Most of us wouldn’t add “New Government Regulations” to our holiday wish list. We don’t like being told what to do, and besides that, change can be unsettling, expensive, or just plain annoying when you have a system in place.
Our point? Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) will be required by December 18 of this year for anyone who currently files a Record of Duty Status (RODS). This new system was announced two years ago, and now it’s go time—so let’s talk about this for a minute.
Paper logs have been in use since Hours of Service (HOS) compliance became a thing clear back in 1938, based on genuine concern for public and driver safety. The thing about paper logs is that we all have a friend who has a friend who has been clever enough to keep two of them—one to look compliant, the other to log enough time to keep food on the table back home.
The ELD makes that impossible.
And that’s the point.
Yes, we know you (or this friend of your friend) may be a driving machine who can safely navigate the highway for countless hours. But what about those dangerous drivers who only think they can? The new world of ELDs will force that guy to a rest stop, so you can both live to drive another day.
Some drivers decided to make the switch back when the mandate was first announced, and many of them report reduced overhead, lower insurance premiums, better fuel efficiency and more affordable operational costs—all while improving customer service and driver efficiency.
Hearsay isn’t enough for you to get excited? Then listen to this.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently found that commercial drivers using ELDs showed an 11.7% reduction in total crash rate, as documented in “Evaluating the Potential Safety Benefits of Electronic Hours of Service Recorders Final Report,” a report from the Center for Truck and Bus Safety of Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. We’d call that a significant improvement.
Besides making the highways safer, we believe you’ll see other benefits. Consider these points:
- Now you can log in…and drive. No paperwork to fill out, just doing what you do best. (You had dreams of hitting the open road, not being a bookkeeper.)
- Your status will be recorded down to the minute, rather than rounding up to 15 minutes like paper logbooks. You were back on the road by 3:49? That’s 11 more minutes of drive time.
- When first introduced, an ELD was around $2500/truck. Now they average about $500.
- Alerts sound, giving you time to plan where you want to pull over when you run low on hours.
- Don’t believe the rumors—an ELD doesn’t report violations to law enforcement. One thing it does instead? Makes roadside inspections go much more quickly.
- An ELD cannot shut down your truck or give information directly to the DOT. Only authorized trucking company employees can pinpoint a location. And that can be very helpful if you run into any trouble.
- Even the best drivers may not realize their habits of hard breaking, excessive acceleration and too much idling, all leading to fuel waste. ELDs help drivers operate more efficiently.
At Tallgrass Freight, we know the shipping industry is built on safe, efficient drivers. The FMCSA estimated that the new ELDs will save 26 lives and prevent over 560 injuries every single year. We consider that a change that’s worth compliance—and support.
If you have more questions about the mandate, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website.