On Dec. 18, the electronic logging device rule will take effect, marking an important step forward for the trucking industry.
This transition from an outdated paper-and-pen system of logging driving hours to modern-day technology is, quite frankly, long overdue. Since Congress first passed this legislation five years ago — and twice more in 2015 — the rule has been legislated, promulgated and litigated. The Department of Transportation has made it clear that it stands ready to enforce the ELD requirement come December.
The No. 1 priority of American Trucking Associations is the safety of our drivers and the motoring public, which is why we have devoted our energy to ensuring this policy takes effect without further delay. A 2014 study commissioned by FMCSA found that ELD-equipped carriers saw hours-of-service violations cut in half and an 11.7% reduction in crash rates. Because ELDs are more accurate and more difficult to falsify than paper logbooks, carriers will be more apt to comply with hours-of-service and drivers will be better rested. Fewer fatigued drivers means fewer crashes and fewer fatalities on our roads.
NEXT STEPS: The ELD mandate is almost here
ELDs also create a more level playing field across the industry. When some rogue operators openly flout hours-of-service rules, it puts honest carriers at an unfair economic disadvantage. Effective enforcement of hours-of-service will help ensure all carriers play by the same set of rules.
While a few vocal opponents in the industry have spread misinformation about ELDs to avoid hours-of-service compliance, this simple fact is indisputable: No driver or carrier who honestly logs their time will need to change anything come Dec. 18, other than the manner in which they record their hours — moving from inaccurate, time-consuming, manual paper logbooks to more precise, automatic, electronic ones.
In fact, we have heard from our members that drivers come to rely on the ease of these devices as soon as they become familiar with them, to the point where they refuse to go back to paper logs.
The future success of any industry depends in large part on the ability to adapt to and embrace technological change. For trucking, ELDs are a small but significant piece of that equation — a platform that can yield enormous benefits well beyond the realm of safety. Data empowers us to make better informed decisions, helping fleets — and shippers — to optimize operations and realize cost- and time-saving efficiency.
As the implementation date draws near, it is imperative fleets prepare for compliance. As you’ll see in this Transport Topics special report, there is no shortage of vendor options for carriers. The price of these devices has dropped significantly, with several vendors now offering solutions with no up-front hardware costs.
The time has come for our industry to move forward with ELDs. Together we will usher in a safe, efficient and fair playing field for trucking.