Introducing Electronic Logbook: ELD Mandate Disaster

Say goodbye to using the paper logbooks for tracking Hours of Service (HOS). Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is publishing final rule of ELD mandate, most likely on November 30th. After all delays, it’s really happening this time.

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It’s a major change in transport regulation and you need to get yourself ready for it. Lose all confusion and break the myths about ELD mandate.

Therefore, I’m going to answer to what ELD is, how will effect your business and clear all the buzz around it.

Let’s start.

What is an Electronic Logging Device – ELD?

It’s an electronic solution for professional truck drivers and commercial motor carriers to track Hours of Service – HOS compliance.

Electronic Logging Device

The new ELD have to:

  • connect to the truck’s engine in order to record if the truck is in motion
  • allow the driver to log in and select On-duty, Off-duty, or On-Duty Not Driving, and depending on vehicle movement drive segments must be selected automatically
  • graphically display a Record of Duty Status – RODS, to make a quick look of hours easier for a driver
  • provide data in a format that can be transmitted to law enforcement in a different ways, such as wireless web services or USB
  • be provider-certified that the device meets the proper specifications
  • be listed on an FMCSA website

Does ELD apply to me and when should I have it?

All CDL drivers, required to keep a RODS (also called HOS reports), will have to use it by 2017. There are around 3 million vehicles in this category, and 3.4 million drivers.

Those with previously installed electronic solutions will have additional two years (until late 2019).

Peoplenet shared infographic about ELD Mandate’s Progression Timeline.

Electronic Llogging Device Progression Timeline

Note that this infographic was created before the date of FMCSA final rule publication, was set for November 30th 2015.

Presumably you are doing interstate commerce, you are obliged to HOS compliance if your vehicle:

  • is 10,001+ pounds
  • has gross combination weight rating of 10,001+ pounds
  • is designed or used to transport 16+ passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • is designed or used to transport 9+ passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

Exceptions are:

  • CDL short haul drivers operating within a 100 air mile radius or non-CDL drivers operating within a 150 mile radius
  • Driver-salesperson, where your total driving time does not exceed 40 hours in any period of 7 consecutive days
  • Oilfield carrier, focused on transportation and usage of oilfield equipment like the stringing and picking up of pipe used in pipelines or well-site construction

Even if you are exempt, there is a big chance that you will interact with ELD technology, because most drivers will use it.

What about AOBRDs?

To reduce paperwork, fleets are using automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRD). These devices are under standards and rules, that are among several ELD mandate predecessors. One of them is FMCSA’s rule 395.15, that requires to record:

  • a driver’s duty status
  • changes in status
  • time they operate the vehicle

Additionally, driver is obliged to present AOBRD display information for the past seven days and for the current day.

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As mentioned earlier, if you have already installed e-logs, you will have time until late 2019 to implement ELD.

Should I wait until 2019?

If you already have AOBRD, it seems obvious to wait couple more years and then get ELD. However, you will lose time to get along with new technology, and to get prepared before the deadline. Also, it won’t take too long to feel the benefits of ELD.

Avoiding HOS violations

Using electronic logs results in accurate and fast HOS recording. This way, the drivers get reminded of mandated requirements, which avoids possible violations. Exactly how big saving we are talking about, you can see this HOS clock:

Avoiding House of Service Violations

The costs and benefits

It’s expected that annual costs of electronic logging devices variates from $165 to $832, with average costs of $495 per truck. Still, there is no doubt that more affordable models, specialized for ELD mandate, will be introduced soon.

What’s more, smartphones and tables can be used as long as the system meets ELD requirements. Important: smartphone alone doesn’t meet ELD standards. The device have to be integrally synchronized with the engine.

Advantage doesn’t lay just in the fact that mobile devices will reduce costs comparing to fixed hardware, but also in powerful data analysis that you’ll have in mobile apps.

Now, take a look at some FMCSA predictions:

  • total annual cost of ELD adoption will be $975 million
  • another $604 million was budgeted for “extra drivers and CMVs needed to ensure that no driver exceeds HOS limits.”
  • net benefits of ELDs outweigh the costs with expected paperwork savings of over $1.6 billion annually, plus crash reduction costs of $395 million

If you really want to dive into detail statistical data, you can download FMCSA evaluations here.

What’s the ROI for ELD?

Implementation of ELD effects the ROI in several ways:

  • reduce fuel costs
  • reduce paperwork
  • increase driver communication
  • charge for detention time
  • updated drivers status
  • better planning for loads

Still not convinced?

Use this remarkable ELD ROI Calculator to find about your own savings.

ELD ROI Calculator

At this point, I’m sure you realized that benefits are a great deal higher than costs.

How will ELD effect the drivers?

It’s not all about cutting costs and making more efficient system. The drivers will also feel the difference. ELD is going to make driver’s life better in many ways, including:

  • saving their time they were losing on paperwork
  • losing irritation over keeping the paper logs
  • focusing on driving and reducing safety risks

It’s claimed that fleets with implemented e-logs, are saving 15 minutes per day. When you put this in big numbers, you’ll get the idea how big this saving is.

Myths about ELD

A driver will interact on the road

Not at all. Whenever the truck is in motion, ELD is updating the drivers status. There are only useful time alerts about the reaching a HOS limits.

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