The misconception and myths surrounding the ELD mandate have led to a good number of trucking companies to view ELDs as harmful and damaging to their business.
What’s worse, because they believe these myths to be true, they are making a conscious decision to delay installing ELDs in their trucks, which is ultimately causing them to miss out on all the benefits that ELDs can bring to their business.
If that isn’t bad enough, not only are the trucking companies missing out on the benefits of using ELDs, but they are also needlessly wasting their money by paying for expenses or fees that they would have been able to avoid, had they installed ELDs in their trucks.
Today, we will debunk some of the most common ELD myths that some truckers have fallen for. We hope, as a result, trucking companies will be able to see the picture more clearly and make better business decisions.
1. My existing logging method is fine.
As of this writing, the trucking industry has accrued over 6 million dollars worth of HOS fines from the beginning of the year. That speaks volumes of how inadequate truckers’ existing method of logging is.
When drivers are manually logging their records by hand, there is room for inaccuracy or them hands-down forgetting to log their hours. Of course, these can lead to them getting fined and their CSA scores getting affected negatively.
All of this can be avoided when ELDs are installed in a truck because ELDs will automatically (and accurately) track drivers’ hours (among other crucial data).
2. ELDs are very confusing to use.
On the drivers’ end, there isn’t much tinkering that they’d need to do once the ELDs have been set up. As ELDs connect with the engine of a commercial vehicle and collects data automatically — that can’t be edited — there really isn’t much to do anyway.
While the web dashboard that fleet managers would have to work with might look a bit more complex, learning how to use the web dashboard isn’t rocket science either. With just a couple of hours of training, they’d be able to figure out how to use the program.
Because most ELD providers are aware of how important their users’ experience are when navigating around their software, they purposefully design their software to look simple, intuitive, and easy to use.
Furthermore, every good ELD vendor is already providing technical support and a customer call center, learning curve isn’t really a problem.
3. ELDs are too expensive.
Carriers can get ELDs for as low as $20 per month (per device) all while enjoying quality service.
Considering the number of violations/fees the carriers can avoid from having ELDs installed in their trucks and the added productivity that their drivers and fleet managers can get, it makes having ELDs insanely affordable.
Having said that, however, there are several ELD providers that are still charging a lot of money — and quite unreasonably, to be honest. In addition to monthly charges, they also demand installation + hardware charges, which really doesn’t make any sense.
Do not pay extra for ELDs. Pay what is reasonable.
Use our ELD price comparison chart to find out the exact cost each ELD vendor demands.
4. Drivers need to monitor their ELDs constantly while driving
ELDs are designed to help make drivers’ lives easier — not to complicate it.
There is no need for the drivers to tinker on their ELDs as they drive, since ELDs are connected to the vehicle’s diagnostic port.
Also, ELDs can track movement of a vehicle automatically and can even change the drivers’ statuses accordingly. This means less hassle for drivers and more time to focus on what they do best — driving.
Another thing to note is that drivers won’t have to get their eyes off the road. ELDs will send an audible notification/warning if any driver is nearing a violation.
So, if you look at it objectively, drivers don’t really need to monitor ELDs. In fact, it is the complete opposite of it.
5. ELDs will control the vehicle.
When ELDs are installed, the truck drivers still have full control over their vehicles.
ELDs only track, monitor or generate reports. These devices aren’t capable of controlling vehicles.
6. ELDs will invade truck drivers’ privacy.
The OOIDA (Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association) once challenged the ELD mandate mentioning how the mandate will violate the drivers’ 4th amendment rights to privacy.
The SCCA (Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals) disagreed and ruled against all the points brought up by the OOIDA. Of course, this includes the issue they pointed out about ELDs violating the drivers’ 4th amendment right to privacy.
If the SCCA disagreed with the OOIDA’s claims about the ELDs violating the drivers’ rights to privacy after carefully reviewing the case, then drivers can be confident that their rights aren’t being violated.
7. Trucking companies hate ELDs.
While trucking companies have until December 2017 to be ELD compliant, a good number of them have already taken the initiative to have ELDs installed in their trucks because of the benefits they can enjoy from having these devices.
It’s also important to note how trucking companies have been using electronic devices to record their HOS way back in the 1980s.
This can only mean that trucking companies do not hate ELDs.
While there are misconceptions about ELDs that is causing other truckers to see ELDs in a negative light, they often realize the mistake as soon as they are educated of how ELDs can work wonders when it comes to growing their business.
For a more detailed discussion on the same topic, read our other blog post, Benefits of ELD.
8. Truck drivers hate ELDs.
These are the common things that drivers hate:
- Earning less because of the amount of time they spend on administrative (unpaid) tasks like filling in paper logs.
- Having to answer phone calls from fleet managers for updates on their location when they should be focusing on driving.
- Getting HOS violations.
- Experiencing road crashes because they were drowsy/fatigued while driving.
- Being coerced to drive much more than they comfortably can.
- ELDs can help prevent these things from happening, and then some.
9. ELDs can’t help with driver safety.
There are two ways ELDs can help with drivers’ safety:
- Because drivers can easily avoid HOS violations with the help of ELDs, chances of them driving while drowsy becomes highly unlikely. This can help them avoid crashes.
- ELDs can detect fault codes when vehicles have problems. The device will then alert the driver and the fleet manager about the fault code, causing drivers to drive even more carefully or pull over if the issue is critical.This can result in truck drivers avoiding road crashes due to faulty brakes or tire problems (among other maintenance problems).
10. ELDs will automatically report truck drivers’ violations to the inspectors.
ELDs will only generate reports when truck drivers or fleet managers process it. It doesn’t report drivers’ road violations to the authorities automatically.
11. ELDs will affect drivers’ performance negatively.
The functions and features added on ELDs are meant to help improve drivers’ working conditions. Because of how minimal drivers’ would need to tinker with ELDs, it is highly unlikely that their performance will be impacted negatively.
On the contrary, with all the benefits that ELDs bring to the table, drivers are bound to improve their driving habits. One crucial point to consider is how ELDs can monitor drivers’ bad habits. Once these details are revealed to drivers through ELDs, truck drivers are then able to make adjustments on how they drive.
12. ELDs will complicate the work of fleet managers.
The time that fleet managers would spend to learn how the new web dashboard works is just about the only thing that would be slightly hassling for them.
As soon as the fleet managers understand how to use the new tool, they’d be able to increase their productivity and their work also becomes a lot less complicated.
For example, they’d be able to generate IFTA reports in seconds since they won’t have to calculate drivers’ records manually.
Also, when shippers call them for the status of their cargo, they won’t have to keep on calling drivers for updates. Fleet managers can easily view any vehicle’s location in real-time through their fleet management dashboard. It gives them the ability to address the shippers’ questions without having to make additional calls.
13. Large fleets are the only ones required to use ELDs.
The fleets’ size has nothing to do with whether or not a truck is impacted by the mandate.
According to the ELD mandate, all commercial trucks required to record paper logs of their RODS is required to use ELDs in replacement of their paper logs.
There are some exceptions (which are mentioned in the next point), but the size of the fleet isn’t one of them.
14. Every commercial truck drivers are required to have ELDs.
Not all commercial vehicles are required to have ELDs. These are the ELD mandate exemptions:
Trucks manufactured before 2000.
The drivers who are not required to record their RODS.
Tow-away or drive-away trucks/operations.
Drivers who maintain logs for less than 8 days in a 30-day period.
15. All ELDs are acceptable to the FMCSA.
Some ELDs aren’t compliant to FMCSA’s requirements and are not certified by the DOT.
When you have an ELD installed in your trucks that aren’t compliant, you still run the risk of getting violations during roadside inspections.
Check out our ELD Features Comparison Tool to see which ELD vendors have FMCSA-certified ELDs.
16. ELDs only record Hours-of-Service Details
ELDs can track/monitor droves of data about the trucks. That is why trucking companies are happy with installing ELDs because of the insights it can give them which they can use to optimize their business operations.
These are some of the other data that the ELDs can obtain:
- Fuel consumption of vehicles
- Drivers’ driving habits.
- Vehicle’s movement like sudden brakes, sharp turns, or quick stops.
- Fault codes of a vehicle.
- Location of vehicles in real-time.
- Distance drivers traveled by jurisdiction.
- Drivers’ idle time.
And there is much more that what most ELDs can do.
Depending who your ELD providers are and their ELD’s features, you’d be able to get more details about your vehicles.
17. ELDs just add unnecessary cost.
As mentioned on one of my points above, you can have high-quality ELDs installed in your trucks for as low as $20 per month.
Now let’s take a look at some of the benefits you can get from having ELDs installed in your trucks:
- Fewer HOS or other roadside violations.
- Fewer fees associated with clerical tasks like generating IFTA reports, etc.
- Fewer roadside accidents because your drivers are adhering to HOS rules.
- Fewer roadside accidents due to maintenance issues like broken lights or tire problems.
- Minimum fuel wastage.
- Better client acquisition due to trucking companies having good CSA scores.
- You’ll have minimum truck downtimes.
- Affordable insurance premiums.
- Higher profit
When you peg the cost of having ELDs with the benefits associated with having one, it becomes abundantly clear how the ELDs can easily pay for itself, and then some.