Facts And Myths About The ELD Mandate

12/06/2017

Fleet managers and trucking operators are facing a ticking clock when it comes to compliance with the ELD (electronic logging device) mandate. As the December 2017 deadline looms ever nearer, a number of myths and bits of misinformation have sprung up, as well. Getting the facts is going to be essential as your company works on ELD mandate compliance. Here are the ELD mandate facts you need to know, as well as some of the misinformation you may have heard.

Fact: The Deadline Is Almost Here

The ELD mandate is not new information. Fleet professionals have been hearing about it for months. However, the deadline — Dec. 18, 2017 — is nearly here. If your truck was made after year 2000 and drives more than 150 miles from your base of operation; and if you keep more than eight logbook records a month, you must be compliant or face hefty penalties.

Myth: Compliance Is Difficult

While the deadline is almost here, it's important for you to know that compliance is not all that complicated. In fact, many trucking companies have already made the switch to fleet management systems that include ELD systems, simply because of the ease of operation that these systems provide. You may already be compliant and not even realize it.

Fact: Simple-to-Install-and-Use Systems Are Easily Found

ELD systems are quite varied, just as GPS tracking systems are. You can easily find a system designed for your business, no matter its size. If you're a small- to medium-sized business and need to become ELD compliant, Track Your Truck has an ELD-compliant system designed specifically for your needs.

Myth: ELDs Are Too Expensive

Opponents of the electronic logging mandate have cited the increased cost of these systems and the burden it will place on the trucking industry. While there is a cost involved, it's much more reasonable than it once was. Today, trucking companies will find that the average cost to install an ELD is a few hundred dollars per vehicle. Once the systems are installed, that particular cost is completed until the need arises to upgrade. Companies will need to pay an ELD subscription fee, but that is only a small monthly charge.

Fact: ELDs May Help You Save

Surprisingly, most companies that have made the switch are reporting savings instead of increased costs. Bypassing the old logging methods and eliminating downtime and delays when inspections require a check of the log adds up to cost savings. Less man-hours spent maintaining logs and fewer hours of downtime for log maintenance can yield significant savings.

Myth: ELDs Make Driving More Difficult

This myth stems from the mistaken idea that ELDs would require the driver to interact with the logging device while driving, creating distractions and road dangers. The truth is that these systems are set up to eliminate driver interactions while actively driving. The system connects to the vehicle engine, so if you're on the road, it won't allow interaction. The driver simply logs in as "on duty" before leaving and logging back in as "off duty" when stopped.

Fact: ELDs Make Driving Safer

By ensuring drivers stick to their hours of duty rules, ELDs will reduce the number of accidents caused by driver fatigue. They will also decrease the pressure to alter the numbers to get a truck to a destination on time with a company's deadline, because you can’t tamper with the logging device.

Myth: Failure to Comply Is Not a Big Deal

Many companies that have not yet complied are wondering if they still have time, and are considering missing the deadline and hoping for the best. These companies assume that failure to comply will have minimal consequences, but this is untrue. As soon as the December deadline hits, inspectors and law enforcement are able to impose hefty penalties on trucks and drivers who are not compliant.

Fact: Failure to Comply Leads to Fines, Citations and Out-of-Service Vehicles

Starting December 18, any truck that is found not to be in compliance, and that does not fit into one of the exception categories, will be cited. Both the driver and the company that owns the fleet can be cited. The fine amounts may vary, but will be significant.

What could be even more costly than fines is the out-of-service enforcement. Vehicles that are not in compliance with the ELD mandate will be pulled out of service for eight hours. This amount of downtime can add expense to the fleet's operation, delay deliveries and create other problems. This particular part of the mandate will go into effect in April 2018, so there is a grace period in which the out-of-service time will not be enforced.

Myth: Only Large Fleets Need to Comply

In the past, many small fleets overlooked the need or desire to upgrade to fleet tracking technology because it was viewed as another expense that wasn't necessary. This isn't the case for ELDs.

Fact: All Qualified Vehicles Need ELDs

The truth about compliance is that all vehicles that do not meet one of the exception criteria — such as being made before year 2000 or traveling only within 150 miles of the base of operations — need to have an ELD by December 18. Because the rule applies to vehicles, not fleets, the fleet’s size does not matter.

With all of the myths surrounding ELDs, it's no wonder that, even now with the deadline approaching, many fleets and drivers are struggling to become compliant. That said, there is no reason to fear compliance and the future of the trucking industry. With the right ELD system, you can avoid citations and fines while also saving money on your own fleet operations.

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