Yes, any fleet that has not already installed electronic logging devices in its trucks still has time. Still, getting ahead of the mandate requiring the switch from paper logbooks to ELDs offers benefits beyond avoiding a rush to compliance.
There’s still a lot of resistance among drivers who see ELDs as the equivalent of Big Brother looking over their shoulder. In fact, fleets that have already made the switch found that once they started using them, drivers found that the devices made their workday easier and more productive. Some fleets have found that introducing the devices on a few vehicles at a time, with drivers who have the ear of their colleagues, can ease the transition period.
The long-run savings due to reduced paperwork and time saved have been estimated at $700 per truck per year. But the main reason that the FMCSA wanted an ELD mandate was to increase safety on the road, and fleet managers know that even minor accidents have significant costs in time lost and repairs. While initial implementation does come with a price tag, fleets with multiple vehicles can spread that cost of business over a two-year time period before the mandate goes into effect.
Nothing gets more frustrating for drivers and fleet managers than disputes about wait times. ELDs provide a documented record of wait times at shippers and receivers, giving the carrier stronger standing when discussing detention times with customers. One small carrier believes that can ultimately lead to an industry standard of including detention pay in customer contracts.
Fleet managers can also get a clear picture of driver availability, and with the robust systems now available, get enough information about the driver and vehicle to calculate the costs related to fuel, runs and driver behavior.