Simplifying ELD Implementation
The ELD mandate deadline of December 18th, 2017 has come and gone.
For those who have been waiting on a sign that ELD is really going to happen — well, here’s your sign.
To the fleet operators still getting ready to go ELD at this late date, it’s important to get a handle on the best way to implement this technology. As with most things, it comes down to a positive approach combined with planning. Careful planning, even now, helps smooth the path and ensure ELD success.
Assess Your Current Situation
The ELD mandate applies to a great majority of the trucks that keep America moving. Thus, it’s considered “universal.”
However, that doesn’t mean ELD’s are mandatory on every Class-8 commercial truck. Some common exceptions are operators who have not been subject in the past to keeping RODS (record of duty status), drive-away and towing operators, and trucks built before model year 2000.
Trucks used fewer than eight days out of any 30-day period also escape the ELD mandate, as do users of AOBDR’s (a lesser-featured ELD), who are exempt from ELD implementation until December of 2019.
Thus, it’s not as “universal” as it’s made out to be; many fleets include some rigs that are likely exempt. Getting a good look at your fleet and its real ELD requirements is an excellent first step, and can prevent unnecessary panic and expense.
Careful planning, even now, helps smooth the path and ensure ELD success.
Have a Policy in Place
Paper logs featured their own ways of doing business. ELD will change much of those old ways and will require policies to uniformly address said changes.
The ELD mandate brings a much-needed review and refresh of hours-of-service policies to many operators.
Some things to incorporate into your policy (if not already included):
- A management method to review, correct, and approve logs
- A means of preventing dispatchers from assigning loads that would put drivers beyond their HOS limit
- A statement to drivers of mandatory log-keeping, this time with ELD updates
- Disciplinary measures for the violation of your ELD policy
Choose the Right Solution
ELD providers have sprung up as the deadline approached (and passed). Thanks to modern technology, there’s a good number of strong ELD solutions out there. However, that makes it all the more important to choose the right one for your fleet.
While your ELD solution can be simple, you may want to consider a solution that integrates with a telematics platform. Some bonus features you get from this type of integration include:
- Alerts for HOS events (both end-of-day and mandatory breaks)
- GPS tracking and geofencing
- Truck diagnostics
- IFTA fuel-tax calculation
Cost is one consideration — and it’s a big one. However, the cheapest solution might not be the right one. Make sure your ELD gives you the best chance at improving the management of your fleet and making your life (and your drivers’ lives) easier. ELD should not be an expensive, government-mandated albatross around anyone’s neck.
Once (and not a minute before) you have your ELD solution selected, it’s time to do training.
Drivers will need training on how to keep their logs, record events, and messages with the dispatcher. They’ll need to be aware of the policies and penalties around ELD use and misuse.
Dispatchers will need to become familiar with the dispatch interface. They’ll also need to be aware of what to do with the information the ELD transmits. Dispatch will need to be trained on ELD policy as much (or more) than the drivers.
It doesn’t stop with the driver-dispatcher relationship. Accounting will need to know how to read ELD logs for their own purposes. Maintenance managers need to get comfortable with ELD. The adoption of ELD will change the way your fleet does business, and will touch upon everyone’s job in one way or another.
Make sure everyone has the training they need to make ELD work for them.