What the ELD Rule Means For Your Fleet

Posted by Elizabeth Mullins | December 1, 2015 | blog
whattheeldrulemeansforyourfleet

The long-awaited electronic logging device (ELD) final rule, which mandates the use of ELDs by interstate drivers of commercial vehicles who use a driver’s record of duty status (driver’s log) to record their hours of service, has been delayed yet again. The rule was not published on the projected date of November 30, 2015 but federal regulators now expect the rule to be published the week of December 7, 2015. The rule, which was proposed on March 28, 2014, cleared a review by the White House Office of Management and Budget on November 16, 2015 which was the last step before being published in the Federal Register.

The long-awaited electronic logging device (ELD) final rule, which mandates the use of ELDs by interstate drivers of commercial vehicles who use a driver’s record of duty status (driver’s log) to record their hours of service, has been delayed yet again. The rule was not published on the projected date of November 30, 2015 but federal regulators now expect the rule to be published the week of December 7, 2015. The rule, which was proposed on March 28, 2014, cleared a review by the White House Office of Management and Budget on November 16, 2015 which was the last step before being published in the Federal Register.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) stated that the rule will require motor carriers to choose an ELD system that connects to the engine of a commercial motor vehicle so driving time can be automatically recorded; these automatic logs will replace paper logs. If your business owns or operates commercial vehicles, this is big news.

Looking at ELDs as a business investment rather than just a federal requirement, you can more effectively see the potential return on investment your company will gain from purchasing these systems.

While the cost of deploying ELDs in commercial vehicles is still a major concern for most business owners, prices have dropped significantly with advances in technology and communication. An onboard device can now be purchased for around $200 or less.

In addition to savings and other benefits, many feel that the largest ROI gains will come from a reduction in citations and accidents. In a study conducted by the FMCSA related to onboard logging devices, fleets that were equipped with ELDs had a 53% lower driving hours’ violation rate and 49% lower driver record-keeping violation rate. This equates to roughly a 50% drop in driver citations during on-the-road enforcement inspections.

Data from the FMCSA also showed that companies who use ELDs had an 11.7% reduction in their overall accident rate and a 5.1% reduction in their preventable accident rate. The FMCSA reported that the average cost of a crash is between $97,000 and $511,000 depending on the type of commercial vehicle involved. Injury-related crashes were reported to have an average cost of $247,000 to $1.2 million, and fatality-related crashes were reported to cost between $6.3 million and $7.6 million. Not only have ELDs been proven to increase driver safety, but being lower risk (having lower crash rates) is viewed more favorably by insurance companies and a direct ROI is reduced premiums.

When you factor in the reduction in business costs over-time, the increases in operational efficiency and safety, and the reduction in paper recordkeeping/increase in storage space, the initial cost (while cost-intensive) vs. ROI may end up being very worth it!

Once the final rule is published, installation of these ELD systems will be required within two years of the effective date. Drivers who currently use an electronic logging system will be “grandfathered in” and are expected to have four years to make sure their devices comply with federal standards.

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