Log book requirements have long been fixtures of the trucking industry, but as December approaches, so do some changes in this arena.  It’s important that carriers, drivers, and all trucking professionals are fully informed before the new requirements go into effect.

Probably you saw the news announcement that there’s another attempt to delay the ELD mandate.  A lot of Congressional representatives have signed on to the bill, but we’re not expecting things to change.  It appears that the ELD log book requirements are here to stay.

How Log Book Requirements Will Change

The ELDs will be used to electronically record a driver’s Hours of Service and their Record of Duty Status in real time as they drive. It will change how that information must be kept. Under the Electronic Logging Device mandate, which will go into effect Dec. 18, all log books must be recorded electronically.  We won’t have to fill out paper or other traditional methods logging methods.

The mandate also sets requirements for how an ELD functions and what features it must possess  All ELDs must be certified and registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

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According to the FMCSA,

“Carriers must evaluate and select ELDs, and ensure they are installed and drivers and administrative staff are trained to use them by the deadline.” Drivers must understand how to annotate, edit, and certify RODS on the devices, as well as how to display and transfer data to safety officials as needed.

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If caught out of compliance with the new log book requirements, drivers can face costly hours-of-service fines or other penalties. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance recently announced that while the mandate enforcement begins Dec. 18, penalties won’t actually go into effect until April 1, 2018.

The ELD doesn’t look good for truckers.  I’ve read about JIT and other logistics nightmares that the new HOS restrictions will effect.  The writers are grim about their look at the future of trucking.

Change is hard, but the mandate doesn’t have to hurt us.

There aren’t many drivers who like the new ELD mandate.  But there are ways we can use it to our advantage.

  1.  Detention payments.  Our ELD will capture the times we spend waiting in a loading dock for the shipping crew to get to us.  Detention pay is the penalty the shipper will pay for calling in a trucker for a pickup and making the trucker wait.  There’s a difference between 10 minutes while the load gets wrapped up or stacked on a pallet, and waiting hours because the request called for the trucker to arrive too soon.    They may doctor their logs, but they can’t doctor ours.  We’ll be able to bill for delays and get the detention payments we deserve.
  2. IFTA payments.  The time will come when our IFTA filing will be completely based on our ELD.  That should simplify our tax filings.  Eventually.  In the meantime, we can be confident that we’re paying the right amount.
  3. More accurate records.  Too many truckers simply don’t have the data to know why they’re not making more money.  Accurate records will be able to show what we’re doing and where we’re doing it on the road.  Yes, I expect that we will see more problems because of drivers who are afraid that they won’t be able to make a scheduled delivery.  But with better data, we can make more realistic delivery commitments.  We’ll avoid shippers who expect us to break the law and the speed limits to get deliveries done in an unreasonable amount of time.  Do they care what a speeding ticket will cost us? 

What do you think?

It may be hard to change your mind about the ELD.  But consider the silver lining and you may find that the change has some benefits we otherwise would have never seen.  It’s just living through the roll-out and the subsequent craziness for the next few weeks until we all get used to it.

Don’t Risk Noncompliance

Are you ready for the upcoming changes to log book requirements? Want an ELD solution that’s easy to install, easy to learn, and even easier on your pocketbook? Learn about our ELD software now or download our free ELD buyer’s guide.