Nostradamus aside, no one truly knows their future. But there is one industry that does. In 2017, the trucking industry will be asked to embrace a very defined future. Drivers who now use paper logs to track time behind the wheel will be required, by law, to start using electronic logging devices (ELDs) instead.
Wait, What the Heck is the ELD Rule?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ELD ruling requires commercial motor vehicle operators to use electronic logging devices to automatically record a driver’s driving time and Hours of Service (HOS). Typically, these devices connect to a truck’s engine control module (ECM) and report whether the engine is running. When the vehicle is moving, the ELD logs the number of miles driven, how long the engine has been idling, and whether the driver was “On” or “Off” duty.
Today, about half of all drivers are using paper logbooks to track their hours. But since such logbooks depend solely on reliable human input, the possibility for mistakes and/or “fudging” the logs are a major issue.
The FMCSA’s new ruling requires that virtually ALL commercial vehicles maintain ELDs instead of paper logs. It’s estimated the final rule will result in an annual net benefit of more than $2 billion – largely by reducing the amount of required industry paperwork.
Actually, ELD Has Been Around For Awhile…
Fleet managers began to use electronic logging devices to record hours of service in the mid-1980s. In 2010, the FMCSA published a final rule, “Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs) for Hours-of-Service Compliance,” requiring carriers with significant HOS violations to install EOBRs in their trucks.
As Always, Safety First!
Safety is the driving force behind the ruling. Driver fatigue is the leading cause of large truck accidents, so anything that helps the industry better monitor activity that leads to driver fatigue will help.
But Wait, There’s More!
While safety is obviously #1, there are other benefits for fleet managers that electronically monitor their vehicles. Once an electronic monitoring device is installed, it’s really up to the fleet manager to decide just how much information he or she wants to collect.
For instance, Geoforce’s Advanced Vehicle Tracking solutions can provide:
- Real-time location of the vehicle or asset for dispatch
- Speed of the vehicle versus posted speed limit of the roads
- Hard acceleration and harsh braking activity
- Arrival and departure of in defined geofenced “zones”
- Route analysis regarding trips, idle time, outside and inside “zones”, stops and driving durations
- Engine analysis regarding engine measurements, fault codes and diagnostics
The information collected allows fleet managers to do numerous things, including:
- Review timesheets and exceptions
- Compare planned versus actual schedules
- Limit unnecessary overtime
- Pay accurately
- Expedite resource and time consuming driver audits
Like it or not, the ELD mandates are on their way! So it’s time for fleet managers to take action. Our blog earlier this year presented what Geoforce offers related to ELDs, HOS, and DVIR. To learn more, contact Geoforce to discuss how we can help you comply with the new regulations and take your fleet tracking to the next level!