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What Impact Will the ELD Rule Have on My Business? Rastrac Team | Feb 10, 2017 1:07:21 PM

One of the biggest questions about ELDs is what the impact will be for your fleet.If you’ve been following the RASTRAC blog or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) announcements for a while, then you probably know about the upcoming deadline for implementing Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) in carrier fleets. If not, check out our blog on the 3 Implementation Phases of ELD Compliance to get some background info.

Long story short, any driver or carrier who has to submit Records of Duty Status (RODS) reports for their Hours of Service (HOS) compliance will have to use a certified and registered ELD to record RODS data.

The question that many fleet managers (and business owners) have is this: what impact will ELDs have on my business?

The answer to this may vary depending on the size and nature of your vehicle fleet, but some of the potential impacts include:

Reduced Reliance On Paperwork

One of the goals of the ELD rule is to minimize paperwork. According to documents from the FMCSA’s files, “the Agency has determined that the use of ELDs can significantly reduce the amount of paperwork currently required of the CMV operator. The FMSCA [sic] believes that savings from the reduced paperwork will more than offset the costs of obtaining and maintaining minimally compliant ELDs.”

This paperwork savings will be made possible by:

  • Allowing records to be generated and stored electronically; and
  • Reducing the need for drivers to manually log RODS documents.

Fraudulent Time Entry Prevention

For larger fleets with more assets deployed at once, fuel theft and time card cheating are a major concern—which is why many larger fleets are already using ELDs and other tools to verify/replace paper-based reporting methods.

According to data from a survey cited by Logistics Viewpoints, “81% of large fleets with more than 250 trucks reported that they had achieved full ELD implementation, with the remaining 19% currently working towards implementation.”

However, this particular benefit may be less impactful for smaller fleets where fuel theft/fraud is less of a concern.

Loss of Drivers Over Pay Issues

One of the biggest pain points for many carrier fleets arising from the ELD rule is the concern that they could lose experienced drivers over the rule’s implementation.

Many fleets pay their drivers by miles traveled rather than by hours clocked—and the HOS rule tracks more than the time spent driving. Time spent at a work site waiting to unload or take on cargo could take away from the time allotted to driving; which would prevent drivers from earning as much money.

According to the survey cited by Logistics Viewpoints, “51% of carriers indicated that they have lost drivers who did not want to operate under ELDs… one carrier reported losing 50% of its drivers.”

This is a major concern, particularly for smaller carriers who may have difficulty replacing drivers. Some solutions to this could include altering the pay strategy used to reimburse drivers, or to start charging shippers that take up a disproportionate amount of time loading/unloading trucks.

Reduced Risk of HOS Violations

Because time entries will be logged automatically and ELD Rule-compliant devices will have a notification on login reminding drivers if they’re approaching their hours of service limit, ELDs can help reduce the risk of getting hit with HOS violations.

Improved Monitoring

An additional benefit of using ELDs is that they can increase a fleet manager’s ability to monitor assets in the field. This improves your ability to manage the fleet and maintain efficiency. This could help some fleets save fuel or enhance schedule adherence.

Utilization Rate/Capacity Reductions

On the other hand, some carrier fleets may see a reduction in their effective utilization rate for their fleets. This is because the stricter monitoring of logged time, even when the truck is stopped for loading/offloading operations, could reduce the number of miles a truck could travel in a week.

There are a lot of potential impacts from the new ELD rule, some positive, some negative. The truth is that many carrier fleets may have to significantly alter the way they do business to keep up with the new rule.

However, those that implement early and ease their drivers and managers into working with ELDs will be in a better position than those that put off ELD implementation until the last minute.

Learn more about the ELD Rule and how you can get an ELD-compliant system in place for your fleet today!

What do you need to know to stay ELD compliant?


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