Drivers worry that the new system will negatively affect their profits. But, the ELD mandate can actually benefit drivers in many ways. It records dates, times, locations, engine hours, miles, driver identification information, as well as providing accurate records that are required by IFTA, IRP, and DOT, among others.
ELDs also gather real-time information that can be used to help manage and improve business. This also includes tracking time spent loading or unloading or other delays an ELD can reveal where or why time is wasted. This can be a valuable tool for drivers. As well as owner/operators, or fleet managers. Here are a few other ways an ELD assists in implementing operational improvements:
- Measures fuel consumption to track each vehicle’s performance.
- Daily trip reports chart driving time and idle time by vehicle or driver.
- HOS information helps dispatchers make better decisions regarding potential next loads.
- Monitoring driver behavior can help predict the likelihood of an accident.
These are just a few of the many benefits of having an ELD on board. They also reduce paperwork and limit human errors to help the business run more efficiently.
Who needs to install an ELD?
The ELD mandate applies to most commercial drivers. This amounts to about 3.5 million CMV drivers nationwide. A driver who maintains record-of-duty status (RODS) is required to be ELD compliant.
It will be difficult to know if your ELD is up-to-date with all the technical requirements. You may not realize that it’s not compliant until a field agent shows up to conduct a review.
The FMCSA doesn’t vet ELD devices. Therefore, they have determined that those that rely on cellular networks are not dependable. For this reason, devices that rely on Bluetooth or a USB connection are recommended.
Are there exemptions to the ELD Mandate?
Under specific conditions, drivers may be exempt from the ELD rule. According to the FMCSA fact sheet, some of those exceptions include the following:
- Short-haul drivers who are not required to keep RODs.
- Drive-away-tow-away operations where the vehicle being driven is a commodity being delivered.
- Drivers using paper RODS for no more than 8 days out of 30.
- Drivers who operate vehicles manufactured before 2000.