“Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.”
The great thing about the internet is that you can find almost any piece of information you’re looking for. The problem though, is that much of the information is not correct. The above quote perfectly illustrates what happens in today’s internet-driven age; just because someone says something, does not make it fact.
One of the most prevalent venues for misinformation is internet message boards. While these boards provide a great social medium for expressing an individual’s view, readers should remember that this is in fact just one person’s opinion. This is particularly true for the transportation industry, as it gears up for the upcoming electronic device (ELD) mandate expected to take place in late September 2015.
Many of the opinions voiced during the FMCSA comment period have been reiterated on industry website message boards. Wading through the message boards reveals a wide variety of opinions ranging from how this new law will save the industry to how every driver will be forced to quit. The truth lies somewhere in between. While challenges always accompany industry initiatives like this, the net benefits of the mandate outweigh the negatives. The sky is not falling!
Fact or fiction? Let’s take a look at some of the most common comments.
“As an owner/operator, ELDs will put me out of business.”
There are two common misconceptions that lead to this belief: 1.) Devices are so expensive that they are unaffordable, and 2.) Business will have to change drastically to legally work within HOS limits.
The FMCSA is creating the rule to help reduce accidents and crash risk. It’s not out of a desire to put small fleets out of business, cripple trucking companies, and slow down freight.
In fact, most commercial truck drivers that have adopted ELDs refuse to go back to paper logs. Why is this?
One of the major reasons relates to where truck drivers spend their time. Many drivers find ELD use helps them gain more time on the road, as e-logs can record duty status changes down to the nearest minute, whereas paper logbooks require drivers to round up to the nearest 15 minutes, resulting in fewer miles posted.
“ELDs are going to make it impossible for my fleet to earn money.”
Not true. In fact, ELDs can be a new source of revenue and a way to slash costs if they are used to a fleet’s advantage. How so?
One simple way is tracking, and charging, for the time you wait detained. If a shipper is holding up a truck, and wasting valuable driving hours, they can be held accountable for that time.
And if a fleet is able to improve its safety rating? It should be able to charge more for that.
In addition to making money, ELDs can help fleets save money. Beyond implied safety benefits, ELDs include additional functionality that help drivers identify behaviors that cut into profits, such as idling, speeding, and hard braking.
Correcting such behaviors generates improved fuel economy, saving fleets and drivers money. In addition, as part of a recent FMCSA study, it is estimated that ELD adoption will result in savings of $705/driver/year in paperwork costs alone.
“ELDs are just a way for enforcement agencies to get more money out of me from fine violations”
The goal of ELDs is to reduce violations, which will limit fines attributed to violations. Implementation of an ELD will actually give drivers and fleets more information about their operations, letting them better plan and avoid events before violations occur.
ELDs actually simplify roadside inspections, and eliminate violations resulting from human errors.
And form and factor errors – the most common source for fines? Gone.
“Just another case of big brother watching over me!”
The only people with the ability to see vehicle location based on ELD data are authorized employees at the trucking company. ELD regulation actually includes privacy provisions that give drivers more peace of mind. For example, location data can only be shown within a 10-mile radius for a vehicle used for personal conveyance.
The DOT will not know your every move. Instead, electronic logs replace paper logs, which increases accuracy and saves time.
“If I’m forced to use an ELD, I’ll quit and change careers.”
Change is sometimes hard to embrace, and the uncertainty of something different is often unnerving. The bottom line, though, is the FMCSA has looked at extensive data prior to implementing this mandate, and everything behind this decision is for the benefit of the industry.
Drivers who love what they do shouldn’t be worried about having to leave a career they have enjoyed for many years due to this new legislation. Time and time again, those who have adopted the technology refuse to go back to paper logs, and those who implement ELDs in the future will feel the same.
To keep up to date about the ELD mandate and how it affects you, visit eldfacts.com, an important new information site designed to foster industry understanding of this critical legislation.