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11/21/2016 3:45:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Expected Surge in ELD Demand Could Lead to Messy Rollout

Seth Clevenger/TT

This story appears in the Nov. 21 print edition of Transport Topics.

ATLANTA — The upcoming federal electronic logging device mandate 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 the industry will deploy more than 1 million ELDs in the United States next year to comply with the regulation, which will require trucking companies to move from paper logbooks to electronic logs to record drivers’ hours of service by Dec. 18, 2017.

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 research and consulting firm C.J. Driscoll & Associates. “Most small fleets and owner-operators appear to be in no rush.”

Some may have been awaiting the outcome of a lawsuit filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association seeking to overturn the rule. A federal appeals court upheld the mandate Oct. 31, denying OOIDA’s challenge.

Meanwhile, as the time left for carriers to deploy ELDs dwindles, questions arise about whether technology providers will be able to meet the surge in demand expected in late 2017, Driscoll said.

He 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 already have implemented electronic logging, adoption rates are much lower among smaller carriers, many of which likely will 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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