During an educational session at this year’s American Trucking Associations (ATA) Management Conference and Exhibition (MCE) in Las Vegas, Nevada, three carriers gathered to share their insights on lessons learned after adopting elogs early in their businesses.
Moderated by Megan Bush, ATA Manager of Safety Policy, the panel recommended four items businesses can consider now to prepare for the ELD mandate deadline:
- Don’t leave it out of the project plan
Make sure electronic logbooks are included in your budget and operational outlook for the coming year. Leaving the purchase of hardware and associated software for the last minute can potentially hurt other areas of business.
- Transition through an automatic on-board recording device
“Look at providers who have an AOBRD solution now that can help roll out the ELD to your fleet when hardware requirements are clearly announced by the FMCSA,” said one panelist. Both an AOBRD and an ELD record driver hours of service. AOBRDs are currently regulated by the federal government in rule 395.15. However, they do not have an integral connection to a vehicle’s engine control module (ECM) and lack verification of data. Although they do not meet the requirements that will be in effect on the ELD final date, as an interim measure AOBRDs can help in acclimating drivers to electronic record keeping. In fact, fleets that adopt AOBRDs before the December 18, 2017 deadline have the opportunity to extend full ELD adoption by two years, allowing carriers extra time for driver and staff training.
Elogs presented in the ELD mandate require a diagnostic connection to the vehicle’s ECM through either a JBUS port or an OBD-II port. This connection enables the ELD to automatically record information about the vehicle and its driver including when the vehicle starts and stops, fuel use, maintenance needs, regular and irregular usage, and safety performance. An ELD essentially creates a portrait of a driver’s work day.
- Implement a training program for drivers and administrative staff
Before enforcing the technology throughout your organization, allot time to coach and train staff members and other electronic logbook users. This can prevent surprises and unwanted resistance. One panelist recommended implementing a trial program with one driver in the organization who holds respect and seniority among other drivers. Let the senior driver test out the electronic log and discover its ease of use. He/she can become the champion of the technology within the organization and serve as a “salesman” for ELD adoption across the fleet.
- Choose a provider wisely
The panel unanimously stated that businesses “should have started looking for an HOS provider yesterday.” Time is running short and the ELD mandate deadline is fast approaching. They urged audience members to do their research and look for providers who have been in the business for a considerable amount of time, developed a favorable reputation and a well-established technology suite. “There seems to be a lot of new players out there,” said one panelist. “Look at your business and ask, ‘Do I just want compliance? Or do I want to gain other things like data and efficiency?’”
To learn more about getting your fleet road compliant, visit: ELD Compliance