When it comes to implementing an electronic logging device (ELD) solution, it’s time for carriers to have a little more confidence in their drivers’ ability to adapt to the new technology.
That’s the advice of Derek Gaston, supervisor of truck operations for CN Rail, who has rolled out an ELD platform not once but twice to a large fleet.
“A lot of drivers are really smart, they already know what to do, it’s not going to take them that long to do the training,” said Gaston. “When you do see a driver who is having difficulty, concentrate on that one driver.”
With Canada’s ELD mandate set for a June 2021 deadline, carriers still riding the paper log train are encouraged to make the transition sooner rather than later if they want to avoid unnecessary headaches.
“With a bit more than seven months left, I would start right away,” Gaston said during a recent webinar moderated by Today’s Trucking editor James Menzies. “We took five months of just demoing stuff, so it’s really important that you evaluate your business needs and compare it to the options that are out there to find what is best suited to your business.”
Jean-Sebastien Bouchard, vice-president of sales for Isaac Instruments, echoed Gaston’s sentiment that fleets not delay the adoption of ELDs.
“It’s important for people to remember that implementation takes time, and you want to make sure that you position your purchase with the moment you will be deploying your solution,” said Bouchard. “You want to be deploying your solution in the low season for your organization and not in the high season. Between now and June, when is the next best phase or low season for you to implement such a solution?”
Gaston said taking a team approach that includes peer training was one important lesson he learned after implementing ELDs the first time around – one that not only sped up the process but also benefitted drivers.
“(Drivers) were probably less shy about asking questions and also receive the criticism or answers from the other driver,” he said.
As for what carriers should be looking for in an ELD solution, Gaston underscored the importance of reliability.
“Reliability was the number one thing that we put as a criteria,” he said. “To be user-friendly, that was very important as well so that drivers can adapt to it as fast as they can. And because of the resurgence of Covid-19, the capability to have remote access to the tablet is a huge advantage for all teams across Canada and the U.S.”
In addition to their hours of service benefits, ELDs are also key to tapping into a fleet and driver’s full potential.
CN Rail has seen a 40% decrease in its high-cost accidents with the use of ELDs and related driver coaching tools, something Gaston said was “absolutely phenomenal.”
“Because of all the data that’s coming in, you can focus your training on different aspects of the driver’s day, and once you can focus those aspects you can correct the behaviors and actually bring down your accidents,” he said. “There are a lot of analytics we can get out of (an ELD) – driver behaviors and stuff like that.”
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