ELDs have provided significant benefits to truckers since they became mandatory in 2018. Ultimately, these systems help drivers avoid hours-of-service violations, save time spent dealing with paperwork and FMCSA inspections, and improve safety by minimizing Tired driving.
Many drivers worry about being watched by way of Big Brother and that the technology will distract them from their daily obligations. The opposite is true.
Before ELDs, drivers had to keep daily paper logs prone to errors and inaccuracies. Now, they can synchronize their device, and the information will automatically get transmitted to the appropriate safety official.
A reliable ELD for trucking will synchronize with the vehicle’s engine to automatically record the driver’s off-duty and on-duty time, ensure the data is appropriately certified, and transfer it securely to safety officials. This reduces fleet compliance risks, lowers FMCSA fines, and forecasts CSA scores to earn low insurance premium rates.
However, while ELDs have made it more difficult for truckers to fudge their records, researchers have found that accident rates have increased after the mandate took effect. This is especially true for independent owner-operators. Some of this can be attributed to stricter hours-of-service enforcement, while others point to broader issues such as poor training or lack of pride in driving.
ELDs reduce paperwork and streamline operations, helping drivers to save time. This makes it easier for them to take on more loads without running out of hours.
They also help to prevent compliance violations, which saves both driver and company money. In addition, they make it easy for fleet managers to track and verify that drivers adhere to federal requirements during roadside inspections or audits.
Moreover, they give dispatchers visibility into driver statuses so that they can plan routes accordingly and avoid HOS compliance violations. This way, drivers can maximize their shifts while driving safely and within compliance. Fleets can also use the data generated by the ELD to identify areas for improvement, like long wait times at loading and unloading points. They can then implement changes to address those bottlenecks and improve efficiencies.
LEDs make it easy for dispatchers and drivers to share information. They can track vehicle locations via an API (Application Programming Interface) that allows for instant data exchanges, including a truck/trailer number and the most recent location update.
Previously, fleets relied on paper log books for HOS logging and inspection purposes. However, this manual process was often prone to errors and manipulation. With the introduction of ELDs, the logging process is now more accurate and secure.
This also helps prevent driver fatigue, a leading cause of significant Truck Accidents. It also reduces the pressure on drivers to meet delivery deadlines by allowing them to work safely and responsibly.
Even if fleets do not use ELDs for HOS compliance purposes, they still reap the flexibility of having immediate online access to vehicle and driver data. This enables fleets to optimize driver hours, spot potential issues better, and connect drivers to the broader supply chain.
For-hire and private motor carriers that switched to electronic logging devices experienced reduced paperwork. Moreover, that is not just a benefit for dispatchers and compliance managers but also drivers themselves.
Using an ELD, drivers are more likely to keep their logs accurate and avoid DOT audits and fines. Plus, with features like geofencing and harsh event detection, fleets can leverage ELD data to improve safety on the road. This includes monitoring idling time and coaching drivers on safe driving habits.
ELDs make federal compliance more accessible than ever, saving trucking companies money in the long run. In addition to avoiding costly violations and being placed out of service, ELDs can improve fleet productivity by eliminating manual log-keeping.
An ELD connects to the engine and records driving activity. It then formats this information for the trucking company so it is easy to access during a roadside inspection or when reviewing HOS data.
Some drivers worry that ELDs distract or hinder their ability to drive safely, but this is unfounded. The best systems create a seamless experience that ensures driver safety and productivity while still allowing drivers to log hours of service as required by the FMCSA. This helps to eliminate the need for paper logs, which are more time-consuming and more prone to inaccuracies.