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11/16/2016 10:00:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

ELD Mandate to Boost Technology Adoption, but Surge in Demand Could Pose Challenges

Seth Clevenger/Transport Topics
ATLANTA — The upcoming federal mandate of electronic logging devices will spur a dramatic increase in technology adoption next year, but implementation could be messy as many carriers continue to wait as long as possible before installing the devices, analysts and technology vendors said.

The ELD mandate will drive “truly hockey stick growth” in the trucking telematics sector, analyst Clem Driscoll said here Nov. 15 during the annual Connected Fleets USA conference hosted by TU Automotive.

He estimated that carriers will deploy more than 1 million ELDs in the United States next year to comply with the regulation, which requires trucking firms to replace paper logbooks with electronic logs to record drivers’ hours of service by Dec. 18, 2017.

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Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued its final ELD rule nearly a year ago, demand for ELDs thus far “has been pretty limited,” said Driscoll, who is president of telematics research and consulting firm C.J. Driscoll & Associates. “Most small fleets and owner-operators appear to be in no rush.”

That cuts down the amount of time left for carriers to deploy ELDs and also raises questions about whether technology providers will be able to meet the surge in demand expected in late 2017, he said.

Driscoll also predicted that some carriers who oppose the mandate may risk operating without an ELD after the compliance date “just to see what happens.”

While most large fleets have already implemented electronic logs, adoption rates are much lower among smaller carriers, many of which will likely wait until December 2017 to install the devices, said Fred Fakkema, vice president of compliance at Zonar Systems, a Seattle-based telematics provider.

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By Seth Clevenger
Technology Editor

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