Introducing ELDs to Drivers: 6 Important Points to Highlight for ELD transition
Introducing ELDs to Drivers: 6 Important Points to Highlight

The ELD mandate is almost here. Fleets have less than 9 months to prepare for it, install ELDs, train their staff, and be compliant.

It seems there is not enough time and a lot of things to do.

One of the biggest problems for fleets, however, is that many drivers are still unwilling to adopt ELDs. They believe that ELDs are going to make their lives difficult and more complex. So they don’t seem to care if fleets are going to get into trouble if they don’t comply with the FMCSA’s final ELD rule.

That’s a bit of a conundrum for fleet managers and trucking companies’ upper management: they don’t want to make their drivers feel left out, but at the same time they also have to comply with FMCSA’s ELD mandate.

What’s the solution then?

If you are struggling with the same problem, the solution is to introduce ELDs to your drivers more strategically and tactfully.

In this blog post, we share 6 such strategies that fleet managers and upper management can use for a smoother ELD transition. Introducing ELDs to drivers is an important step towards compliance, and the following tips will definitely help you.

1. Explain the Need of ELDs

DOT Compliant ELD Devices

The first step is to be completely transparent and explain the need of ELDs to your drivers.

Explain that ELDs are mandated by the government; it’s not a decision of the company’s management. And to remain compliant and work without penalties, fleets must install ELDs. There is no other option.

Don’t forget to mention that the ELD mandate is here to stay. Although OOIDA challenged the ELD mandate, their claims have been rejected. Moreover, their rehearing petition has also been rejected. It pretty much proves that the decision isn’t going to be reversed in the near future, and fleets must prepare for the mandate.

Once drivers understand — and truly accept — that ELDs are government mandated, it will become easier to accept and support your company’s decision.

2. Fewer Hours-of-Service Violations

ELDs can minimize the Hours of Service violations

Hours-of-Service violations are the bane of drivers. They hate HOS violations, as they damage their reputation as well as disturbs their daily routine and schedules.

Explain how ELDs drastically reduce the number of HOS violations by notifying drivers of upcoming violations with audible alerts. Also, electronic logging systems completely eradicate Form & Manner violations that so many drivers get from time to time.

You can also mention that your company is losing a ton of money because of HOS violations, fines, and penalties. Every company does. This is no hidden secret. According to a recent study, in the first quarter of 2017 (from January 2017 to March 2017) the trucking industry has been slapped with HOS violations worth nearly $400 million.

You have to make your drivers see that these fines can be avoided with electronic logging systems. The money companies save can be invested back into the company and drivers to create more income-generating possibilities for everyone.

3. Highlight the Problems You’re Trying to Solve

Transitioning to ELDs will solve the problem of ELD mandate compliance

Every company has its own set of challenges that they want to be solved. In the trucking industry, it’s all the more important.

Explaining and highlighting the problems that you are trying to solve can be a big plus point here. Electronic logging devices are powerful, and they can solve a lot of major issues that fleets face on a daily basis, e.g.,

  • Lack of communication on road
  • GPS tracking
  • Inefficient routes
  • Driver log errors
  • IFTA reports
  • Vehicle maintenance issues
  • Idle time tracking

And much more.

4. Explain What ELDs Do and Can’t Do

Explaining the facts and myths around ELDs and what they can't do

Perhaps one of the most important things you can do while introducing ELDs to drivers is to explain what ELDs can and cannot do.

It’s important to understand that most drivers are drawn to this business because of the autonomy trucking industry provides. Now with the upcoming ELD mandate, drivers feel that their privacy and independence will be compromised. In short, they believe that the trucking industry — and working in the industry — won’t be the same anymore.

Most of this is based on ELD myths that circulate the internet. When introducing ELDs to drivers, it is your job to bust those myths and explain precisely what ELDs do and do not do.

There are three major points that you must highlight and openly discuss with your drivers:

1. ELDs don’t track a driver’s personal data — This is perhaps the biggest point most of your drivers will be concerned about. In this day and age of everything digital, privacy is a big concern. Drivers are skeptical that ELDs track a driver’s personal data — which, of course, isn’t true.

Explain that it is just a myth. ELDs are connected with the engine of the vehicle, and they track when a vehicle moves and stops. That’s it. Electronic logging devices don’t have the ability to track a driver’s personal data.

When OOIDA challenged the ELD mandate, one of their biggest points was that ELDs violate the drivers’ 4th amendment right to privacy. The fact that the court ruled against it is a solid proof that ELDs aren’t capable of that.

2. ELDs can’t shut down trucks — Another big concern amongst drivers is that ELDs can autonomously shut down trucks. If your drivers have this concern, you should explain to them that ELDs can simply record engine’s data. Other than that, they just don’t have the ability to shut down a vehicle.

FMCSA was very specific in its requirements. And if you choose an FMCSA-certified ELD (which you will have to eventually), you can rest assured that it is 100% compliant and doesn’t have any abilities that FMCSA made prohibited, e.g., shutting down vehicles.

3. Data is instantly sent to the government — Again, this isn’t true. It is a common misconception that the data ELDs record is directly sent to the government. However, the truth is that reports are only generated when drivers or fleet managers initiate the process, and the data mostly remains within the trucking company.

It’s crucial to explain that only authorized personnel in your trucking company will have access to certain data points, e.g., the location of the vehicle. All of this means that the truck drivers are always protected.

5. Driver Protection from Coercion & Lawsuits

ELDs protect driver from driver coercion and harassment

When introducing ELDs to drivers, you must highlight the direct benefits of ELDs that drivers receive. Once they see the benefits of electronic logging devices, they will become more accepting towards it.

One of the biggest advantages of ELDs for drivers is that these devices protect drivers in certain cases. For example, drivers can use ELD data to protect themselves in the case of:

  • Coercion by managers to drive for more hours than drivers are supposed to drive, and
  • Accidents and crashes where the driver wasn’t at fault.

The data ELDs record can be used as evidence if drivers are compelled to violate federal safety regulations and drive for more hours than they are supposed to. Since the data recorded by ELDs cannot be edited, drivers can easily win the case.

Similarly, in the case of an accident where the driver isn’t at fault, drivers can again use the data recorded by the ELD and present it as an evidence. Since ELDs record a truck’s movement before, during, and after the crash, drivers can use the data as a very strong evidence when they aren’t at fault.

Without ELDs, however, there would be no way to claim that

6. Improved Efficiency and Productivity of Drivers

ELDs improve driver efficiency and driver productivity

Last, but not the least, it’s a fact that ELDs improve efficiency and productivity of drivers. As fleet managers trying to introduce ELDs to your drivers, this becomes an extremely important point that you must highlight.

How do ELDs improve productivity exactly?

Well, there are multiple ways:

  • First, electronic logging devices make sure that drivers do not have to work past their driving hours. It minimized drowsiness and driver fatigue, which, in turn, makes drivers productive, more efficient, and less prone to accidents.
  • Second, with ELDs installed, drivers do not have to waste their time with paper logs. Maintaining paper logs is a time-consuming and tedious process for drivers. Drivers could easily spend that time driving and making money. ELDs automatically track all the data, so drivers don’t have to maintain paper logs and waste their valuable time on non-billable tasks.

What’s Next?

Introducing ELDs to your drivers is the first step towards compliance.

There is bound to be some resistance from drivers, but it is the management’s job to put all such concerns to ease.

Be transparent, communicate, and engage your drivers. Installing ELDs is an important decision for your fleet, and it should have all relevant parties on board. Ultimately, drivers are the ones that drive ELD-installed vehicles. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to make sure they understand the requirements and support the company’s decision to transition to ELDs.

What do you think the most important problem is during the ELD transition process? Let us know.

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