On December 16, 1773, a dispute over governement authority lead to the Boston Tea Party. This December, truckers throughout the United States are likely to be equally up in arms about another government ruling that many are leery about.
December 2017 is the impending date when electronic logging devices will be adopted by all fleet companies and logging books will be a thing of the past. While many in the industry are not happy about this change, ELDs can provide convenience with recording hours of service (HOS) and do have other benefits as well, such as fuel efficiency and increase in productivity. In order to ease into the transition from using logbooks to ELDs, it's important to take into consideration a few different aspects that will allow retention of fleet drivers.
Fear of the unknown is what causes most to be hesitant when trying something new. Becoming knowledgeable about ELDs and preparing yourself and/or your fleet to take on this new system is your best bet when it comes to transitioning away from logbooks. There are specific rules for what an ELD must have. A few of these requirements include connecting to the truck's engine, monitoring drive segment statuses from each driver, and delivering data that can be transferred to law enforcement.
As concerns about switching to ELDs is on the rise, so is the concern about driver retention rates. It's a valid concern. In recent Linxup Facebook posts about the ELD mandate, we've seen drivers state that it was time to retire, sell their rig, or simply leave the industry. It's clear that many long time drivers are not happy about the mandate and have some real concerns about implementation and other side effects.
However, as long as the mandate remains law, fleets will need to adopt ELD solutions. Ensuring that each driver adapts to the new device and has complete knowledge of how it works and how to use it will help with keeping drivers on board. As noted by Joe DeLorenzo, director of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), establishing that drivers know how to use their ELD will make the process of inspection by a law enforcement officer much smoother. Of course, getting to know the ELD system requires interactive training for both the drivers and back-office team.
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Establishing a timeline to incorporate the ELDs into the company routine helps to streamline the process and make it easier for everyone to adapt. Instead of jumping into using an ELD immediately, slowly get used to the idea of the system first through training and then introducing the ELDs to drivers. Taking time and being patient with the adjustment period when going paperless will allow more drivers to be comfortable with this change. Start off with training about ELDs in the months before the mandate is taken into effect. Once December rolls around, the actual ELDs can be installed and the drivers are already used to the idea and expected processes.
While it's unlikely that Boston Harbor will see any uprisings this December, it is likely that the mandate will remain law and be enforceable in just six short months. Now is the time for fleet managers, no matter how reluctantly, to start looking at available solutions and planning for the inevitable. With the right approach, implementing ELD can be as simple as a nice cup of tea.