It’s been more than two years in the making and now there are only six months until the federal electronic logging mandate (ELD) will take full effect. As the compliance deadline continues to approach, below are some insights into the most common questions from shippers:
“What EXACTLY is ELD?”
“What does this mean for my business and for the industry as a whole?”
“What options are there to help us prepare and be proactive?”
Definition of ELD
The ELD is a Final Rule from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) designed to improve roadway safety by replacing truck and bus driver paper logs with electronic logging devices, thereby strengthening hours-of-service (HOS) compliance.
The FMCSA states that on an annual average basis, the ELD mandate is estimated to save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries resulting from crashes involving large commercial motor vehicles. The rule will impact not only U.S. drivers but also Mexican and Canadian drivers on American highways.
ELDs automate the former pencil-and-paper logging, recording driving time, engine hours, vehicle movement, miles driven and location. Commercial truck and bus drivers have been given two years to change over from paper log books to ELDs to meet the implementation deadline of December 18, 2017.
Stages of Implementation
Some carriers are already compliant with the ELD mandate while other carriers have waited until the second half of 2017 to become compliant. By the December 18 deadline, all commercial drivers must have ELDs.
The FMCSA has a list of Smart Phones and other wireless devices that could potentially be used as an ELD, which can be found on the FMCSA website: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/.
Commercial carriers who have an existing compliant Automatic On-Board Recording Device will be allowed to use those devices until December of 2019.
What ELD Means for the Industry
Overall, this mandate is expected to translate into decreased available driver time as truckers don’t want to take chances and start to decline loads or stretch delivery dates to ensure they can stay safely within the HOS regulations.
This is projected to drive increased demand for space in an environment with decreased capacity, which could potentially translate into higher rates.
With less than six months to go before the mandate takes full effect, the trucking and logistics industry is already feeling the impact of this change. Some of the biggest areas of impact are increased transit times and an increase in rates.
How Shippers Can Prepare
1. One of the most proactive ways to prepare for potential changes is to ensure longer haul freight is ready a day or two earlier for pickup. If transit can’t be made by a solo driver and the shipping/receiving window can’t be expanded, then a team driver at a higher cost would be the next option.
2. Additionally, shippers and customers should redouble efforts to ensure that drivers get loaded and unloaded in a timely manner to help cut down on waiting periods.
3. Perhaps the best way to navigate the new reality of ELD is to align with a strong logistics partner who can keep abreast of the changes, provide carrier options, advise alternatives and think strategically and creatively to produce solutions that will help mitigate some of the potentially negative impacts.
Although the mandates are designed to save lives, you as a shipper need to be sure you are aligned with safe, law abiding carriers. Working with a strong logistics partner will ensure you have an informed team in place to look out for the best interests of your business. The level of expertise a knowledgeable and full-service logistics partner can provide is never more valuable than in times of transition and change.For more information, contact our team of experts to help you through the process and share shipping best practices.