The Possibility of ELD Supply Shortage
The Possibility of ELD Supply Shortage

The deadline for the ELD mandate is less than 4 months away now.

While a large majority of fleets in the U.S. have successfully implemented ELDs, there are still many carriers who are waiting until the last moment. We expect there to be a large influx of carriers looking for ELDs at the eleventh hour, which could result in an ELD supply shortage.

As a result, there will be many trucking companies that won’t be able to get ELDs in time.

When that happens, the trucking company without ELDs won’t have much choice but to put their operations on hold. Otherwise, they run the risk of getting penalized or shut down due to noncompliance.

That’s how dangerous the scenario can become for trucking companies who try to transition to ELDs at the last minute. With how big the stakes are of being noncompliant with the ELD mandate, it pays for carriers to transition to ELDs as soon as possible.

The FMCSA’s Director on Planning Ahead

Joe DeLorenzo, the director of the FMCSA, recently gave some advice for the trucking industry.

The advice he shared was about helping carriers transition to ELDs easily and be compliant with the rule before the deadline takes effect.

He said that he was particularly concerned about truck drivers who use the short-haul exemption and occasionally exceed the exemption for more than 8 days in a 30-day period. In his own words:

“The one [area] that I’m most concerned about is the 8-day rule. Because the 8-day rule is the one where you can’t be figuring this out on the seventh day in any 30-day period and finding out that this is going to be a problem.”

He believes that the 8-day-rule can prove to be problematic especially for fleets who come unprepared. On the other hand, if fleets have already prepared by implementing ELDs, they will be sure after the December 2017 deadline of where their short-haul drivers stand and whether or not they will require ELDs.

“That’s what happens a lot: ‘my driver went down sick for a couple of days, and now, suddenly, I’m going to be losing this exception, and that [other] driver is going to need an ELD’. Then you have to got to go back, and you have got to enter all that information into the ELD so the driver can use it, and then it’s just a lot more work for everyone.”

He then introduces the importance of planning ahead.

“I don’t think I can stress that enough — thinking ahead and figuring out what you as a carrier are really going to need in terms of those exceptions is going to be really important.”

The Major Problems With Last-Minute ELD Acquisition

Apart from the possible shortage of ELD supply, there are a few other major problems as well that carriers may have to face. Some of those problems are:

  • ELDs provide valuable data and insights into a fleet’s operations. If your competitors are using ELDs while you aren’t, they can utilize that data and sneak ahead of you.
  • The FMCSA estimates that the ELD mandate and use of ELDs will save the trucking industry approximately $1 billion per year in reduced paperwork. Fleets waiting until the last moment to adopt ELDs will continue bearing the extra cost for paperwork and administrative tasks.
  • ELD training is an essential aspect of ELD transition. Fleets that are planning to implement ELDs at the eleventh hour won’t have enough time to conduct multiple training sessions for drivers and fleet managers.
  • ELD prices are also expected to rise as the deadline grows closer.
  • ELD implementation at the last moment can feel a burden to drivers as well as fleet managers — especially without sufficient time for ELD training. It can lead to driver frustration and can result in a high driver turnover rate.

Parting Advice

We do not recommend waiting until the last moment to start the ELD implementation process. It is a complex process that requires lots of research, comparison among different ELD vendors, conducting training sessions, learning about ELDs, and doing trial runs before the compliance deadline.

Start the ELD implementation process now to avoid all these problems and get ahead of your competitors. By taking action now, you will be able to lock in great prices. Also, you won’t have to worry about the possible shortage of ELDs.

Use our ELD price comparison chart and ELD features comparison chart to the find the best, most cost-effective ELD solution for your fleet.

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