ELDs: What You Need to Know.TheRoad
Electronic logging devices (ELDs) have been a hot topic this fall across all sides of the industry. There have been a few common questions all seem to be asking:
Are cost and supply of ELDs going to be factors?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created a path for smartphone applications to serve as compliant ELDs, and this has brought down costs for base level ELDs. Here is a list of all the self-registered ELD providers so far. I called one of the included companies in June, and they quoted me $175 for the cable that hooks into the truck and $30 per month for the service. It appears that the cost of compliance will be very low.
Similarly, even the full fleet management service (FMS) providers—who have ELDs included in their more robust systems—do not anticipate a hardware backlog as the December 2017 implementation date approaches. If the adoption rate of Pokémon™ GO is any indication of how quickly an app can be downloaded and deployed broadly, then smartphone-based ELDs should be straightforward to implement.
How many hours of service (HOS) violations are there every year?
During the FMCSA Roadcheck 2015 program, 2.88% of all drivers stopped were placed out of service for some type of HOS violation (no logbook, HOS, etc.). But cynics often point to that program as less than reliable as a sample size because FMCSA announced that the enforcement will occur before the week begins.
In their 2016 pocket guide to truck statistics, FMCSA listed the most frequent violations written during more than 3.3 million inspections nationwide. Multiple violations can be written during one inspection, but if each HOS-related violation occurred individually, roughly 14% of all inspections had HOS violations. A grand total of 23,652 violations were written for driving over 11 hours in 2015. This represents 0.7% of all inspections.
I hope this gives you some data-based perspective on how many HOS violations occur every year. For comparison, FMCSA recently conducted a surprise brake inspection nationwide in May 2016 that resulted in 12.4% of vehicles being placed out of service.
Finally, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) lawsuit challenging the ELD mandate had oral arguments in September 2016. This case should be resolved before March 2017.