8 benefits of ELDs

Electronic logging devices (ELDs) offer several driver and operational advantages, reducing Hours of Service (HoS) violations, making trip planning more efficient, and stopping renegade carriers from manipulating the paper log system.

Here’s a closer look at eight benefits.

The benefits of ELDs go beyond eliminating paperwork. (Photo: istock)

1. Warnings before drivers violate Hours of Service rules

Chris Stepto, safety manager for Berry and Smith Trucking of Penticton, B.C., said one of the most noticeable benefits to using ELDs has been the decline in Hours of Service violations, and not just when it comes to form-and-manner issues such as the blank field in a logbook.

“Hours of Service violations have dropped substantially, as most ELD systems will notify a driver when they are heading into violation,” said Stepto, adding how many drivers can be confused about the underlying regulations, particularly when it comes to working with a split sleeper berth provision.

“The system knows and understands the regulations and keeps a driver in check.”

Though most of Berry and Smith’s drivers were initially leery about the move from paper logs to ELDs, they changed their minds after realizing the benefits and time savings.

2. Peace of mind for fleet operators

With his family’s name plastered on the side of his vehicles, Greg Munden says he’s comforted knowing that drivers are using ELDs and complying with the rules.

“Even if a company intends on operating legally, there are drivers who make their own decisions on the road to ‘fudge the books’, putting both themselves and the company in a risky position,” said Munden, president of Kamloops, B.C.-based carrier Munden Ventures.

“While some drivers, as well as companies, seem to get away with this practice for what seems like forever, the liability they face would be huge if ever there was a serious accident with a driver out of compliance with Hours of Service.”

There is a link to highway safety as well. Drivers who continually push their logbooks can become fatigued, and fatigue increases accident risks.

“Reducing the likelihood of fatigue in drivers is one of the main objectives of the transition to ELDs,” said Munden. “At a minimum, we can now be confident that our drivers are being provided the required time off, both daily and weekly, to rest.”

According to Transport Canada’s regulatory impact analysis leading up to the ELD mandate, there is an international consensus that fatigue is associated with 15-20% of crashes in transportation. As well, drivers with daily log violations are 2.3 times more likely to be involved in a collision. The study claims, after consulting with industry, that 5-10% of commercial drivers routinely exceed allowable HoS limits.

3. A level competitive playing field

Drivers and carriers that continually operate beyond legal HoS limits have an unfair competitive advantage over those who follow the rules.

“As these drivers are able to work more hours, they may be paid more than those who are following the rules, thereby making it easier for non-compliant motor carriers to recruit and retain drivers at a time when the industry is dealing with a driver shortage,” Transport Canada’s analysis says.

But that can lead to the increased risk of an incident due to being fatigued.

“When drivers are not violating the HoS limits, there is an increased likelihood of less fatigued driving,” said Mike Ahart, vice-president of regulatory affairs at Omnitracs, citing findings by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

“And while there has been discussion of an increase in truck speeds when paper logs went away, the speeding violations data published by the FMCSA does not support the notion.”

4. Help reduce mental distraction and stress

A compliant driver is a happy driver, and a happy driver is a safer driver.

Dan Columbus, Westcan Bulk Transport’s vice-president of health, safety and environment, told Today’s Trucking that drivers enjoy a better lifestyle when ELDs are used.

“(There is a) reduction in the overall incidents caused by mental distractions and stresses, and of course less physical paperwork with no manipulation,” he said.

5. Realize coaching opportunities

One of Canada’s largest carriers, Bison Transport, takes advantage of real-time drivers logs in a variety of ways to help improve safety and operational efficiencies.

“The ability to view a driver’s logs live offers timely opportunities to provide coaching and/or training when it is needed versus waiting for paper logs to come in to identify a concern,” said Bison safety manager Stephanie Fensom.

6. Improve operational efficiencies

 A robust ELD platform can also help streamline a carrier’s operations, making the life of dispatchers, office personnel and managers that much easier.

Munden underscored several ways ELDs have accomplished this for his company, including what he called “exception reporting”.

“Instead of having operations people reviewing hundreds of logbook pages to ensure compliance, now we only look at days that the system flags for out-of-compliance,” Fensom said.

“Because the system provides real-time information to both the driver in the cab and our office, those instances are extremely rare and are likely due to some kind of unexpected event on the road, and usually addressed immediately at the time.”

Glenn Williams, vice-president of product management at Trimble, said ELDs help safety managers proactively spot available hours across their driver base to pinpoint violations and eliminate safety risks before they occur.

“With additional components, such as customizable rulesets and exceptions, fleet managers can feel confident knowing they have full visibility into their drivers’ behavior to help identify any drivers exhibiting risky or potentially fatal actions.”

7. Answer more questions with additional data

ELDs also help eliminate form and manner errors in logbooks, ensuring no data field is overlooked. And the data can be used as ammunition to support difficult conversations with shippers and receivers about challenges such as excessive dwell times.

Some devices can also collect pre- and post-trip inspection reports, offering insights into the equipment itself.

“I would highly recommend ensuring that any system the company chooses does this, thereby eliminating any paperwork needed for driver and company daily compliance for CVSE (Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement),” Munden said.

8. Reduce the time auditing logs

Stepto said ELDs can even help eliminate the need for additional staff that would need to monitor, review, separate, and store paper logs.

“In most cases, dispatch can quickly review drivers’ available hours in order to plan better without putting the driver on the line,” he said.

Derek Clouthier

A university graduate with a degree in English, I have worked in the media and trucking industries as a writer, editor, and now as western bureau chief of Today's Trucking and TruckNews.com. I have several years of management experience in journalism, as well as hospitality, but am first and foremost a writer, both professionally and in my personal life, having completed two fiction novels.
derek@newcom.ca
@DerekClouthier

Have your say

We won't publish or share your data

*

  • That’s all bullshit. How many life’s have been lost since eld have went in effect I think the study has shown its the worst it’s been in 30 years. It’s funny how all these people make these stupid laws have never sit there ass in a truck

  • I would like to see the same amount of research put into the disadvantages of ELD for a driver,I am sure there are some. It seems that all of the 8 benefits you speak of are a benefit to management in ways of cutting cost and reducing staff. I would also like some time spent on headlights you can hardly look at their so bright, why the law does not enforce the speed limit,and the crazy driving by 4 wheelers which puts trucks in extreme danger all day long,and the poor quality of truck drivers.

  • The unfair advantage is in favor of the large Trucking companies. How does a 1 or 3 or 5 truck company compete against the big ones. If the big companies need to keep movement on a load they simply put it on a different truck and driver. I don’t have issue’s with the ELD I HAVE ISSUE WITH ALL THE CONTROLS. The ELD does not allow for anything but driving. If I’m tired I can not stop because if I do my schedule is destroyed.
    ELD’ were wanted by big business as a means to end competition from small fleets. No studies where done on the impact of the ELD on o/o’s or on driver’s that now can not stop for a short rest because of the strictness of the mandate. There should be provisions to allow some manner of hos time control that could or should be left to the driver. After all the people who wrote this law most likely never spent 1 day doing my job

  • We need to have give hourly pay at 1.9 times minimum wage and take away late delivery fees with Federal gov legislation for O T R truck drivers. With the lack of of parking since E L D’s came into the U S there has been a sharp increase in health issues including fungus in their feet. With out a complete a change in culture and treatment of the truck drivers E logs will make things much worse and chase more truck drivers to other things. These experienced truck drivers will be replaced with cheaper foreign less safe truck drivers by larger trucking companies.

  • Hi Derek, after you spent years and years behind the truck wheel,you are not going to write stupid things like this, as you know for big trucking companies eld is maybe good solution,for small trucking companies is disaster…..

  • Straight bullcrap. All lies. You say “drivers enjoy a better lifestyle when ELD’s are used” . That’s a damn lie; I am a trucker and the ELD is slavery, its main Function is to increase profits for the multinational CORPORATIONS by running the drivers to the max. They have a master/slave mentality.
    Using the FMCSA as reference for your statistics is lame because they have sold out to the multinational CORPORATIONS and are buddy buddy with the CEO’s of the large trucking outfits.

  • This sounds like it’s all benefits for the company and not the driver what about home time how about some benefits for the driver

  • So ELD’s are not distractingReally, did you fall off of a chair and bump your head?this whole article must have been written by someone who has never driven a truck or had to w
    ork for a living.As a driver for many years my words to you would be Wake up before you kill anyone else with your stupid ideas

  • No overall safety value, all reports show more accidents. Forces drivers to drive at the order of the computer to get the days work done. Forces drivers to spend break times close to home but not at home. For larger companies i can see the value of tracking and control, but it doesn’t work for smaller companies or one truck trucking companies that know and trust their drivers decisions.

  • Food sits in trailer longer.perishsbles last 2 days in fridge from west coast 2 east coast. Because of delays. Drove for 40 yrs. ELDs.in I’m out big brother can drive it. Cameras in cab 2 watch driver, more tym spent on third. Never had a chargeable accident but employer wants 2 spy on u driving down the rd. Keep it never again….

  • Its about control over drivers nothing about safety. Drivers are forced to speed drive through fatigue periods leading to bigger accidents more fatalities bigger insurance claims thats reality talk to any insurance company in the USA since ends came in there.

  • This sounds like FMCSA BS to me. All these supposed advantages are all for the company.

    Happy drivers are safe drivers, bull. These idiots drive every where at max speed to maximize their miles.

  • There is some improvement with ELOGS but still a ways off to being acceptable. I would gladly go back to 8-10, 4 on 4 off days of past. I would gladly give up an hour to get a 5 on and 5 off split available for team. The 2 and 8 and 3 and 7 are starts in the right direction, but falls short for real improvement and flexibility. The day laws are inforced upon shippers and receivers will be the day conditions improve for drivers.

  • God almighty you sure drank the coolaide let my 30yrs of over the road tell you the truth junior 1st thing drivers drive more crazy now cause they are against a clock causing more accidents more sleep deprived more stress more speeding tickets an more death on are roads there are better ways to handle this but no one is listening I’d love to talk about this but I must kick it gear

  • As a professional driver, I believe that the electronic logbook is a tool to push the driver to the maximum. All this is done so that warehouse owners can plan and reduce jobs. You can see these safety lies on the roads, I have never seen truckers in such a hurry before. I’ve never seen trucks in the left-hand lane before. This is a very common picture now. I used to have time for a half-hour jog, eating a meal in peace, now it’s a race against the clock. I literally think this is a new form of slavery, but it looks nice for an audience that doesn’t know how the system works from the inside out. When it comes to legality that’s another lie. Using the “on duty” time according to the law during the entire loading process, preparation of documents for borders, weighing of the load, etc. after 4 days, 70 hours would be completed. I am convinced that the prosecutor would look for all details if necessary. Drivers know very well that moving around large warehouses or even looking for an empty trailer is a big loss, 70 hours. If anyone really thinks about safety, we drivers should be paid by the hour then every driver would be driving with the regulations, enjoying having an electronic login. But here those who praise the advantages of this type of control, never mention such a possibility because they lie

  • I sure happy that I am retired from driving ..Some days you might drive 17 hours and others 8 hours depending how you felt but always arrived on time and safe (30 plus years)

  • Good Afternoon,

    How will ELD’s affect the carriers who have glider trucks, they still don’t have the technology and using paper logs.
    This would make them ELD exempt correct, there are lots of these carriers going up and down the road every day and still buying gliders.

    Steve