Top 3 Considerations for Implementing ELDs

After months of anticipation, last December the FMCSA published their final ruling on electronic logging devices, or ELDs. This ELD mandate marks a change in how fleets and their drivers log hours of service (HOS).

For those fleets currently using paper log books, they must equip their trucks with ELDs by December 18, 2017. If a fleet is already using some form of Automatic On-board Recording Device (AOBRD) or plans to purchase one before December 18, 2017, they have an additional two years (December 18, 2019) to comply with the mandate. Depending on the age of the AOBRD, this might only require a simple software update.

While 2019 might seem like a ways off, it is crucial to develop a strategy around implementation of ELD devices. Here are a few points to consider so that you can use this mandate to improve operational efficiencies, driver safety and your organization’s bottom line:

  • Prepare for initial roadblocks: There will be a couple of challenging aspects to ELD adoption. The first will be to educate drivers on this new technology, since filling out paper logbooks is all that many drivers know. It is important for fleets to point out the benefits of these new devices to their drivers to help them understand that this mandate is aimed at making their jobs easier by saving them time, speeding up inspections and reducing accidents.

Another challenge is the implementation of this new technology. Transitioning from manual to electronic logging systems means more than simply changing the hardware and software—the change will affect most aspects of the company, including the culture. For this reason, leadership must establish a clear vision and transparent implementation plan.

Implementation is a total team effort. By making sure everyone involved knows why implementation is occurring as well as the benefits of adding ELDs, it will be easier to smoothly introduce the technology within a fleet.

  • Ensure your fleet’s compliance: For those companies that do not have any technology in place today, they might be unsure of how to navigate the vast number of technology options to choose from. An important question to ask is whether or not the technology complies with what the mandate requires.

Fleets should actively review and familiarize themselves with the content included in the Electronic Logging Devices and Hours of Service Supporting Documents final rule. Per the rule, all suppliers will be required to certify their ELD devices.  These approved devices will then be available to the public on a FMCSA-managed website. Fleets need to ensure that the systems they chose to implement are listed on the ELD Approved website.

For those fleets using a current 395.15 certified AOBRD, it is important to keep in mind that they will have four years to comply with the ELD Mandate. It is crucial that they work with their suppliers to understand the migration path to ensure that they are utilizing compliant systems come December 2019.

  • Go beyond the minimum: In addition to ensuring compliance, companies need to look at what they want to get out of their technology. Some organizations, whether due to financial constraints or because they want a quick fix, will only aim to meet the minimum requirements to become compliant. By just reaching the minimum, fleets are missing out on the numerous benefits of going beyond simply implementing an ELD.

By selecting a more comprehensive technology solution like a Fleet Management System (FMS), you can address a wider scope of issues beyond compliance to improve safety and efficiency. Typically rugged stationary hardware, a FMS doesn’t rely on a driver’s mobile device for communication. However, data will often be transmitted wirelessly to the back office, allowing fleet managers, safety managers and dispatchers to review HOS information in near-real time.

An FMS can help a fleet meet a broader range of goals through capabilities like onboard event recording, speed monitoring, IFTA reporting and comprehensive dashboards and analytics reports, just to name a few. This is an opportunity to not only become compliant, but to also improve how a company does business and generate a greater return on investment.

By keeping these things in mind, you should feel confident in making a decision on ELDs. At PeopleNet, we have seen our customers experience the difference ELDs make, not only in achieving compliance but in improving safety and driver quality of life.

Want more information on the mandate? Listen to a replay of our ELD webinar or check out our Electronic Logging Devices info page to get a better understanding of what this ruling means for your fleet.

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