The initial electronic logging device rule proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been finalized and is expected to take effect later this year. The FMCSA mandate will primarily effect trucking companies that still use paper logs to record duty status. It will require all drivers currently keeping paper records of duty status in eight or more days out of every 30 days to switch over to ELDs. After the final mandate is published, drivers will have two years to make the complete transition from paper logs to ELDs.
The main resistance to ELDs is coming from drivers threatening to fight the change. Many complain that the added oversight and surveillance that come with the real-time tracking capabilities of the ELDs is an invasion of privacy. Further, drivers are wary of any addition to their work load, fearing that learning how to use the ELDs is an added burden on top of an already stressful job.
The FMCSA discussed the issue of driver resistance when finalizing the new ELD rule and confirmed that educating the drivers on the benefits of ELDs is essential to showing them the importance of this change. The FMCSA has found that when fleets and dispatchers coach their drivers they soon realize the advantages of ELDs and drop any kind of resistance towards the change.
The reality is that ELDs do in fact offer a lot of new benefits to truck drivers. Additionally, trucking companies often increase productivity after making the switch. By logging time more efficiently, drivers are able to haul more loads legally and safely, making them more profitable.
Though change is often stressful, using ELDs instead of paper logs seems to have a positive impact on the trucking industry. The learning curve may be slow for some but with two years to make the adjustment, trucking companies should be able to make the change relatively easily.