After much anticipation, the Dec. 18 ELD mandate deadline has come and gone. While compliance may have been your main motivator behind purchasing an ELD system, ELDs offer many additional benefits. Below are some of the ways ELDs can help your fleet maximize safety, profits and productivity.
According to the FMCSA, ELDs’ safety features combined will prevent 26 deaths and over 560 injuries per year, in addition to saving $572.2 million in accident-related costs. ELD features like GPS tracking and efficient route planning keep drivers safe by diverting them around heavy traffic, poor road conditions or accidents. In addition, ELDs’ driver fatigue prevention tools and the ability to identify and record dangerous driver behaviors such as speeding and harsh braking in real-time help fleet managers give targeted feedback and inform future driver training, which over time will also reduce and prevent accidents.
Less time (and money) spent on paperwork
The FMCSA estimates ELDs will save fleets $2.44 billion in administrative work per year. Of that, $1.88 billion worth of drivers’ time will be saved by no longer having to fill out and submit paper logs. And since ELDs allow drivers to round more accurately to the nearest minute for stops (unlike paper logbooks, which required drivers to round to the nearest 15-minute increment), ELDs will also reduce HOS paperwork time and add drive time.
Fewer violations = better CSA scores
With paper logs, it was all too easy for drivers to mistakenly enter an inaccurate time or distance or leave a field blank. But since ELDs automate processes like HOS logs and IFTA fuel tax reporting by pulling data directly from the vehicle’s engine, this eliminates human error and ensures logs are totaled properly and completely.
In addition, ATA research found that trucks equipped with ELDs had a 53% lower driving-related HOS violation rate and a 49% lower non-driving- related HOS violation rate than trucks not equipped with ELDs. Since fewer violations also mean fewer fines, better SMS and CSA scores and lower insurance premiums, this leads to better economic standing for your fleet.
More productive fuel and equipment use
Since ELDs are connected to vehicles’ diagnostic ports, ELDs automatically monitor everything from idling time to vehicle fault codes. This means fleet managers are alerted to potential problems in real-time. If they see a vehicle has been idling for a while, they can contact the driver and ask them to turn off the engine, ultimately conserving fuel. And if a fleet manager gets a vehicle fault notification, they can have a maintenance person inspect it to address any problems before it gets serious enough to cause a breakdown. This means fleets can be proactive about managing equipment and, ultimately, save time and money that would have been wasted if transport had to be delayed due to equipment failure.
While it’s true ELDs were initially introduced to meet FMCSA requirements, advanced telematics capabilities mean they can do much more for a fleet business than ensure compliance. Making the most of your ELD means understanding how its various features can help your fleet save time and money.