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1/22/2016 4:15:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

ELDs Are Coming; Don’t Be Left in the Dust

Rand McNally
This story appears in the Jan. 11 print edition of iTECH, a supplement to Transport Topics.

It’s been discussed, debated and awaited for years, but the federal mandate for electronic logging devices has finally taken shape. After several delays, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration last month published a final rule that will require commercial carriers to replace paper logbooks with ELDs designed to automatically record drivers’ hours of service.

Although the rule is being challenged in court, it is scheduled to go into effect in December 2017, which would give carriers and technology suppliers two years to prepare.

BEST OF JANUARY iTECH: More stories, columns

It appears that in most cases, fleets that already have made the transition to electronic logs likely would be able to comply with the rule through software updates for their current systems rather than switching to new hardware.

However, carriers that have not yet installed logging devices in their trucks would need to do so in the next 23 months.

While that may sound like plenty of time, first-time adopters of onboard technology should not underestimate the amount of work that lies ahead.

First, they will need to investigate the many different types of ELDs on the market, weigh the costs and benefits and decide which option is best for their operations.

Once carriers select a system, they face the task of implementing it across their fleets.

Another important step that shouldn’t be overlooked is ELD training for drivers and dispatchers who may be unfamiliar with them.

Procrastinators who wait until the final months to begin this process could find themselves struggling to manage a rushed ELD implementation.

The time to start planning is now.

A wide array of ELD products is available today, and the menu of options will surely expand as suppliers look to serve the vast market created by the rule.

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By Seth Clevenger
Technology Editor

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