Whether you agree with the ELD mandate or not, the new federal rule went into effect on Dec. 18, 2017—and will be enforced soon after that. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has announced plans to begin putting trucking companies out of service for not having ELDs as early as April 1, 2018.
The Benefits of ELDs
If your trucks need to be equipped with ELDs, it might help you to know that the devices can be much more than just an added business expense.
Most large trucking fleets have been logging their hours-of-service electronically for years. Below are some of the advantages that ELD technology has brought many of those carriers. Your company could eventually see these benefits as well.
ELDs Reduce Paperwork
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Saftely Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers spend an average of 20 hours a year filling out logs and reporting their hours of service. The automation of ELDs eliminates all that paperwork, giving drivers more time to drive.
Electronic logging can add several hours a week of drive time because drivers can round up to the nearest minute for stops. Paper logbooks currently require rounding up to the nearest 15 minutes.
Inspections Will Go Faster
In the event of a roadside inspection, ELDs will make it easier for the inspecting officer to read the hours-of-service data. There will be no more sorting through a driver’s handwritten logbook. This should make inspections go faster and get your trucks back on the road a lot sooner.
ELDs Help You Track Your Fleet
The accuracy of electronic logging should make your trucking operation better-informed and more efficient. ELDs can help you monitor your trucks’ locations through GPS tracking, giving you real-time visibility to your fleet. This cuts down on the amount of time spent texting and calling drivers to learn their locations. Many ELDs can integrate with dispatch software, helping trucking companies plan shorter and more efficient routes. The results can include better fleet productivity and reduced costs of doing business.
ELDs Eliminate Mistakes
In tracking their hours-of-service on paper, drivers can sometimes make mistakes. It’s easy to enter the wrong time or location. Poor reporting in logbooks can catch up with a trucking company, leading to rising CSA scores and fines.
An ELD automatically calculates hours of service, IFTA fuel tax reporting and driver-vehicle inspection reports. Because the device is connected to a truck’s engine, it can also warn of any performance or maintenance issues. More accurate reporting from ELDs helps eliminate mistakes and keeps your trucks on the road.
Your Trucks Can Log More Miles
ELDs will be an added expense for your trucking company—the FMCSA estimates an average annual cost of $495 per device. However, ELDs can more than pay for themselves over time by making your fleet more productive and efficient.
With less paperwork and administration, your trucks can spend more time moving freight. With the engine diagnostics and GPS trucking that ELDs provide, your trucks should spend less time in the shops and at loading docks. In the long run, these efficiencies should generate more profits for your trucking company.
You Can Save More on Fuel
Because they track a truck engine’s activity, ELDs can tell you how much time your trucks are idling, just burning through diesel. Once you identify drivers who spend too much time idling, you can encourage them to adopt better driver habits. This can help reduce your company’s fuel consumption.
ELDs will Keep Your Trucks on the Road
The main incentive for adopting ELDs for your trucking company is that the technology will soon become mandatory. An out-of-service penalty from inspectors, even for a few hours, can be disastrous for a small carrier.
In addition to the other potential advantages they provide, ELDs can give you the peace of mind that your company is compliant with the new federal mandate. You won’t have to worry about the fines and penalties that non-compliant carriers may soon face.
Sources; FMCSA.dot.gov, ELDFacts.com, Transflo