In the logistics industry, the buzz around the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate is steadily growing as we near the December 18, 2017 deadline for compliance. In this post, we’ll give you a brief primer on the ELD mandate and how it can impact shippers.
What is the ELD Mandate?
Commercial truck and bus drivers will be required by the U.S. Department of Transportation to log Hours of Service electronically.
What is the Goal of the Mandate?
The goal is to make the roads safer by accurately recording Hours of Service (HOS). Drivers will no longer be able to falsify paper logbooks and drive more than HOS regulations allow (and thereby drive fatigued).
What do Proponents Say?
Those in support of the mandate say that using the technology is a no-brainer from a safety standpoint and a business standpoint. They point to the 36,818 citations for falsified driver logs in 2016 (a 9.6% increase from 2015) as just one example of the ineffectiveness of the paper-based system.
What do Opponents Say?
Those against the mandate say that some small and independent trucking companies can’t afford the cost associated with ELDs: the purchase and installation of the equipment, and the driver training. This can result in fewer drivers involved in the supply chain. Others worry that, even if all drivers stay on the road, the mandate will limit productivity in general (albeit by preventing drivers who may have taken advantage of the paper log system from doing so any longer). The mandate has already been challenged in an Appeals court. The challenge was rejected but those behind the lawsuit hope for the challenge to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
How does the Mandate Affect SalSon?
SalSon is ahead of the curve. Every truck in the SalSon fleet is equipped with an Omnitracs (Qualcomm) unit which, among other things, automates driver logs. While we do follow the ELD-related developments with interest, we are happy to report that we were early adopters of ELD technology.
How does the Mandate Affect You, the Shipper?
As a shipper, you will need to make sure that your carrier(s) is compliant with the mandate – preferably well in advance of the deadline. Some independent truckers and small motor carriers are waiting to see if the courts will overturn or delay the mandate before ELD adoption. Here's the problem with that: Installing ELD technology is not like flipping a switch. Dispatchers and drivers need to be trained. If you rely on carriers that are slow to adopt, you could be at risk of non-compliance. Also, capacity at these carriers may dwindle as HOS shortens carrier networks. To avoid risk, shippers are better off aligning with carriers, like SalSon, who have ELD compliance well in hand.