Fleet Trucking Business

The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) published the electronic logging device rule, also known as the ELD mandate, in December 2015. As a result, all commercial motor vehicles were to be equipped with electronic logging devices (ELDs) or Automatic On-Board Recorder Devices (AOBRDs) by the end of December 2017.

However, the ELD mandate did not reinvent the wheel! It merely offered a boost to the Hours of Service (HOS) compliance. One can think of the ELD mandate as an upgrade that is a product of its time as technology adoption is an ongoing industrial trend.

Since the ELD mandate has come to effect, several business owners have been wondering as to how it may affect their operations. This post will demystify how the ELD mandate affects the fleet trucking businesses.

How Does the ELD Mandate Affect the Fleet Trucking Business

Ever since its announcement, the ELD mandate has been a topic of heated debates. Despite the passage of considerable time since the mandate came into effect, there is still a certain amount of confusion regarding the advantages and disadvantages of this law:

1. Cost of Compliance

As a business owner, one of the first concerns arise around the financial liabilities that come with the need to purchase ELDs for your entire fleet. Considering that an ELD setup costs about $495 per truck, that’s a massive investment!

However, FMCSA states that ELDs will contribute to $1.6 billion per annum in savings due to less paperwork. Further, asset tracking through ELDs will also help companies save on fuel costs, reduced downtime, and better safety.

So, it is speculated that the installation of ELDs will pay for itself in the long run.

2. Enhanced Safety and Better Compliance

Safety is one of the primary factors that have pushed the cause in favor of the ELD mandate. Thanks to the ELD mandate, drivers will no longer be overworked and will operate in safer work environments. There will be fewer HOS violations, fewer collisions, quicker inspections, and fewer lawsuits.

The FMCSA states that the ELD mandate can save about 20 lives and prevent 434 injuries per year. Thus, it becomes apparent that the ELD mandate not only is in favor of drivers, trucking businesses but also supports general commuters who travel by road.

3. Less Documentation and Paperwork

One of the greatest advantages of introducing ELDs to your fleet management tools come in the form of less paperwork! As ELDs will be connected through networks and the internet, it will be easier to maintain a digital record of data. As a result, fleet managers and business owners will have to deal with lesser documentation.

At the same time, since everything will be recorded automatically, this data will be accurate and devoid of human-man errors. Furthermore, drivers will be spared from all the paper logs as they can switch to an E log that will capture data electronically and in real-time.

4. Easier IFTA Calculation

Manually calculating your IFTA reports is not only tedious but also something that requires intense concentration. A slip up here or there could cost your business dearly.

Before filing your IFTA reports, you have to assiduously go through the trip sheets of the previous quarter and make calculations of the distance traveled by your vehicles in each jurisdiction. Having to manage all this could result in errors.

Fortunately, you can source details from the ELDs to get accurate results on these data sets. Several ELD systems also offer integration with your fleet management tools and have the capacity to calculate your IFTA reports automatically.

5. Improved CSA Scores

The ELD mandate could be your path to improving your CSA (Compliance, Safety, and Accountability) Score. The CSA score depends on your previous two years’ worth of data that contribute to a percentile-based ranking system that denotes the risk-taking behavior of your drivers.

ELDs monitor driver behavior and help minimize violations. Once you have the ELDs in place, your CSA score will automatically climb up. High CSA scores will help you land insurance easily and get lower rates. On the other hand, low CSA scores will make insurers wary of your business, so be ready to shell out high premiums for non-compliance.

6. Lower Insurance Rates

You may think that the ELD mandate may result in you having to pay higher insurance premiums; the effect is quite the opposite. Insurance companies are lowering the premium and rates for companies that are ELD compliant.

One can attribute this to the decrease in CSA, which will make insurance more affordable. At the same time, the improved driver behavior and safety procedures will also establish trust in your business.

Ever since the publication of the ELD mandate, insurance companies are actively seeking trucking businesses that are ensuring ELD compliance. Thus, it may offer you a leg-up on landing a sweet deal on the insurance.

7. Productivity Boost

The FMCSA firmly believes that the ELD mandate will boost productivity and make the trucking industry more efficient. This productivity boost will be a result of the fact that ELDs will:
  • Reduce documentation and paperwork
  • Eliminate human errors and capture data accurately
  • Offer real-time data on dispatcher status and location
  • Fewer HOS violations
  • Risk mitigation through driver behavior analysis
  • Better resource allocation
As a result of the above, businesses can save as much as $2.44 billion per year! A streamlined process is, by far, one of the strongest arguments in favor of the ELD mandate.

Conclusion

Even before the publication of the ELD mandate, several trucking businesses were already tapping into the potential offered by ELDs. While some drivers may face issues in adapting to the digital transformation, the transition will take place smoothly. Moreover, one can get better with technology when they use it more often.

The best way to deal with this change would be through training programs that will educate the drivers on the usage of ELDs and its benefits. Once the drivers understand how ELDs will make their work easier, safer, and more efficient, they will be more willing to warm up to this technology!