On December 19, 2017, the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate eliminated some of the in-cab privacy previously enjoyed by America’s truckers. What did they get in return? Many will still insist “nothing,” but that’s not necessarily the case.
ELD brings a host of benefits unimaginable to previous generations of drivers, dispatchers, and fleet managers. These benefits go beyond mere compliance with the law (and you want to comply with that law — at the threat of great expense).
We’ll discuss three of benefits of ELD you might not have considered.
ELD Kills the Paperwork Demon
What’s your favorite part of trucking? Being in control of a big machine? Exploring the country, escaping the irritations of office life? The friends you make along the way? All that paperwork?
Maybe the last one doesn’t ring a bell. That’s because no one likes the paperwork part of the job, and no one ever has. In the 80 years (starting in 1937) since US truckers were compelled to keep their HOS logs on paper, it was seen as the most tedious, irritating, error-prone, and disappointing part of the job.
With ELD, record keeping for HOS is automated. Drivers get to reclaim the time they would have spent with a pencil and paper and put it into driving and making money. Of course, with the implementation of electronic logging, there will be a learning curve. However, studies find eliminating paperwork increases driving time by an average of 15 minutes per day. That’s not counting the increased time spent driving by rounding not to the nearest quarter-hour (as in the paper-log world), but to the nearest minute with an ELD.
That’s just the view from the cockpit. Back at the office, ELD also eliminates the administrative tasks around collecting, verifying, and submitting paper-and-pencil logs.
No matter what you think of ELD, it’s already slain the paperwork demon, and no one’s crying over that part.
ELD Makes Fleets More Efficient
The HOS (Hours of Service) information collected through ELDs helps fleet managers plan efficient routes and ensures drivers aren’t driving more -- or less -- than they should be.
This also helps fleet managers distribute jobs more fairly between drivers. While drivers are limited in the number of hours they can drive in a day, trucks are not. If a truck can be put in service by another driver who is underutilizing hours, fleets can become more profitable.
ELD Saves on Insurance
ELD can keep drivers safe through fewer accidents caused by fatigue. The insurance industry has taken notice. Some insurers have already offered discounts just for using ELD.
ELD helps drivers and fleet managers attain better CSA ratings, which directly results in better rates from many insurers. Considering a minor HOS violation can result in a 7-point CSA impact, everything ELD does to warn drivers in advance of their daily hours limitations helps.
A Step Into the Future
True, ELD has been one of the most divisive, enraging, and hard-fought regulatory changes to ever touch the trucking industry. But really, ELD offers the possibility of revolutionizing the industry by reducing downtime, increasing efficiency, and improving safety.
One bold prediction: by the end of the year, the industry will wonder how we ever got along without ELD.