The ELD mandate is now in effect, so what can fleet owners and managers expect to see when it comes to their fleet’s and their drivers’ performance?
It has arrived! Whether we like it or not, the ELD mandate is now a fact of life. Many fleets have been using ELDs for a while and have seen some of the benefits of deploying the technology. For those who are just making their entire fleet ELD-compliant, here are some things you should be looking for:
- Fuel savings: With the ability to see driver idle time, fleet owners/managers can determine which drivers and tractors are idle offenders. This relates to fuel savings since a company can save up to $5,600 a year by reducing idling time on vehicles that use about $70,000 of fuel annually. Depending on the fleet size, this can amount to significant savings overall. Once identified, fleet owners can work with these idle-heavy drivers and help them to correct this problem.
- Driver behavior and fleet safety: ELDs provide the ability to see driver habits that can have a negative effect on the vehicle and safety; things like hard braking, hard acceleration, and speeding. Some ELD devices can be programmed to alert a fleet manager whenever any of these bad habits happens to occur. Again, this knowledge can turn into a teachable moment, encouraging drivers to make the needed corrections. This can help a fleet’s bottom line by reducing speeding violations and accidents. This can, in turn, positively impact insurance costs and improve CSA scores.
- Maintenance schedules: ELDs enable managers to stay on top of mileage-based preventive maintenance, plus most ELDs will provide alerts of detected fault codes. That may point to recurring issues with equipment that can be addressed sooner rather than later, since the alerts are live. Managers can make repower and shop arrangements that will keep drivers and product moving and satisfying customer demands.
- Productivity and route improvements: Most ELDs will provide visibility into the routes taken by drivers on their day-to-day deliveries; giving owners/managers the opportunity to identify alternative routes. This in turn will increase daily productivity and driver efficiency since drivers will be wisely using their time on the clock.
- Lower insurance premiums: The FMCSA released a report from the Center for Truck and Bus Safety of Virginia Tech Transportation Institute that asserts that commercial drivers using E-logs had an 11.7 percent reduction in total crash rate and a 5.1 percent reduction in preventable crash rate that trucks that were not equipped with the device. The result of this, along with the ELDs’ GPS tracking functionality to reduce stolen or hijacked vehicles, is that insurance companies offered better rates to companies using ELDs.
It’s true that change is rarely easy and different companies may experience different results once they are completely ELD-compliant; however, it is clear that benefits can be realized and fleets should track their results. It is also true that none of us can predict the outcomes as trucks experience roadside inspections. I think we all have to adopt a wait-and-see attitude.