In 2012, the United States Congress changed forever how the trucking industry conducted business. The bill “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” mandated the use of electronic logging devices. Referred to as MAP-21, replaced paper logging for drivers.
The rule mandated the use of electronic devices to record a driver’s, Record of Duty Status (RODS). The Electronic Logging Device recorded a driver’s compliance with Hours of Service requirements. Fleets had until December 2019 to comply with the specifications.
Comprehensive Electronic Logging Devices are now being used to integrate map and route solutions. ELD’s can record a host of data on fleet vehicles. Driver’s inspection reports with driver behavior are documented.
Fleets are seeing the benefits:
- Reduced paperwork
- Real-time driver status
- Better load planning
- E-logs convert better to overall data reporting
The ELD law was passed to address several commercial driver concerns. The most important of these issues, the physical condition of the driver. Several governmental studies over decades of data, proved driver fatigue was a major factor in increased accident rates.
Weary commercial vehicle operators involved in accidents came to the attention of regulators and the media. Once awareness of the problems surfaced, drivers were required to keep logs. Paper logbooks were fraught with inaccuracies. The ELD mandate replaced paper logs with mandatory electronic forms.
The mandate covers commercial operators, who were keeping paper logs.
These are the drivers and vehicles included:
- Commercial drivers required to keep RODS (record of duty status).
- Commercial vehicles weighing over 10,001 pounds
- Hazmat loads
- Vehicles that carry over eight to ten passengers
Exempt from the ELD mandate:
- Drivers operating within a 100 air-mile radius of the home office
- Non-CDL drivers, operating within a 150 air-mile radius of the home office
- Operators with Drive away, tow away
- Vehicles that were manufactured before the 2000 model year
The primary concern for drivers before implementation of the ELD mandate was privacy. To ensure the right to privacy was upheld, the ELD mandate placed restrictions on what could and could not be recorded. The devices had limited geographical tracking along with a distinct separation of on and off-duty hours.
Commercial trucking, as with most well-established industries, were resistant to electronic logging. The new technology brought increased accountability for drivers and fleet operations. The trucking industry has become more transparent because of the required mandate. However, the advantages to drivers and commercial carriers are substantial.
The ELD devices lead to more time on the road. There is less time filling out driver logs and processing the paper work. Use of the ELD device adds about five to ten hours a week of additional time on the road.
Road inspections are quicker when e-logging is installed. Officers no longer have to rifle through mounds of reports to make sure the driver is hauling what they say.
Log errors are kept to a minimum. Everyone is human, so drivers make mistakes just like the rest of us. Mistakes on paper logs for drivers and fleet operations have a cumulative effect. A missed entry here, the wrong mileage there, leads to a smaller paycheck. ELDS ensure the correct totals are calculated every time.
Drivers get the warning they need. When a time sensitive event is about to take place, the ELD issues an audible alert. Drivers remain HOS compliant by paying attention to the signals.
Drivers build a better resume with a good ELD device installed. The ELD tracks hours of service compliance, delivery and truck speed. Logging all these factors document the safe driving of the operator. With this recorded data in hand, the driver can apply for higher rates and incentives.
Electronic logging devices record every event that happens with a vehicle and the driver. If the truck is engaged in an accident, the device captures vehicle and driver behavior, throughout the entire event. The ELD device protects personal and carrier liability because they now have an electronic record of precisely what happened.
The ELD dramatically enhances communication between the home office and drivers. Dispatchers can map in real time where the driver is traveling and where he has been. Customers can benefit knowing when their shipment will arrive. Having the ELD installed on commercial trucks settles many conflicts between shippers and clients.
When a truck breaks down, the ELD reports the location. Roadside assistance helps the driver get back on the road quicker, when a maintenance vehicle knows where to go.
When the ELD mandate was proposed years ago, the costs per vehicle was enormous. Today’s technology has taken hold, and the prices for the ELD units have fallen substantially. Smartphones and tablets have been introduced to help with compatibility of the ELD device. The technology has reduced up-front costs for drivers and carriers. Rather than the original $2500 per unit, charges have been cut down to $395 to $595 per unit.
Smartphones and tablets alone will not satisfy the ELD mandate requirement. The device must be “integrally synchronized” with the operation of the vehicle. To be synchronized, the device must be attached to the truck’s engine.
Drivers and fleets, both large and small enterprises, have witnessed dramatic advancements in driver safety and operating costs.
Big brother is not watching truckers with the installed ELD device. Only trucking employees are authorized to examine the data.