The Hours of Service rules (HOS) came into existence in 1937 with the purpose of helping to prevent driver fatigue. Over the years, policies changed the distribution of the day’s drive time, but the core drive limits – 60/70 hours in 7/8 days – remain the same. ELDs are not changing the HOS. However, they are upgrading the way the industry records them.
Don’t Believe the ELD Myths
ELDs ensure everyone follows the Hours of Service. As a result, freight rates will rise because shippers can no longer coerce drivers into driving illegally. Trucking companies will now have more power at the negotiating table.
Myth – “ELDs will cause more accidents.”
Some are worried the ELDs will increase truck driver traffic, causing accident rates to rise. However, as stated above, ELDs are designed to protect the HOS and the HOS is designed to help prevent driver fatigue. Alert drivers pay closer attention to the surrounding roads and prevent roadway accidents.
Thomas Young, Director of Training & Development for TransAm Trucking, has worked with ELDs for several years; TransAm installed ELDs in their entire fleet. Here is what he has to say, “There is no guessing when operating with ELDs. Everything is on the screen and it’s very easy to understand. When drivers don’t have to try to figure out certain things about their legal time or duty status, they can put even more focus on safety. Staying legal is a big part of safety. ELDs are one of the best things to hit the industry.”
Myth – “I’m trying to find an ELD brand that will allow me to edit the logs.”
This will not exist. According to the FMCSA website, “An ELD automatically records all of the time that a CMV [commerical motor vehicle] is in motion as driving time that cannot be edited or changed to non-driving time.” You can make notes on logs if there is a mistake, but drive time cannot be changed to non-drive time. This is a key feature of an ELD. If you are able to edit your logged drive time, you are not using an FMCSA approved ELD and are not compliant with the ELD mandate.
Myth – “ELDs will go away.”
Our goal at TAFS is to help our clients succeed. As trucking business consultants, we are here to help our clients navigate the trucking industry and offer advantageous benefits to help clients expand and maximize profits. We have seen many fads in this industry, but ELDs are not one of them. OOIDA and lawmakers have tried to overturn and/or delay the ELD mandate. All of these measures failed. At this point, ELDs are inevitable. Make the best of it and take advantage of some of the things ELDs can bring to your trucking company.
Until recently, paper logs drove the trucking industry. They also made it easy for the industry to take advantage of its truck drivers. Shippers could control the rates and coerce drivers into unsafe driving practices through unrealistic delivery deadlines. ELDs level the playing field and, ultimately, are a huge boon for truck drivers.