Increased regulatory oversight is generally unpopular in any industry, and the overwhelming response to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) proposal last spring was no different. The proposal to mandate electronic logging devices (ELDs) was met with outrage, skepticism, and many threats to leave the industry. As with most mandates, the proposal was aimed at increasing safety and compliance, to find a way to ease the burden of filling out paper logs, and increase accuracy in record keeping. While many drivers initially railed against it, they have now seen the light.
The basic ELD proposal is the requirement that drivers who fill out paper logs must eventually switch to electronic logs. The proposal also covers technical standards for the devices and the supporting documents that regulators need to confirm compliance. And it sets requirements to ensure that electronic logs are not used to harass drivers.
At Calhoun Truck Lines, we eased the transition with increased training and interaction with drivers, spending more time in the field, working one-on-one with drivers to ensure compliance. We’ve successfully implemented ELDs in our fleet and experienced positive outcomes across the board:
- Less than 10% of our fleet left the company due to this change.
- Drivers who were most skeptical of implementing ELDs have embraced the technology, suggesting that they would never go back to running a paper log.
- There has been no noticeable impact on the average driver’s earning potential.
- Many drivers have found that there are some areas in which they were not logging correctly prior to the change. Now, that is not a concern and they do not have to worry about receiving those types of violations.
With the enactment of the new reduced hours of service mandate, combined with incorporating ELDs into everyday use, it’s no wonder that some drivers have been reluctant to accept the technology. With more drivers finding that the devices simplify the overall process by taking “guesswork and burden” out of determining number of hours, ELDs also provide a better way to plan, and help owner-operators boost their productivity.