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Looking Both Ways

Look Both Ways - ELDs Around the Corner

By John Mueller, CDS
Posted Nov 25th 2015 1:45PM

ELD's – Electronic Logging Devices

Current Regulatory and Legislative mandate having negative effect on some truck drivers.

Please Click Here and play while reading this blog. Recent driver comments cause me to believe this song could set the tone expressing the attitudes of many commercial drivers. Implementation of ELD's is not the end of the world, and surely no reason to consider abandoning your trucking career. Let's get a grip on reality.

This post of Looking Both Ways will attempt to help you realize all the positives and negatives of these soon to be required devices. The Electronic Logging Device or ELD requirement will certainly leave a mark on the trucking industry as a huge game changer. I wish to help you better understand all the realities of these little devices. Too often people do not fully understand the reasoning behind policies and procedures and take offense and are reluctant to change. I want to help ease you into this, and do so intelligently. I'd feel successful if I helped just one driver a day make the transition to ELD's a little easier. Many of you are already using some sort of logging device. Most drivers who already transitioned to the ELDs actually like them, and say they could not go back to paper logs.

The Electronic Logging Device ruling will set the date that ELDs must be in use. Two years following the publication of the Final Rule will become the date by which fleets, owner-operators and drivers must be using electronic logging devices that satisfy the rule's requirements. Much easier to jump into this ELD pool now while the water is warm and figure out the best ways to navigate the waters. Waiting till the required mandate will most likely result in disaster. Learn now how to make the machine work to your advantage. Keep in mind that if you are against using ELD's because you need to "fudge" your logs that any good safety department or DOT inspector can find the inaccuracies in your paper logs – the ELD's just make the job a little easier.

ELDs installed in commercial motor vehicles can monitor and record vast data about the vehicle and its driver – not just Hours of Service. Because ELD's are connected to the vehicle's electronics the devices are able to report driver behavior on speeding and other actions. You may think it is just another example of Big Brother watching you, but like on board cameras which document drivers actions, this data can also protect you and prove your innocence.

The positive side of ELDs:
•Make drivers life much easier by reducing paperwork. As a professional driver you will no longer be required to prepare paper logs and update them each time your duty status changes. Some drivers spend countless hours attempting to re-do logs, or just catching up paper logs to submit to their carrier. Yea, I've caught you catching up a week's worth of logs.
•Eliminate the other headaches associated with keeping paper logs for the driver.
•Eliminate the headaches associated with keeping paper logs for the carrier, in addition to reduced labor costs.
•Eliminate the costs associated with submitting paper logs to your carrier (postage, Trip Pak).
•Reduce the number of "Form and Manner" HOS violations discovered in roadside inspections which help reduce carrier's CSA HOS Basic scores and keeps those pesky inspectors off your back. ELD's are kind of like "OFF" (Bug Repellant) to roadside inspectors (bugs).
•Reducing carrier's CSA HOS Basic scores reduces ISS (Inspection Selection System) scores which leads to less time spent in roadside inspections for drivers.
•Provide load planners or dispatchers with real time driver's status for better load planning and scheduling for drivers and shipments. Efficient scheduling should increase profits.
•Provide load planners and dispatchers verified proof of driver's detention times. This proof will enable carriers to bill shippers and receivers accurately for driver's detention times. Drivers will see such accessorial fees increase their pay.
•Provide drivers with additional legal duty status times as ELDs record by the minute as opposed to using full 15 minute increments on paper logs.
•Reduce possible carrier compliance reviews and potential penalties to carriers for HOS violations discovered during those reviews.
•Reduce possible carrier compliance reviews and potential penalties to DRIVERS for HOS violations discovered during those reviews. Yes, in case you were not aware, FMCSA may fine a driver during a carrier compliance review for such violations.
•Provide proof in a court of law that a driver and/or carrier were not negligent for violating the HOS rules following an commercial motor vehicle accident.

Violations of Hours of Service regulations discovered after an accident usually result in punitive damages. Insurance does not pay for punitive damages. Punitive damages are generally awarded for any negligence. The company can be held liable for the actions of its drivers and owner operators. Drivers, Owner Operators, and Operations or Dispatch personnel are not entitled to violate the HOS which could cause exposure to liability to the company or its owners.

The "negative" side of ELDs:
•The devices cost money.
•The devices require installation into the truck – this costs money in labor expenses.
•The software to operate the devices cost money and may require additional employee training.

Seems that the positives by far outweigh the negatives.

Confused about the differences between ELDs and Automatic On Board Recording Devices? Really AOBRDs are just devices that are legally compliant today. The FMCSA will allow fleets that have installed AOBRDs at the time the final rule is enacted to continue to use those devices until late 2019.

Disclaimer: This blog is NOT intended to give legal advice, nor be a substitute for any training required by the Regulations.
Till the next blog, Thank you drivers for all you do!. Please be safe!

Click here to read more of my blogs!
John Mueller, CDS, COSS


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