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Overcoming Driver Resistance to ELD

December 27, 2017


Overcoming Driver Resistance to ELD

Few changes to the regulatory landscape have been fought as hard or as fiercely as the ELD mandate.

Independent owner-operators took their resistance to the Supreme Court, although they were unsuccessful. It’s hard to remember an issue in the trucking world that has inspired as much resistance – some might call it “rage” – as ELD.

It’s easy to understand why. The changes ELD will bring to the job are a major concern for drivers. Truckers tend to be an independent lot, cherishing the privacy of their time on the open road.

However, ELD is real, it’s now, and it won’t be going away. The question now: How to cope? What is the best way to encourage ELD acceptance and compliance among a reluctant driving staff?

Take the Good with the Bad

ELD is not all bad news – even for drivers. To help acceptance of the new ELD-world, we should consider the following points:
  • Bye-Bye Paperwork.
    The foremost advantage of ELD for drivers: No more paperwork. Keeping paper logs has never been a favored part of trucking. Even the best-intentioned drivers see logs as a necessary annoyance. No more paperwork means more drive time – up to 15 minutes per day, by some estimates. It also means no more time wasted correcting paperwork errors.

  • Up to the Minute.
    ELD can help drivers get more time on the road for other reasons. Paper-based logging requires rounding up to the 15-minute mark. ELD does away with that coarse quarter-hour measurement by rounding to the nearest minute instead. Drivers get to recover the time that might have been lost under the paper method.

  • Fair Warning.
    A very handy – and underrated – feature of ELD’s is alerts. The ELD will warn the driver when it’s time for a 30-minute break, and when total hours for the day are almost up. That means they have the opportunity to take a breather (or call it a day) somewhere safe and pleasant, before they absolutely need to stop (or get busted for HOS violations).

  • Keep in Touch.
    Though some drivers will see this as a mixed blessing, ELD’s make it easier to communicate with the home office. Time lost to checking calls can become a thing of the past. For basics like location and remaining hours, there’s no reason not to let the ELD do the talking.

  • A Reliable Witness.
    Traffic collision reconstruction after the event can quickly turn into a torrent of he-said she-said. When your ELD is integrated with a telematics platform, truckers have the advantage of a reliable digital witness in event of an accident to confirm location, speed, HOS, and other factors. Of course, some drivers might also see this as a mixed blessing under certain circumstances, but million-mile safety records already attest to the road wisdom of most truckers. Why not back it up with a court-admissible, digitized record?

  • A Safer Drive.
    Finally, there’s the science. A study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found ELD-equipped trucks had an 11.7% lower overall crash rate. VT also found ELD’s resulted in a preventable crash rate 5.1% lower than the baseline. It’s a hard truth for some to accept, but the ELD mandate became law precisely because ELD’s work to improve the safety of truckers and other motorists on the highway.

Better Days

Change is always hard to accept, especially among the hard-working and self-sacrificing truckers who keep the country moving. Although the ELD mandate wasn’t welcomed by all, it doesn’t mean the ELD can’t become a great asset to drivers. Drivers for fleets who went ELD early now say they can’t imagine how they got along without it.

Choose a good ELD solution, apply a little encouragement, and the drivers will follow right along.