What Are Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandated that all trucking companies install electronic logging devices (ELDs) to more accurately track and log mileage. This ensures compliance with the federal safety rule governing hours-in-service, which limits time spent behind the wheel. Drivers should spend no more than 11 hours maximum driving, then remain off-duty for the next 10 hours.
Although the rule’s implementation initially took place last December, the FMCSA granted a three and-a-half month time extension. This allows for companies and independents to work through various “bugs” and glitches that inevitably occur with any new technology.
Mixed Reactions from Companies and Drivers
The American Trucking Association supports the regulation, citing easier, more accurate logging and reduced risk of accidents from exhausted drivers. Others, especially smaller independent truckers and firms, including members of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), were more skeptical. They worried about the expense of installation and compliance, as well as unforeseen problems not taken into account by the new technology while on the road.
Penalties for non-compliance include being assessed five points for not having an ELD with another two points for being placed out of service.
Common Complaints and Issues
Since the rule went into effect, customer service departments of both device manufacturers, and systems and software vendors, have been busy fielding calls. Many truckers find it difficult to get timely help while on the road when questions or problems arise.
Drivers encountered a few problems, including unexpected contingencies such as traffic and loading dock delays and devices catching fire. They also feared finding themselves close to the end of a run as the clock runs out on the 11 hours just before reaching home.
JK Moving: Using electronic logging devices since 2006
Foreseeing the trend that would eventually become the rule, JK Moving took action. JK’s Safety team installed what were then called Automatic Onboard Recording Devices (AOBRs) in company vehicles back in 2006. Many companies today still struggle with installing and coping with system glitches and device malfunctions. But JK had plenty of time to work through initial issues. Reassuring and training drivers in using ELDs as well as fine-tuning the devices and data systems keeps JK Moving’s fleet up and running without the downtime experienced by other companies, meaning that our customers’ needs are met on time.
The early installation of the devices also freed money, time, and resources to install DriveCam in-cab cameras for better safety and compliance.
The Bottom Line
Backed by safety concerns, ELDs are here to stay for the foreseeable future. JK Moving already learned that focusing on the benefits of improved accuracy of recordkeeping, removing sleep-deprived or unsafe drivers from the roads and a reducing time-wasting paperwork are all positives that ensure successful, safer drivers and more efficient service to customers.