The electronic logging device (ELD) rule specifies drivers who record their Hours of Service must find and implement an electronic logging device prior to the compliance deadline of Dec. 18, 2017.
The final rule was published in December 2015. It is intended to enhance driver safety and make it faster and easier to accurately manage, track, and share records of duty (RODS) data.
The ATA and many lawmakers applaud the rule, saying paper logs are often inaccurate and inefficient. But some drivers are trepidatious, fearing “big brother” style management and an invasion of privacy.
Regardless of where you or your employees stand on the issue, everyone—with a few exceptions—will have to comply. Read on for five tips to help drivers adjust to ELD implementation.
You may not have time to read the 126-page rule in its entirety, but it is important to grasp the basics. Understand enough about what the new legislation requires, how the ELD technology works, and how it will affect drivers so you can impart this knowledge to your employees.
One point of reassurance for drivers is there are specific provisions preventing the use of ELD technology to harass drivers. For example, it is necessary that ELDs can be muted while the driver is sleeping. The rule also outlines procedures drivers should take if they feel their employers have failed to comply with those provisions.
2. Communication Openly
As with any major change, there are many misconceptions circulating about the new rule. Open communication will help quell any false rumors and misinformation before it spreads through the company ranks.
Take the time to discuss the rule with your employees, answering any questions and addressing any concerns. Include such points as: an overview of how the technology works; what to do if the device breaks down or service is lost; drivers’ rights; how the logged information is used; and when your fleet will be implementing the ELDs.
Make sure the conversation is inclusive of everyone in the company. All staff members will have to be trained and informed about ELDs, so it isn’t just the drivers who will be affected.
3. Point Out the Positives
The rule has many benefits. In addition to streamlining a historically labor-intensive task, many of the changes will benefit drivers directly.
These include: minimizing interruptions for “driver check” calls to verify delivery ETA or HOS availability; maximizing driver time by using every available minute; minimizing paperwork; protection from harassment with a digital audit trail to prevent manipulation or distortion of the logs; improved safety with increased accountability for both drivers and employers; and streamlined roadside checks.
4. Follow Through With Implementation
Whether yours is a small or large fleet, it will take some time for you and your employees to adjust to the new changes.
Make a plan for implementing and managing the changeover, and follow through on that plan at each step of the way. The management plan should cover everything from preparing for the switch to following up with drivers once they’ve begun using the new system.
Don’t wait until the last minute to start working on the changeover. Beginning in advance will give you more time to gradually roll out the new system and promptly fix any issues that may arise.
Be sure to give and receive feedback from all employees and remain open in your communications.
5. Share the Rewards
Make sure your employees are incentivized to go along with the new plan. The implementation of ELDs carries several cost-saving benefits for the business, including lower maintenance, administration, and fuel costs and increased safety. Fleets that have already installed the ELDs have also reported an increase in utilization, which maximizes the allowable number of driving hours.
With increased profit to your business, you might consider spreading the wealth through cash incentives, employee perks or other forms of recognition that make a driver’s job more enjoyable and the changeover less difficult.