Telematics Take Prominent Role in ELD Ruling



The Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) mandate enacted on December 10, 2015 will require many fleet operators to adopt telematics as part of their operations. While transportation organizations can purchase pared down devices that only track location and hours of duty data, many will look to purchase more comprehensive systems that comply with the FMCSA rule.

ELDs will have a positive impact on safety and HOS compliance:

  • Operations management will be able to track available driver hours in real time. This will allow fleet to better plan their dispatches. They will have the knowledge to load plan and provide accurate ETA’s with real time information. Dispatchers can be held accountable for pushing drivers and creating unrealistic delivery goals.
  • Dispatch can more effectively track driver hours. They can look at their driver’s on duty and drive times to see when they need to take their breaks. More sophisticated ELD systems will provide alerts to drivers and dispatch so that potential violations can be avoided.
  • ELDs will allow drivers to better plan for breaks and layovers. The available hours calculation will be done for them. By having dispatch look at the same data, there is less likely to be pressure to have drivers go beyond the allowable limits.
  • ELDs simplify hours of service recording. They simplify calculations and allow drivers to focus on driving. The information is straightforward so there will be fewer questions during roadside inspections. 

Other Benefits of ELD Use and Implementation

  • Fleets will now have more ELD options to choose from with better pricing. The prices of telematics systems have come down as there is a lot of competition in the marketplace and the products are much more comprehensive than they were in the past.
  • ELD/telematics systems provide a large amount of driver safety performance data. This goes significantly beyond hours of service. Many systems provide safety metrics on hard braking, rapid acceleration, vehicle upset, and speed limit violation. They utilize an accelerometer with their device to detect unsafe driving. Additionally, the better systems also tie into the truck’s electronic control module (ECM). This data is often sent to the fleet operator via alerts. The data can be presented on a dashboard that shows variations in driver safety performance.
  • Fleet operations can now incorporate the ELDs and other telematics data to optimize data utilization. This can improve safety, better track fuel economy, and allow operations to better communicate delivery times and locations to customers. A key part of a high performing fleet operation is the presentation of accurate data. 

ELD tracking also has its challenges: 

  1. ELDs make tracking hours more rigid. There is not the fudge time that there was in the past under the manual tracking system. This makes route planning by drivers more important if they need to find a place to park for a layover or to be near a customer for an early delivery.  
  2. ELD use may not be easily accepted by drivers. While most drivers like the ELD system once they learn how to use it, there are still a few that harken back to the old days of trucking when the driver was very independent out on the road.

Change is never easy and incorporating new technology can be downright frustrating. However, the need for data improvements and safety tracking will improve driver safety and retention, two major contributors to a productive fleet operation. Talk to a HUB Transportation advisor on how to make the transition easier through training and proper implementation best practices. 

Contact us today to get started. 

Steven Bojan, Vice President-  HUB International's Fleet Risk Services, advises on fleet safety, driver and management best practices and regulatory compliance.