By choosing a more comprehensive fleet management solution to ensure compliance with the recent Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate, companies are realizing additional benefits in the way they manage their vehicle fleet and drivers.
What is the ELD Mandate?
In the US, the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) mandates that most commercial motor vehicles over 10,000 lbs be fitted with Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). This also applies to vehicles being used in construction and agriculture operations, including maintenance trucks, refueling and lube trucks, and haul trucks. ELDs record drivers’ hours of service and vehicle inspections electronically and automatically, eliminating the need for drivers to use paper logs for their HOS (Hours of Service) needs.
This mandate is changing the landscape within many industries that rely on commercial motor vehicles. From fleet managers, supervisors, and dispatchers to drivers and field inspectors on the road, day-to-day operations and processes are impacted, and many are realizing safety and efficiency improvements. Organizations that have already taken full advantage of ELD solutions have realized significant benefits, including positive changes to their bottom line. Organizations who have not yet taken advantage are leaving money on the table and can end up paying hefty fines of up to $5,000 for non-compliance.
How Can the ELD Mandate Help Construction Operations?
ELDs are designed to automate recording hours of service and vehicle inspections:
Construction operations rely on support vehicles to refuel and maintain equipment, transport equipment, and tools to job sites, and to haul aggregates and loose material. When vehicles are not adequately maintained and drivers are careless, these critical aspects of operations suffer.
ELDs help companies to proactively prevent incidents by ensuring roadworthiness of vehicles and safe driving practices. In fact, the ELDs will eliminate 1,844 accidents a year, saving 26 lives and 562 injuries. (Source: FMCSA)
Drivers that do not comply with FMCSA HOS and DVIR legislation risk being fined while on the road. With the average fine for non-compliance at around $5000, ELDs ensure compliance with FMCSA 395.15 and 396.11 and thus prevent hefty fines.
ELDs also ensure accuracy and quick data sharing with the back office. Manual logging is time-consuming and can cause inconsistencies. Relying on driver memory to report hours of service and deciding when to stop for a rest is no longer a viable option. ELDs automate record keeping, ensuring real-time access to drivers’ duty status and driving history for audits and back office analysis. It also keeps drivers productive and reduces the number of errors often found in paperwork.
Making a Case for Electronic Logging Devices
A good ELD system goes far beyond just ticking the legislation compliance box, it also identifies other areas in which fleets can become safer and more efficient. It is no secret that a safer driver is a more efficient driver and rolling out an ELD system can often pay for itself by reducing fuel usage alone. When choosing a solution, it’s important not to overlook the additional benefits that a more comprehensive ELD solution will provide and the added value functions that are available today.
Here’s a list of top 5 added-value functions to watch out for in ELDs:
Driver-Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR):The FMCSA mandates that drivers record the roadworthiness of their vehicles before each trip. This requires drivers to go through a check-list of inspection points, such as tires, windscreen etc. An ELD allows drivers to perform this inspection checklist through the in-cab tablet, which ensures nothing gets missed, and is then uploaded to the cloud.
State Mileage:Motor carriers that operate in more than one jurisdiction need to file a quarterly fuel tax report detailing fuel use in each state. Be sure to choose an ELD system which incorporates wider fleet management capabilities. This will capture the ITFA data and create the reports automatically, saving your drivers and back office plenty of time.
Driver Safety:An ELD that can report on driver behavior such as speeding, harsh maneuvers, idling and utilization of the vehicle will allow for monitoring of driving trends which can encourage good driving habits - increasing the safety of your drivers.
Vehicle Diagnostics:An ELD solution can offer real-time and retrospective reporting on fuel, carbon, odometer and fault codes. This allows organizations to be proactive in setting up maintenance plans and helps avoid costly downtimes due to unforeseen vehicle problems.
Fuel Efficiency:Fuel is often the biggest cost that a fleet incurs. By monitoring driver behavior and idle time, an ELD solution can identify trends which help organizations to encourage good driving habits in turn leading to better fuel efficiency in their fleets. In short, a safe driver is a fuel efficient driver.
To learn more about the benefits that ELDs can bring to your construction or agriculture operation, read Trimble Fleet Service Management's recent case study with Dobler & Sons.
About the Author
Paul Miles is a Segment Manager with the Field Service Management division of Trimble, where he focuses on marketing and product strategy for end-to-end service management solutions that connect field service operations and enable the delivery of service excellence. Prior to joining Trimble, Paul held several technical, marketing, and leadership roles with Caterpillar Inc.More Content by Paul Miles