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ELD Mandate: Industry Improvement or Infringement of Rights?

May 2, 2016

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With the deadline of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate steadily approaching in December of 2017, much has been said on either side of this hot-button issue. What is intended to be an advancement for the trucking industry has created a divisiveness with strong proponents on either side.

So what will ELD’s true impact be on fleet owners and owners-operators? Let’s take a look at both sides to get a clearer picture.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and early adopters of ELDs, the benefits far surpass any of the perceived shortcomings. Here is a shortlist:

  • Cost: ELDs are becoming more affordable with the most popular models falling between the $400-$500 range per vehicle. Additionally, drivers can use smartphones, tablets and other approved hand-held devices to help curb the start-up costs. The big takeaway here is that the long-term savings and ROI is well worth the initial ELD investment.
  • Reduced Paperwork: Saves time and provides more accurate HOS logs. Hours are rounded to nearest minute (versus nearest 15 min with paper log) which gives drivers more credit for time.
  • Communication: Improves communication between drivers and dispatchers and passes data back quickly, allowing for better route planning or more efficient operations.
  • Safety: Allows drivers to concentrate on driving. Keeps fatigued drivers off the road by more accurately calculating HOS. Per FMCSA, ‘drivers using E-Logs had a significantly lower total crash rate (11.7% reduction)’. ELDs can also provide mapping and route solutions to help avoid trouble areas.
  • Reduced Inspection Time: HOS data will be readily available for officials to review and will significantly decrease roadside inspection and DOT audit times.

This sounds like a win-win situation for drivers, right? However, opponents of the mandate, primarily the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), don’t quite see it that way. They have filed a lawsuit contesting the legality of mandate. Much of their reticence stems from privacy issues and the assertion that ELDs will do more harm than good.

Here are some of the main counter-points:

  • Invasion of Privacy: Drivers can be tracked during off hours and there is no agreement stating that HOS violation data can’t be passed directly to law enforcement.
  • ELDs Not Fully Automated: The driver is still responsible for changing on/off duty status, which is the same as with paper logs.
  • Driver Harassment: ELDs will make it easier to contact drivers during off hours, make drive requests even if driver is tired or sick, and implement unrealistic load schedules.
  • Will Not Reduce HOS Violations & Crashes: Claim studies provided by FMCSA are unreliable.  Also, most accidents caused by car drivers, not truckers.

Given that this is a mandate, fleet owners and drivers don’t have a choice but to become compliant by the deadline. Even so, the fire under this debate does not look burn out any time soon and the OOIDA lawsuit still needs to run its course.

Wondering how ELD will affect you? Need clarification on the requirements? Give us a call at (909) 596-0050 and we’ll be happy to walk you through it. We’re real people – just like you!

 

Source:  ELDfacts.com, OOIDA, Truckers Report