The adoption of federally mandated electronic logging devices has been a major transition for the trucking industry, but at this point it appears that most longhaul truckers are now using the technology to track their hours of service.
While it’s still too soon to get a complete sense of where the industry stands with respect to ELD compliance, the early indications have been positive as enforcement tightens.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance recently estimated that the compliance rate has climbed to roughly 95%.
That would be a huge increase in electronic-log deployment from just a couple of years ago, when a majority of truck drivers were still using paper logbooks to record their duty status, according to most estimates at the time.
The federal ELD mandate went into effect Dec. 18, but the real teeth of the regulation kicked in on April 1, when inspectors could begin placing drivers out of service for operating without an ELD.
Two days after that stricter enforcement began, Transport Topics staff reporter Eric Miller visited an inspection site in Dumfries, Va., where all of the trucks stopped that day had a compliant logging system in place.
The drivers who passed through that site were using a variety of devices, ranging from one of the many mobile app-based ELDs that have appeared on the market to an older e-log system categorized as an automatic onboard recording device, or AOBRD, which is grandfathered under the regulation until December 2019.
Surely there continue to be some stragglers and procrastinators that continue to operate without ELDs, and may simply have been lucky in dodging roadside inspections thus far, but it’s clear that a huge swath of the industry has successfully made the switch from paper logbooks to ELDs.
In the coming weeks and months, we’ll gain a better understanding of just how many carriers are complying with the mandate.
We’ll also learn more about how much the ELD mandate has affected freight capacity by improving adherence to existing HOS limits, particularly given the current high demand for trucking services.
But one thing that is already clear is that longhaul trucks, by and large, are now moving the nation’s freight with ELDs or AOBRDs in their cabs.