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Scary Elog Beliefs, Busted!

Data Blocks
Data Blocks

With Halloween on the calendar this is a good time to dispel some of the unsettling ideas that overshadow the coming deadline for implementing electronic logging devices. Most of these anxieties can be allayed with the application of a few facts.

Fleet managers and drivers have different concerns regarding ELDs. And as it turns out, in both cases the greatest fears are largely unfounded.

For managers, these misconceptions abound:

The technology will put a disturbing dent in the bottom line.

Yes, there is always a capital expense in upgrading systems or adding new ones. But the initial cost in elogs is quickly recouped by the money these devices save, in many ways.

What first comes to mind is not having to buy a truckload of paper forms every year—but even before that kicks in, commercial carriers will begin to see savings in operational efficiency. They won’t be using staff hours for filing and correcting paper logs. They won’t be filling shelf space with it. They won’t be hearing as often from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration about errors in the paperwork. They won’t be passing out as many pens to drivers.

More importantly, precise monitoring of driver hours can mean a decrease in expensive violations.

Training is a nightmare.

Learning how to use a device that replaces a manual function is not always that tough. Anybody who is handy at home repairs did not have much difficulty giving up a screwdriver for a power drill; welcomed it, in fact.

Most of the elogs being offered are user-friendly tools. They’re designed that way. And a few decades ago, many of us wouldn’t have believed that one day we would all be carrying—and using, without difficulty—mobile phones that are far more complex and multifunctional than mainframe computers were back then.

All my drivers are spooked by it.

There is some audible resistance out there concerning ELDs. But in any line of work, employees who do not want to learn new skills represent only a subset of the total. Those who are receptive to technological advances will find the prospect more appealing, and an opportunity to advance in their careers.

For the men and women behind the wheel, worries may include:

ELDs make normal driving strangely complicated.

It might seem that way before the driver tries out the technology. The fact is that a set-and-forget ELD is a whole lot simpler for a driver than having to keep track of miles and hours, what time to stop, when to make a distinction between drive time and on-duty hours.

It creeps me out to have the government watching my every move.

The feds took that entirely reasonable concern into account when they drafted and revised ELD regulations. It’s why they insist that the devices have built-in provisions that allow uninterrupted sleep and off-duty time, and limit location tracking during those hours.

These electronic monsters help the company increase profits but they won’t help drivers any.

Again the evidence says otherwise. Cutting down on paperwork is a genuine quality-of-life gain. The capacity that electronic logging devices have to facilitate inspections can mean more hours in a day spent driving instead of alongside the road. 

Finally, a documented, objective driving record is as good as an affidavit in demonstrating that a driver is one of the good ones. That’s another career builder.

For everyone looking ahead to the ELD deadline, it helps to remember that although fear of the unknown is normal, actual experience can turn the unnatural into second nature.

Do you have more questions about elogs? Visit ELD Answers for current insights into the mandate and solutions for your business.

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