The ELD Mandate: Learnings from the Past Year

November 29, 2018

It’s been nearly a year since the ELD mandate went into effect and hard enforcement has been in full swing. We took a step back to look at some of the common challenges faced during the implementation period and to share tips to equip your drivers for success going forward.

Driver retention matters more than ever

The driver shortage is already on everyone's minds, and with the ELD mandate there are new challenges to consider when trying to retain your best and most experienced drivers. As the ELD mandate came into effect, many veteran drivers decided it was time to retire rather than get up to speed with electronic logging devices. Coupled with this shift, other drivers have decided that they no longer want to do long-haul trucking and have switched to local, making it even harder to find drivers to staff all of your routes.

Because electronic logging devices strictly enforce hours of service rules, some drivers who are paid per mile report making lower salaries than they did before the mandate. Given that there's strong demand for drivers across the country, if you're using per-mile salaries it might be worth rethinking your compensation model or adding supplemental incentives to stay competitive in this employee's market.

ELDs that don’t function as well as they should have been one source of driver frustration this year. Make sure you're investing in a modern system that's committed to listening to customer feedback and adapting to changing regulations with consistent updates. (You can learn more about Samsara's ELD solution here.)

Looking for more ways to retain drivers amid a changing industry? Check out our tips for driver retention here.

Equip your drivers for success

In April of this year, when hard enforcement went into effect, it became clear that there was a steep learning curve, not just for carriers and drivers, but also for enforcement officials. Here are some suggestions of what you can do to make sure your drivers and fleet don't run into compliance issues during inspections.

Ensure your drivers know if their vehicle has an ELD or AOBRD

As investigators started enforcing the ELD mandate during roadside inspections, it became clear that drivers don't always know what type of device is installed in their vehicle. Make sure your drivers are fully versed on whether they're using an ELD or an AOBRD—and what the difference is between the two. Knowing whether or not their device can transfer files to the FMCSA, for example, will go a long way towards ensuring a smooth inspection.

Practice DOT inspections

Another recurring issue over the past year has been the data transfer process. Make sure your drivers know how to transfer ELD data to inspection officers and run through the steps of an inspection to get drivers comfortable with the process. Our step-by-step guide walks you through how a log transfer works.

Verify that vehicles have the correct in-cab materials

In order to avoid violations, make sure every driver has an in-cab kit with the ELD user manual and DOT inspection card. You can download copies of them here.

Provide proper training on ELDs

Make sure drivers know how to sign in, sign out, and certify their logs with their ELD. Proper training is critical to keeping everyone compliant. It's especially important that drivers remember to sign out at the end of their shift so that their off-duty time is logged.

Encourage drivers to annotate their logs

By having your drivers leave remarks on their duty status, they create a historical record of what happened that day. Annotations come in handy in cases of unassigned drive time or when managing special duty statuses and provide a helpful record during audits.

Looking ahead to the end of the 'grandfather clause'

Beginning in December 2019, AOBRDs installed before the ELD mandate went into effect will no longer be accepted as compliant devices. If your fleet currently has AOBRDs, it's best to start preparing for the transition to ELDs now to ensure a smooth migration.

Looking for an ELD solution? Samsara can help you stay compliant and improve fleet efficiency. Reach out to us for a demo and free trial.

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