Is your business ready for the ELD Mandate?

Is your business ready for the ELD Mandate?

Around three million truck drivers working for American industries will need to log their hours electronically from the end of this year as new rules for recording and logistics planning come into effect.

The group most affected by the rule change from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will be those that carry freight to Canada and Mexico. Commercial buses and trucks also need to record their journeys and working hours better.

The electronic logging device mandate

The electronic logging device (ELD) regulations specifically refer to records of duty status (RODS) which carriers and drivers will need to complete. These logs look at their movements and working patterns over 24 hours, noting periods of off-duty.

This process had traditionally been recorded on paper records but the system is now moving online. When all of the provisos in the law are considered together they could entirely change the way the trucking industry works.

Here’s a quick run-down on the costs and benefits of the new system.

On the plus side, the ELD will:

• Prevent an estimated 1,500 crashes, 475 injuries, and 22 deaths each year attributed to drivers overworking or pushing themselves too hard.

• Allow carriers access to more data about the way their operations work; and potentially offer more efficient strategies.

In the other corner the new regulation may:

• Mean there’s less time in the schedule for “dwell time” as items are being unloaded and offloaded. This will help drivers get a better deal in terms of their hours or service but will require highly-efficient business processes to get right.

• Create a new enthusiasm for team driving. Trucks which have pairs of drivers can stay on the road for longer as the more refreshed of the two takes over after the first works his shift. This could have an overall effect on the number of drivers available.

• Prompt smaller companies that don’t want or can’t manage to comply to instead close their business.

• See companies raise their shipping costs to make up for investing in the technology and processes behind the new rules. There may also be additional costs due to a lack of drivers.

How can businesses prepare for the ELD mandate?

• If you employ or work with truckers or drivers then you need to start useful conversations with them now about compliance and what it means. Do it now and you will have plenty of time to make the correct arrangements.

• When you’re having these conversations, be clear about what you expect and what level of evidence you will ask them to provide. Spend some time going over the different documents and know what you’re asking for to make sure you’re compliant.

• Consider offering the transportation and shipping firms you work with extra support. This could be an opportunity to reshape relationships for the future. This could work in your favour as the changes loom.

The ELD Mandate is a big change that cannot be ignored until just before the deadline. Taking smart action now will put you in the best position to keep your business and goods moving smoothly.