For years, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been facing pushback from the trucking industry over mandated electronic logging devices, but after all the appeals and protests, the time is finally set. Starting December 17, 2017, long haul truckers must have ELDs installed in their vehicle to electronically monitor that hours-of-service requirements and other regulations are followed.
The American Transportation Research Institute’s 2016 survey placed ELD as the trucking industry’s number one issue. Because of the average independent owner-operator’s thin profit margins, the ELD has created considerable concern for penalties for drivers who surpass the specified hours of service. In the long run, trucking company owners are worried about how the device will reduce their competitiveness. In the short run, they are concerned about the costs of the devices, installation, and monthly maintenance fees, along with finding the right model for their trucking company’s needs.
However, since the implementation of this regulation seems inevitable, some trucking companies are working toward accepting the change and trying to make the best of it. It’s true that in our digital age, paper logs seem like something from the past. Some experts believe that the ELD will be more efficient and accurate than paper logbooks. They also say that these devices will help protect motor carriers from potential unsafe driving behaviors due to lack of sleep.
The FMSCA has released a list of compliant ELDs that range from basic models to highly sophisticated systems. Some ELDs provide other services such as importing data instantly for IFTA fuel reporting. Another benefit comes from the ease of collecting electronic vehicle inspection reports. Large fleets are looking to order more sophisticated and more expensive ELDs that can also deliver services such as helping to reduce idling time and improving miles per gallon.
Some drivers at large fleets are happy for the ELDs to take time-consuming reporting work out of their hands. They also are glad to have dispatchers clearly see that drivers cannot be forced to work more than the prescribed number of hours per week. These protections also will filter down to shippers’ compliance with regulations as their demands for faster deliveries will be limited to the realities of hours-of-service requirements. Detention times at loading docks will also be spotlighted through ELD records, helping drivers.
Today’s ELD mandates will add a new twist to the average trucker’s routine, but one aspect of a motor carrier’s work will never change. That’s the need to find loads and stay loaded. FreeFreightSearch.com, the world’s largest free load board, matches up carriers with loads at no cost whatsoever. It takes just a moment to register and start searching for loads at FreeFreightSearch.com.
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