Last December, after months of anticipation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published their final ruling on electronic logging devices (ELDs). This ELD mandate marks a change in how fleets and their drivers log hours of service (HOS).
If your fleet currently uses paper logbooks, you must equip your trucks with ELDs by December 18, 2017. If your fleet is already using some form of Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD), or you plan to purchase one before December 18, 2017, you have an additional two years (until December 16, 2019) to comply with the mandate. Depending on the age of the AOBRD, this might only require a simple software update.
Here are three points to consider so that you can use this mandate to improve operational efficiencies, driver safety, and your organization’s bottom line:
Prepare for initial roadblocks. There will be a couple of challenging aspects to ELD adoption. The first will be to educate drivers on this new technology, since filling out paper logbooks is all that many drivers know. It is important to point out the benefits of these new devices to drivers to help them understand that the mandate is aimed at making their jobs easier by saving them time, speeding up inspections, and reducing accidents.
Another challenge is the implementation of this new technology. Transitioning from manual to electronic logging systems means more than simply changing the hardware and software—the change could affect most aspects of your company, including the culture. For this reason, it’s important to establish a clear vision and transparent implementation plan.
Ensure your fleet’s compliance. Your fleet should actively review and become familiar with the content included in the FMCSA’s Electronic Logging Devices and Hours of Service Supporting Documents final rule. Per the rule, all suppliers will be required to certify their ELD devices. These approved devices will then be available to the public on a FMCSA-managed website. Make sure that the system your fleet chooses to implement are listed on that website.
If you currently use a 395.15 certified AOBRD, keep in mind that you will have four years to comply with the ELD mandate. It is crucial to work with your supplier to understand the migration path and to ensure that you are utilizing compliant systems come December 2019.
Go beyond the minimum. Some organizations, whether due to financial constraints or because they want a quick fix, will only aim to meet the minimum requirements to become compliant. By just reaching the minimum, fleets could miss out on some benefits.
Selecting a more comprehensive technology solution, like a Fleet Management System (FMS), can help you address a wider scope of issues beyond compliance to improve safety and efficiency. An FMS transmits data wirelessly to the back office, allowing fleet managers, safety managers, and dispatchers to review HOS information in near-real time. An FMS can help you meet a broader range of goals, like onboard event recording, speed monitoring, IFTA reporting, and comprehensive dashboards and analytics reports. This is an opportunity to become compliant, improve how your company does business, and generate a greater return on investment.
At PeopleNet, we have seen our customers experience the difference ELDs make by achieving compliance and improving safety and driver quality of life. Want more information on the mandate? Listen to a replay of our ELD webinar to get a better understanding of what this ruling means for your fleet.