There are lots of regulations when it comes to transportation and logistics. One of the newest, the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule, was enacted by the U.S. Congress and went into effect on December 18, 2017. While this rule is designed to make shipping safer, it has also increased shipping costs for carriers and customers alike.
To start, let's break down what the ELD rule actually is.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA): “The electronic logging device (ELD) rule is intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier, faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data. An ELD synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time, for easier, more accurate hours of service (HOS) recording.”
The goal of this rule is to improve road safety by reducing driver fatigue, which can cause accidents. ELDs also eliminate paper logs by recording RODs and HOS information automatically. They’re tamper-resistant so that no one can alter the information. These devices also reduce the amount of paperwork drivers have to complete and keep dispatchers up-to-date on their driver’s status.
One of the biggest concerns about this rule is the cost associated with implementing the mandate. By requiring that trucks have an ELD without offering any type of compensation for doing so, this rule will increase the prices associated with shipping. Another factor is that there are fewer truck drivers on the road, and by limiting the time they can spend behind the wheel, overnight layovers are becoming more common. This also drives up the cost of shipping because companies must charge for the time. If they don’t, they can lose drivers, and that can cripple their company.
The ELD rule applies to drivers and carriers who are already required to maintain RODS as well as commercial buses and trucks.
Another expectation is for trucks that are already equipped with an Automatic on-board recording device (AOBRD). Instead of switching immediately, these trucks have two extra years to implement an ELD. That means that their new ELDs must be installed by December of 2019.
For trucking companies, the ELD will become a very beneficial tool. Along with monitoring and recording information about RODs and HOS, ELDs will provide valuable information that can increase their return on investment. This technology has a number of features that can help trucking companies gain insights about their trucks and drivers. By using wireless data plans, cloud analytics platforms, and connections to vehicles telematics, companies will be able to collect information about engine diagnostics and send it to a cloud-based server where it can be analyzed. This will help prevent breakdowns before they happen and keep trucks on the road.
Another benefit that ELDs will provide for trucking companies is that it will give them the ability to monitor their drivers’ behavior. By doing this, companies will be able to curtail costly driving habits, like hard breaking or fast acceleration, which can result in big savings on gas and repairs.
On the flip side, this rule will drive up the prices of transportation and logistics. Customers can expect to pay more because companies must pay to install and maintain the equipment. It also adds time to deliveries by limiting how long a truck driver can stay on the road, which also affects prices.
The ELD rule was designed to keep our roads safer for truck drivers and for regular motorists. And while it will make shipping slightly more expensive, it can also help drivers avoid fatigue and collisions, turning these short-term expenses into long-term investments for all of us.