No matter which side you’re on, recent battles in the Supreme Court have left in place the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule, enacted as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). Essentially, this rule calls for the Secretary of Transportation to adopt the proper regulations requiring ELD use in commercial vehicles driving interstate. Drivers are required to keep records of duty status (RODS) made available to trucking companies. Now that recent appeals to the rule have been rejected, it seems that those in the trucking industry will have to become compliant by December 18th, 2017. But, are there benefits to ELDs for career drivers and their companies? We’ll explore that here!
5 Benefits of ELDs
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) led the fight against, but were stifled by the Supreme Court, saying they are “extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court does not see the merit in reviewing our case with so many questions about its constitutionality.”
Although OOIDA plans to continue pressing the issue in Congress and with the current administration, others like the American Trucking Association (ATA) have said it agrees with the Supreme Court’s decision. So, while not everyone is totally on board with the regulation, it seems the industry will have to move forward with the reality that ELDs are going to be implemented either way. But, might there be benefits to ELDs despite such vocal critics? We explore that below.
1. ELDs can Minimize Administrative Burdens
Considering that ELDs automatically track and record the movement of a vehicle, that means there is a lot less paperwork for administrators. Instead of having to manually record your Hours of Service (HOS), ELDs offer a method of saving time, costs, and effort just by switching to an electronic system. It may not be an instant transition to the new system, but fleet managers and drivers are likely to spend less time filing out papers while increasing their efficiency in this area.
2. Reduce Fuel Costs and Usage
ELDs have the potential to bring about a lot of positive changes whether it’s immediately obvious or not. Another one of the possible benefits of ELDs is that companies can track exactly how much time drivers spend idling, and the frequency of these events. This can allow the easy identification of drivers who may be idling more often than is cost efficient, helping to hold people accountable for their fuel consumption.
3. Full Vehicle Diagnostic Checks
In addition to tracking things like fuel usage and vehicle movement, ELDs can be connected to a vehicle’s diagnostic port, allowing the device to continually monitor fault codes. Having this data available at all times could mean you’ll be ahead of any maintenance issues that may arise. Detailed reports and real-time alerts are just not possible than by using ELDs which connects an entire fleet across the country. Additionally, being able to identify any recurring issues can make it easier to enact the right precautionary measures, leading ultimately to higher efficiency and productivity.
4. Better Route Management
Although location tracking and route management are already possible through GPS tracking and other logistic services, installing ELDs can be a one-stop shop for companies who have yet to upgrade their fleet’s technology. Adding to the benefits of ELDs as a means of logging HOS and RODS, fleet managers can reliably plan out the shortest and most efficient routes with real-time data and previous analytical information. Streamlining these operations will ultimately serve to help everyone be more productive, in addition to saving fuel and providing higher profits.
5. Tracking Bad Driving Habits
Although it might not be welcomed by many drivers themselves, one of the most significant benefits of ELDs is that it allows companies to track bad driving habits such as hard braking, hard cornering, excessive acceleration, and of course, speeding. Not only does this open up the possibility of helping drivers to become better at what they do, but it can also help with driver retention rates considering they won’t be blindsided with harsh criticism should the time come. Additionally, this can help good drivers to receive the recognition they deserve, leading to better means of motivating drivers and encouraging others.
Although sweeping industry changes and mandates can be hard to deal with, it’s important to look on the bright side whenever possible and see opportunities in adversity. You may not be personally onboard with the potential benefits of ELDs in terms of safety, liabilities, and efficiencies, yet it is still important to use them to the best of your ability given the timeline the trucking industry is bound to this until December 2017.