The use of ELDs, or (Electronic Logging Devices) is not something that was just introduced overnight. In fact, an estimated 30-40% of commercial drivers have been using ELDs or AOBRDS (automatic on board recording devices) for several years now and despite popular believe, it’s been a huge benefit. As of today, the majority of drivers are still hesitant and live in fear that they will have to trade in their logbooks for some foreign electronic device that will know everything about their whereabouts.
Why Drivers are Hesitant to Adopt ELDs
Today, most drivers record their HOS, (hours of service) in 15 minute intervals by hand in a log book and have the ability to edit their on duty drive time very easily to stretch their hours to reflect compliancy.
So what’s the issue? As far as the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) sees it is that there is currently no way to verify the accuracy and truth of a handwritten paper log. If the driver is pushing his on duty drive time in order to get the load to their top customer for an expedited shipment don’t you think they will fudge the numbers in order to benefit his drive time? Yes, why wouldn’t he?
This makes the highway a dangerous place not only for that driver, but for everyone using our highways. In fact, the leading cause of accidents today is driver fatigue. Everyone knows how hard it can be to drive their cars when they are tired. Now imagine yourself, a groggy driver carrying 50,000 plus pounds of freight falling asleep behind the wheel and now your life, and the lives of others are at risk.
In a recent study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), they revealed that if we can get all the commercial trucks in compliance status we can potentially save 25 lives and protect another 562 injuries annually.
Let’s take a look how this mandate will benefit today’s drivers:
- Reduction in Paperwork Management
The modern ELD can now capture all necessary documents required by the FMSCA in digital format. This means no more flipping around in your notebook to provide the requested document. Many devices can retrieve the requested form with a click of a finger. Forms like insurance documents, IFTA permits, vehicle registration, and logs for on/off duty drive time can all be easily provided on your device.
- Ease of the Start/Stop Status & Increased Accuracy
Today’s ELDs record the hours of service by the second, compared to a traditional written log, which keeps track by 15-minute intervals. When using an ELD, all drivers have to do is touch the device’s start or stop option to change status and suspend their ONDT. Jumping back in the cab, tapping the screen on the ELD device, and they’re back on the road again. No looking for a pen on the cab floor to jot down the time they think they arrived on their doc sheets.
- Expedited Inspections
Any given day a driver is susceptible to an inspection of their logbook. If your handwritten logbook is not in compliance or appears to be untrue, it can cause a great deal of stress on the driver not to mention a waste of time. As you know, time is the most important thing to a commercial driver, and it’s not something you’ll be getting back. By using an ELD to record your hours of service, all of the information being requested for review will be on the screen for you to present to the officer or person who is looking at your log. Simply hand over your device, and keep rolling.
Lastly, one of the main reasons for the ELD mandate is to make our highways a safer place for drivers and pedestrians. ELDs help keep drivers in compliance with their legal driving hours so that driver fatigue can be decreased and enforced.
To conclude, we all know this mandate is not going to disappear; December 18th, 2017 is the day that you either close up shop or become compliant. You must learn to get with the times. The truck driver’s world is changing for the better and once you give yourself some time to become familiar with the electronics, you too will see why 30-40% are already swearing by this new system. I’m not saying it won’t take some getting used to, and maybe some frustration, it probably will.
Still not convinced? Let’s recap what getting on board with this mandate will do for you:
- No more paperwork to sort through and present, it’s all filed neatly on your device! Still thinking you would rather just fudge your logs?
- The ELD requires no thought or calculating of your hours, just hit resume and stop when you hit the doc!
- Getting pulled over for inspection? Expedite the process by handing over your device where all hours and necessary documents can be viewed quickly and easily!
- Finally, the ELD mandate will make road a safer place for all of us, by embracing the change for ELD’s in your cab you are choosing to make your job easier, less hectic, and you’re becoming an integral part of the evolution of the industry.