It’s no secret that opinion surrounding the federal government’s electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is heavily divided. While some businesses have embraced the plethora of information that ELDs can provide, others are vehemently opposed to this added level of regulation. Owner-operated fleets in particular are likely to view this mandate as an encumbrance, as ELDs place more control over how drivers use their time. It is easy to understand why these fleets are opposed to ELDs. Owner-operated fleets are independent businesses that may view the mandate, along with all federal regulations in general, as governmental interference.
It is important to remember that businesses will have two years to comply with the federal mandate. It will not be an overnight change and businesses will not be found to be in violation starting October 30th. There will be time to adjust to the new rule. Once ELDs have been implemented, owner-operators can decide how involved they want to be with the generated data. They can elect to simply record their hours of service as they would on paper logs. They can also integrate their ELDs into a larger fleet management system. There is the freedom to choose within ELD technology.
A larger point surrounding ELDs is the question of encroaching on driver’s territory. Drivers who have been working for decades are comfortable with how they do their job. They do not need a computer to assist them – this is the pervading thought in anti-mandate arguments. In the end, however, the purpose of the ELD mandate is not to cancel out a driver’s experience and common sense on the road. It is to make it easier for drivers to record their hours of service and businesses to see how to allocate their resources. Owner-operated fleets can decide how much or little data they want to incorporate in their operations. The choice is still theirs.
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