The ELD Mandate is now in effect. You either love it or you hate it. The mandate has caused much anxiety, frustration, and annoyance amongst drivers and fleet owners alike. Many fleet owners feel that the ELD Mandate has created countless new rules that only slow them down and cripple their efficiency; however, it doesn’t have to be that way.
The ELD Mandate can benefit your business in a positive way. One of the best new rules coming out of the ELD Mandate is the required used of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). Fleet owners must install ELDs in all their trucks before the end of 2017.

Some drivers refer to the ELDs as the “little black box.” The ELD must be built and certified to specific FMCSA requirements and be tamper-proof and securely connected to the truck’s engine. The ELD must log all engine activity including:

  • Engine on and running duration
  • Truck moving
  • Truck speed
  • Truck location and trip history

Many ELDs are built to also record and report additional data like engine health, tire pressure, and seat belt use.

Also Read: The Electronic Logging Device Mandate: What You Need to Know
Installing an ELD into your truck has many benefits that you might not consider at first because you still may be balking at the cost. Trust us, we know those things are expensive!
Benefit #1: Driver Safety
ELDs are meant to help improve HOS compliance. You want to keep you drivers safe. Maintaining accurate HOS records can help minimize driver fatigue and reduce potential accidents. In a recent DOT study, data from 11 different carriers of varying sizes who have installed ELDs in their trucks found that the number of crashes was reduced by over 11%. Additionally, EHSR-equipped trucks had 53% less driving-related HOS violations saving drivers and fleets money.
Benefit #2: Unsafe or Wasteful Driving Alerts
Electronic logging devices can help alert fleet owners and managers if unsafe and wasteful driving is occurring during a haul. Hard braking is an indicator of potentially hazardous situations. Hard braking, or stop-go driving, can decrease your MPG by up to 30% costing you more money in the end.
Benefit #3: Reduce Speeding
Speed is the number one factor is almost 1/3 of all fatal crashes. ELDs can help reduce truck speed by alerting both the driver and the fleet manager back in the office about current speed. Some fleets have reported that they have been able to reduce speeding in their fleets by up to 90%. Reducing speeding not only saves the life of your driver, but also those on the roadways.
Benefit #4: Reduce Unproductive Idling
Unproductive idling occurs daily in trucker’s life. An electronic logging device can record the amount of time throughout the day your drivers let their trucks idle unproductively.
Benefit #5: Optimize Your Routes
Some ELDs, like Telogis, often route planning and navigation units that can benefit both you and your driver. Using tools like navigation can help you optimize your route for better efficiency and lower costs in fuel and time.   
Benefit #6: Save Fuel Money
Using an ELD in your trucks can help fleet owners to save money on fuel. Not only will you save money by reducing hard-braking, following optimized routes, and reducing speed, but you can also make sure you driver is using his or her fuel card for only authorized purchases and not for their own personal or fraudulent use.   
While the upfront cost of installing electronic logging devices in all your trucks may make you lose sleep at night, these little “black boxes” will save you money in the long run. Plus, we support anything that that makes the roads a safer place for truck drivers and everyone else. 

Comments (7)

Darrell Hirengen

Darrell is a general ledger accountant at ATBS. He received his Bachelor's degree in Accounting and is presently working on his Master's degree in accounting. Prior to joining ATBS he was an accounting associate for a large private food company. Outside of work Darrell likes to play video games and go camping.

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That was very well said, Ron Spring. I'm 66. I'm mature. I'm not a cowboy. Speed is not my goal; it's safety. As you said, I avoid traffic by driving those areas at night. I avoid storms even if I go out of route. Because I have paper logs, I can pull up to a fuel island, fuel and then move my truck to a parking spot instead of sitting at the fuel island for a half hour or more. I HATE ELD's!!!

July 24, 2016 19:22:04 PM

I have operated on both ELD's and paper logging devices. For an accountant to create this article is a myopic view of the topic.
I agree with James Guillame on most what he says. To have a real Professional driver, one should be able to manage your own risk and determine how the task needs to be done. In order to do this,the driver needs to be educated, mentored and coached into the proper way of "Thinking" or the right philosophy of life behind the wheel. Driver training 'mills' and company trained monkeys holding the wheel, do not qualify.
Point 1 - 11% less accidents - that would have to be over a length of time and be consistent to be an accurate measure.
- 53% less HOS violations - from what I see very few companies actually spend time training their operators about anything let alone doing the logbook.

Point 2 - Driving alerts - can be downloaded from the ECM or GPS unit - no real feat here.

Point 3 - Reduce speeding - as James alluded to, the ELD takes control away from the driver - they may not be 'speeding' above the limit, but are they driving too fast for conditions?? Many multiple times we see big fleet 65mph. governed units in the bush, off the roads and upside down - WHY? Driving too fast for conditions!! the psychology is in the drivers head " I HAVE to make my 70 miles today even if it kills me or someone else."
On paper logs we can travel through a major traffic centre at night and avoid the congestion in morning traffic. We can stay ahead of a storm until we get to safe area to park - BUT not on an ELD we can't.
And most of all, this time of year, while the accountants and management are going camping, we can regulate our travel to work around the tourist hordes - but not with an ELD.
Point 4 - reduced idling is just more control. Teach you drivers how to think and they will act in a more prudent manner - or get them the proper auxiliary equipment so they can rest better while OOS, due to the ELD layover

Point 5 - optimize routes - A good driver will have a plan to be efficient. Not necessarily will the quickest and smoothest route have the cheapest fuel. Too many times we hear of route planners making a driver travel extra miles -because fuel is cheaper. There is no regard in these big planner fleets for extreme weather, traffic or even overhead clearances - drivers like to get all the miles per day they can - not be travelling down a goat trail to save a mile.

In my line of work, we are not sure where this will go. we load and unload our own freight, deal with multiple customers and manage our workload. many is the day where we will see 5 or 6 hours work time, where we are actually working. there is no real provision for the flatbedders, pedallers, and odd size load carrier. the pin to pin box haulers seem to be the focus of all this utopia.
Last week, if I were to run ELD legal, because of all my picks and drops, I would still be 3 days away from home.
After 40 years of plying my trade, managing my life, doing my job - my employer trusts me to accomplish my tasks and the customers all go away happy. That is 40 years, no lost time accidents, 2 speeding tickets in a commercial unit and a few 'paper' violations.
Yes it can be done - but the industry needs to be recognized as a trade and get the participants educated instead of just "fogging up the mirror" and "holding the wheel"

July 24, 2016 19:11:59 PM

I have been using ELDs for 13 years and find your comments interesting. You do not address the impact ELDs have on those who actually use them, the drivers.
I do save a good deal of time daily by not filling out a paper log. DOT inspections are generally a non-issue concerning logs. That's the positive points.
The negatives: I will push harder than I sometimes should if tired or in bad weather because I cannot fudge my status at all, but still need to accomplish x amount per day. With paper logs, I would much more readily slow down then drive as required to make up the lost time, within reason.
If I do get sleepy during my driving time, I do not stop to take a nap due to the 14 hr rule. On paper I would make adjustments as required.
My company is very hands off with us drivers on a day to day basis. The idea of having another layer monitoring is pretty offensive. I've over 2 million safe miles and don't want a babysitter.
Has anyone considered the attitude of shippers/ receivers when ELDs are law? Appointment policy will necessarily have to change as will parking on site after driver runs out of hrs while at the dock. Traffic patterns may change since drivers will not have the choice to go through cities at off peak hours as they now may.
ELDs are not all bad, but there are definitely some major changes coming to some very basic operations in trucking when they become law.

March 22, 2016 16:56:36 PM

I agree it will level the playing field. It definitely helps with more rest.

February 26, 2016 5:37:35 AM

I don't agree. I'm against ELD's and hope Ooida prevails in court against their mandated use.

February 21, 2016 10:09:56 AM

Great article. ELD's will put every driver and company on the same level. keeping everyone legal.

February 18, 2016 20:37:37 PM

I am in favor of ELDs, but in truth engine reports can give you much of this info.

February 16, 2016 20:23:46 PM