Widely reported and highly anticipated, December 18th marked the beginning of the phase-in compliance timeline for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule. We at James J. Williams Bulk Transport began the transition in 2009, eight years ahead of the FMCSA rule, because we are believers in the benefits of using ELDs in trucks:
ELDs help truck drivers get more time on the road
There are a lot of ways tanker truck drivers can benefit from the efficiencies of ELDs, efficiencies that can mean more time on the road – which for truck drivers, means higher pay:
- The FMCSA estimates that a driver saves an average of 20 hours per year using ELDs over paper logs.
- Drivers can save another 5 – 10 hours of drive time every week by rounding to the nearest minute for stops, instead of the nearest 15 on paper logs.
- Check-calls and sending hours to dispatch are all handled through the ELD, and if a driver needs to call anyway, all compliance information is available in one place.
- ELDs can help expedite inspections by standardizing Hours of Service data, eliminating recording errors and automating the compliance process – all of which helps get drivers get back on the road faster.
ELDs help truck drivers enjoy time off the road, too
For solo truck drivers, an ELD can act as an in-cab personal assistant, keeping track of a driver’s time on the road and maximizing their time management:
- Drivers get audio and visual notifications ahead of break times, so they can be on the lookout for a nice spot to pull off the road and relax.
- ELDs also notify drivers when their 11-hour work day is about to run out, helping them avoid an overtime infraction.
ELDs help truck drivers and trucking companies keep their names clear
ELDs are the most reliable witnesses on the road. Like any other recording device, they track what’s happening, they don’t lie and they don’t misremember:
- The ELD acts as a “black box.” It accurately records driver and vehicle behavior before, during, and after an accident.
- The information recorded by the logging device is tamper-proof, so its testimony can be entered into the legal record. This makes it easy for carriers to reconstruct accidents and defend against litigation where the fault belongs to the other driver.
- The logging device allows dispatchers to access driver locations and ETAs. No calls required and no distraction to operators when a customer requests an updated delivery time.
- Automated tracking also allows the carrier to dispute questionable claims regarding on-time delivery. The ELD knows that a truck has been waiting at the delivery point, and for how long.
ELDs save money and may help drivers earn it—
- HOS fines will be easier to avoid.
- Compliance fines will become rarer.
- Time-sensitive incentives will be easier to manage.
All things considered, the benefits of using ELDs in trucks outweigh the challenges of learning a new information management system for both truck drivers and trucking companies. Simplified processes, expedited activities, and accurate tracking are just a few of the benefits. Thanks to implementing ELDs as a normal part of our business protocol, we expect to see continued significant operating cost savings throughout 2018. And with the option to devote more hours to drive time, our drivers expect to get paid more money thanks to ELDs. Change can be difficult, but the James J. Williams team is up to the challenge.