In 2017 the ELD mandate went into effect, with the required transition from paper logbooks to electronic logging devices. As might be expected, this led to some resistance. In every occupation, people who learn that they will have to make a change in how they perform their jobs can be apprehensive that those changes will be difficult to make. Others may contend that there’s no need to alter procedures that have worked well so far. And a few will believe that this is an unfair intrusion into how they carry out their work.
But the transition from paper logbooks to ELDs offers real benefits for drivers.
Not a new regulation -- a new technology
In the United States, commercial vehicle drivers have been required to keep a record of their hours of service (HOS) for more than 80 years. The ELD mandate is not a new regulation in that sense – it is actually a change in the tools used to comply with this rule.
These new tools make compliance much simpler as well as more accurate. ELDs reduce the hours of paperwork that drivers have been compelled to keep up. ELDs also decrease potential errors, so that fleet managers and drivers are less likely to receive requests from the authorities to correct their logs. That can help cut down on the additional administrative work that sometimes this requires.
Faster, easier, less work
For commercial drivers, the difference between paper logbooks and ELDs is an advance in technology comparable to the contrast between sending handwritten letters through the mail, and emails or texting. Very few drivers would willingly give up their tablets or smart phones and write letters to communicate.
To help drivers recognize why ELDs provide them with distinct advantages over written logs, fleet managers can address their concerns directly.
Is the technology hard to learn?
ELDs are user-friendly. Automated functions and easy-to-follow prompts and procedures make operation simple -- less complicated than the range of functions and commands in a typical smart phone, which most drivers use every day.
Do ELDs make driving more complicated?
With an ELD, a driver has far less to keep track of every day than when using paper logbooks. Electronic automated functions, set-and-forget features, and automatic alerts allow the device to do the work -- in contrast to paper logs that mean keeping track of miles and hours, watching the time to know when to stop, and remembering to separate the drive time from on-duty hours and rest periods.
Electronic logging devices also compile this information in a format designed for quick inspection on the display screen or transferred electronically. Drivers can spend fewer hours at vehicle inspection stations, allowing more on-road time.
These time-saving and labor-saving advantages have the effect of giving a driver more hours in a day, for driving or off duty. In any job, workers are pleased to reduce the amount of paperwork they have to do -- and drivers who use ELDs feel the same.
Do ELDs invade my privacy?
Electronic logging devices record information that drivers already document. The federal regulations in the ELD mandate include specified privacy provisions, such as muting of sleep and off-duty hours, and limited location tracking when off duty. There are also protections against others making changes to the record except with the driver’s consent.
Additionally, none of the data on record is shared with law enforcement or similar agencies. Safeguards protect this information.
Do ELDs make it harder to keep a job?
ELDs help protect drivers’ rights. They provide data that can act as evidence against false claims. An electronic logging device produces a completely objective history of driver performance. For a good driver this can be a career builder, a documented verification of work practices based on fact instead of opinion.