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The ELD Mandate: Pros And Cons

What is the ELD Mandate?

The ELD mandate was congressionally mandated as part of the MAP-21 in 2012 by the United States Congress.  The MAP-21, “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” bill, outlined the criteria for highway funding and included a provision requiring the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) to develop a rule mandating the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs).  The bill is intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data. 

How does an ELD work?

An ELD, electronic logging device, synchronizes with the vehicle’s engine; thereby capturing data on off/on status of the engine, whether the vehicle is moving, miles are driven, and duration of engine operation (engine hours).  ELDs automatically record driving time, for easier, more accurate hours of service (HOS) recording.  ELDs essentially replace paper HOS log books.

Who must comply with the ELD Mandate?

In essence, any motor carriers or drivers who are required to keep records of duty service (RODS) MUST comply with the ELD mandate. 

Who is exempt from the ELD Mandate?

According to the FMCSA’s website, the only exemption to the ELD mandate is:

 “Drivers who use the time card exception, and don’t keep paper RODs, will NOT be required to use ELDs.

The following drivers may keep PAPER RODS:

  • Drivers who keep RODS no more than 8 days during any 30-day period.
  • Drive away-tow away drivers (transporting a vehicle for sale, lease, or repair),    provided the vehicle driven is part of the shipment or the vehicle being transported is a motor home or recreational vehicle trailer.
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before the model year 2000. However, a carrier can choose to use an ELD, even if it is not required.”

What is the deadline to comply with the ELD Mandate?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published the final electronic logging device rule — or ELD Mandate – in December 2015, and the first deadline to comply passed in December 2017.  Fleets had until December 2017 to implement certified ELDs to record HOS.  Those that were already equipped with electronic logging technology (AOBRDs) before December 2017, have until December 2019 to make the switch over to ELD compliant devices.

What are the Advantages of ELDs?

1.    Reduce idling

  • Save money otherwise wasted on fuel guzzled due to idling.
  • Reduce maintenance costs caused by idling.
  • Protect the environment by using less fossil fuel.

2.    Improve driving skills

  • Use ELDs to monitor and improve employee’s driving habits.
  • Reduce speeding
  • Reduce aggressive breaking habits

3.    Avoid Driver Fatigue

  • Reduce driver fatigue through ensuring drivers don’t exceed HOS.
  • Decrease the chances of accidents due to driver fatigue

4.    Slash insurance costs

  • Reduced accidents equal to reduced insurance costs for your company.
  • Automatically ensure drivers don’t exceed HOS, thereby eliminating driving violations which cost companies higher premiums.
  • ELD devices can provide the insurance industry with additional data to consider when determining risk models. This can reduce the impact CSA scores have on insurance premiums.

5. Eliminate Paperwork

  • Save time by eliminating paperwork associated with the HOS of drivers.
  • Reduce hassle and discrepancies associated with HOS paper logs
  • Law enforcement can easily review a driver’s HOS by viewing the ELD’s display screen
  • More accurate and faster delivery of paychecks since drivers’ hours are tracked and sent electronically.

What are the Disadvantages of ELDs?

1. ELDs can be Expensive

  • Keeping HOS records on paper logs was virtually free of cost; minus the few dollars yearly spent on notebooks.
  • The cost of the ELD device itself plus installation and monthly fees takes a large chunk out of truckers’ budgets.

2. Privacy Concerns

  • While it’s not required for ELD devices to have real-time tracking, motor carriers may use GPS technology along with ELD devices for business purposes to track their fleet in real-time. Some truckers feel this is invasive of their privacy.

3. Limited Editing Possibilities

  • If a driver uses multiple ELDs that are not compatible, the driver must either enter the missing duty status information in the ELD currently being used or provide a printout from the other system(s) for the relevant days, causing more hassle and time-consuming work to the driver.

4. Learning Curve and Troubleshooting

  • Fleet managers, drivers, dispatchers, and law enforcement will all need to be trained and learn how to either install and/or use ELD devices, systems, and Apps.
  • Troubleshooting ELD devices and Apps when something goes wrong can be time-consuming and stressful, especially for drivers who are out on the road.

5. Decreased availability of parking spaces due to drivers being subject to comply with HOS Regulations.

  • Parking spaces are now occupied longer around sunset and daybreak, causing the driver’s difficulty in finding parking spaces when they need to stop driving for the day.
  • Drivers are forced to park in dangerous or illegal parking spaces.
  • Drivers are forced to pay money for reserved parking spaces; for which prices are climbing.

6. ELDs must be purchased only through FMCSA certified manufactures

  • According to the FMCSA website, “Motor carriers and drivers must choose only ELDs that are certified and registered on FMCSA’s website, as other devices may not be compliant.”  Carriers must be alert and attentive to make sure they don’t breach any FMCSA laws when purchasing their ELD devices.

MatrackInc.com provides easy to use electronic logbook devices for trucks that allow drivers to log DOT compliant HOS, claim unassigned driving hours, voice-based ELD status change, low fuel notifications, and effective accident reporting.

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