushing for a switch to these new systems by December 18, 2017 to monitor drivers and help increase safety. But just how effective are ELDs, and do they truly help truckers?
ELDs are components that automatically log hours of service (HOS). Modern ELDs connect directly to the engine of the truck and gather detailed information about the speed and hours of operation for the vehicle. According to the mandate, each ELD must:
- Be connected to the engine and record during times when the vehicle is in motion.
- Allow the driver to select off- and on-duty times.
- Display HOS for the day in a graph so the driver can easily track time on duty.
- Gather standardized data for law enforcement and transmit the findings easily by USB, Bluetooth, or another device.
How ELDs Save Time and Money
Though the change might not be easy, there are many benefits to those in the industry. Each driver with an ELD will save an estimated $705 each year in paperwork alone, thanks to the elimination of record of duty status (RODS) and other log books. Reduced paperwork also means more load time for higher efficiency.
Another benefit is that ELDs also eliminate payroll mistakes. Since hours are automatically recorded and reported, employees are unable to drain the clock or make mistakes and miss hours. This can result in substantial savings for companies with large fleets.
The biggest advantages of ELDs, however, come to play in fleet management. When companies become more efficient, the drivers and owners benefit. Drivers have the potential to earn more money while still cutting costs for the company. ELDs can help fine-tune fleet management by:
- Lowering fuel costs. ELDs monitor excessive speeding or idle times, which helps companies pinpoint problems and develop incentive programs for efficiency.
- Less truck downtime, better utilization. Studies show companies with monitoring systems see less downtime and greater utilization by 15% and 13%, respectively.
- Lowered accident rates. Studies from the Center for Truck and Bus Safety of Virginia Tech Transportation Institute showed that ELD drivers had 11.7% fewer total crashed and 5.1% fewer preventable crashes.
What the Future Holds
As technological changes transform industries across the board, expect to see further advancements for trucking companies, their drivers, and independent contractors. Technological advancements are working to make the trucking industry more safe and efficient. Seeing Machines are one amazing example. The company has developed software that actively scans a driver’s face and eyes to look for signs of drowsiness and triggers an alarm and vibration in response – effectively jolting the driver’s attention back to the road.
Is this a glimpse into maximum efficiency or something out of a science fiction film? Only time will tell. What you can bank on today is a slow transformation industry-wide that will make some processes easier for both truckers and trucking companies.