Trucking Companies Rush to Comply with Looming ELD Deadline
Almost a million truck drivers have yet to purchase an e-log device – and the deadline is just six weeks away. Sixty percent of firms surveyed were still using paper logs as of the beginning of October. Compliance will be increasingly difficult to implement as the holiday rush brings the busiest time of year for most truckers.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released the current electronic logging device (ELD) mandate at the end of 2015, and the clock has been counting down ever since. ELDs replace paper logs by electronically recording a driver’s record of duty status and uses that data to document hours of service (HOS) compliance.
Most trucking companies and individual drivers have been using automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRD) for years to record duty status and time in operation. ELD and AOBRD devices have these things in common:
- Both electronically track hours of service.
- To capture data, they both must be synchronized with the truck engine.
- Data usually pass electronically to fleet administrators to provide electronic log access in real-time.
ELDs provide additional data-gathering capabilities. Many of them store driver vehicle inspection reports, integrate map solutions to reroute drivers around construction and traffic jams and report on speeding, idling and hard braking.
ELDs can generate files containing driving data for the current day along with the previous seven days and transmitting it to commercial vehicle inspectors. Devices must start recording data within one minute of the driver starting the truck.
ELDs cause both a cost savings and safety improvement. They save drivers the time they would spend on paper logbooks, update dispatchers to help with planning and provide data that could lead to fuel savings and improved driver security.
With all the benefits of ELD adoption, a surprising number of trucking companies have yet to add them to their vehicles. The ELD Final Rule Compliance Date is December 18, 2017, and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance says there’s almost no chance it will be delayed.
There are approximately 3.6 million truck drivers in the United States, and one survey found 60 percent of drivers were still using paper logs. Owner-operators and independent truckers are among those least likely to be using an ELD. As many as 16 percent of truckers say they will quit driving if forced to use an ELD.
ELD manufacturers say they expect a rush to implementation the last weeks of the year. Truckers who delayed will have to quickly choose from more than 100 ELD options and learn to use them on the road during the busy holiday rush. After the deadline, truckers caught driving without an ELD may face fines or collection violation points.
Transitional technology may be an option for drivers who are running out of time. Truckers can use AOBRDS purchased before the ELD mandate deadline until December of 2019 without a penalty. Smartphones, tablets and handhelds are also acceptable as long as they are hardwired to the truck’s engine.
Fleets waiting until the deadline to implement ELDs will miss out on the reduction both in fuel costs and paperwork. Immediate implementation saves money and ensures compliance.