December 18 — the deadline for the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) — is fast approaching. In an earlier blog, I talked about the rule and the need to begin the implementation process.
I know there has been concern, especially on the part of small fleets and owner-operators about the impact of ELDs on their operation. Some anticipate productivity losses, and those may occur if you have been skirting the Hours of Service (HOS) rules with your paper logs.
However, ELDs should simplify the tracking of hours and free drivers from the drudgery of paperwork and should even make inspections faster and easier.
Data transfer to law enforcement officials can take place using either a “telematics” transfer type ELD, in which case the data will be sent via wireless Web service or email. The other option is a “local” transfer type ELD, where data is transferred via USB or Bluetooth.
ELDs will also be more accurate than paper logs and that should substantially reduce the fleet’s risk of a fine for non-compliance with Hours of Service rules.
The ELD devices sync with a vehicle's engine diagnostic port, capturing movement and recording the distance and time a driver is at the wheel. ELDs provide fleets with exceptional and consistent data that will help with both driver and customer retention. Information gained will allow users to know where the fleet is performing well and where improvement is needed. Improved driving results with increased driver job satisfaction will equate to better service for customers.
ELDs should also assist with your scheduling and dispatch operations because office personnel will know the locations of vehicles as well as how much many legal hours on the road drivers have available.
Not much will change as we shift from paper logs to electronic ones especially if your fleet is already in compliance.
Joseph Evangelist is a seasoned transportation executive with domestic and international experience in sales, operations, mergers and acquisition with heavy emphasis on post-acquisition assimilation planning to maximize new growth and business combination opportunities.