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The ELD Mandate: 7 Questions Every Carrier Should Answer

Day in the Life Truck DriverThe electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is an upcoming rule that will require over 3.4 million drivers to use an ELD to electronically record their record of duty status (RODS). With its large scope, and with the significant impact to how fleets will track their hours of service (HOS) compliance, this is one of the most significant pieces of legislation affecting the trucking industry today. All carriers should get the facts about the ELD mandate to ensure they are prepared. Below are our top seven questions and answers to prepare for the mandate.  

Does the ELD mandate apply to me?

Although the rule is not set to be final until September 2015, preliminary information suggests that, in general, if a driver is currently required to keep RODS, they will be required to use an ELD. That being said, short haul and other exceptions to RODS may exempt you from requiring an ELD. To learn more about these exemptions, check out our blog post for more details.

While the rule will impact only asset-based carriers, it’s important to know as a shipper or broker that all HOS will be tracked electronically. Paired with a prohibition of coercion rule that is set to roll out at the same time as ELDs, brokers and carriers need to be on the same page for respecting a driver’s time and adherence to HOS limitations.

When will it take effect?

As of the time I am writing this, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is still in the process of writing the final rule that will specify exact ELD requirements, with a targeted publication date of September 30, 2015. Once enacted, fleets will have two years to implement certified ELDs to record HOS. Fleets already equipped with electronic logging technology before 2015 will have until late 2019 to ensure compliance with the published specifications.

September 2017 is a long way off. Why should I adopt ELDs now?

There are many benefits of adopting ELDs now:

  • Allows you to implement the technology on your own timeframe, and at a speed you are comfortable with.
  • Builds a culture of safety around your trucking fleet, compared to “just enough” compliance. E-logs give safety managers the tools they need to understand all areas of compliance. Safety managers and dispatchers can work together on loads that are within HOS requirements. Drivers can be alerted when low drive or on-duty time is near.
  • Allows you to start immediately building ROI, slashing fuel costs, drastically reducing paperwork, increasing driver communication, and charging for detention time.
  • Reduces major violations, including Form and Manner, which are the most frequent violations.
  • Allows you to accurately account for all aspects of the business, including on-duty and drive time. Fleet managers can see where time may be leaking from current processes.

What should I look for when shopping for an ELD?

The key to making smart purchases is and always will be to undergo the necessary due diligence, so we recommend shopping at least three options before making your selection. By comparing the available feature set, reputation for reliability and support, and the provider’s financial stability, you should be able to make a good decision for your fleet. To ensure you are armed with all the information you need, be sure to read our “Ultimate Guide to Buying an ELD.”

What effect will ELDs have on my fleet’s profitability?

In a recent internal study, we identified that over 58.4% of long-haul trucks are already equipped with on board telematics. Why is the adoption rate so high? The answer is simple. In addition to safety and compliance benefits, ELDs come with an array of other features that help fleets become more efficient and productive. Some benefits of ELDs include

  • 24 x 7 x 365 vehicle location visibility
  • Better customer service
  • Reduced idle time and speeding
  • Minimized out of route miles with truck-specific navigation
  • Saving time and money on paperwork (estimated $705 per driver per year for HOS paperwork alone)
  • Simplified IFTA reporting
  • Better ability to identify, reward, and retain your best drivers

Are there any considerations for me if I am a C.H. Robinson contract carrier?

Omnitracs is the only ELD provider that partners with C.H. Robinson to provide electronic load visibility to all contract carriers that are utilizing our MCP platform. This service requires no additional cost on the part of the contract carrier and helps eliminate the hassle of frequent manual check calls. To learn more about this program, check out the program’s Frequently Asked Questions page.

Can you recommend any resources for learning more about this upcoming mandate?

Assuming you do not have a seat on the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee that provides input to the FMCSA on crafting this rule, the next best option is to check out the resources available on ELDFacts.com. Here you can find white papers, webinar recordings, and blogs to help provide clarification on the topic.

- Marketing Channel Manager, Omnitracs

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