The industry-wide electronic logging mandate is set to go into full effect next year and the effects will be seen in driver jobs and freight rates across the country.

Whether you’re a driver working as an independent truck owner operator or a shipper managing logistics at a major company, you have probably heard a great deal about the upcoming enactment of the e-logging mandate that will forever change the trucking industry.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced the new federal rule will go into effect December 18, 2017, giving drivers and carriers a two-year window to comply. Essentially, every truck that belongs to a trucking company or an independent owner-operator must feature a functioning and recording electronic logging device (ELD), which will be the official industry standard in record-keeping of driver hours. While many drivers are lamenting this new technology, they may have a bit of a leg up if they comply sooner rather than later. Additionally, shippers need to realize how this mandate will also affect their rates and their relationships with freight companies.

What Are the Key Components of the Electronic Logging Mandate?

The e-logging mandate boils down to several key components that are important to understand as this mandate’s widespread enactment looms over the horizon:

  1. ELD’s have to be certified, registered, and listed on the FMCSA website.
  2. Technical specifications must be followed to ensure ELDs are standardized and compliant.
  3. Standard data displays and data transfer processes are necessary to demonstrate compliance and share Record of Duty Status (RODS) with safety officials.
  4. Provisions will be added to help protect drivers from harassment by carriers due to ELD’s potential for constant monitoring.

If you are a carrier using automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) before the rule compliance date, the new rule will replace AOBRDs with ELDs over a 4-year implementation period.

What Are the Challenges Involved With E-Log Compliance?

Essentially, the cost of purchasing ELDs for independent owner-operators, as well as trucking companies, adds financial pressure to comply without negatively impacting either’s bottom line. In order to report your RODS, you must pay an annualized price of $165 to $832 per truck, as well as purchasing an ELD with an average price tag of $495 per truck.

As ELD manufacturers see a flood of business, they are beginning to introduce less expensive fleet management system models to meet the high demand. This can help defray the costs and ease general compliance concerns for drivers looking to lessen the pains of transition.

What Is the Potential Impact for Drivers?

There are many benefits to installing ELDs, such as accurate and error-free logs, speedier inspection times, easy dispatching, and better, more precise fuel management. If this record-keeping technology is new to you, there will be a learning curve involved, which means it might take a while before the benefits become palpable. Implementation of ELDs will also require new training courses and technological updates to entire truck fleets.

A concern for drivers is the potential for driver harassment when the mandate goes into effect. It is a real worry that they will lose much of their autonomy and ability to drive safely and without stress due to the pressures put on them by strictly adhering to the mandate. But, there are safeguards put in place by FMCSA that allow driver access to their records. Plus, to prevent harassment against drivers, a new complaint procedure will be implemented to give drivers a voice as they grow into this new work model. Ideally, the mandate will help keep drivers safe while on the road, while helping to avoid excessive hours at the wheel without rest and breaks.

How Will the E-Logging Mandate Affect Shippers?

While the electronic logging mandate stands to protect and benefit shippers from less-than-ethical and unorganized freight companies, they also have to comply with the new system. As drivers enter the re-training process, shippers will likely have concerns about reduced capacity with their carrier and less attention being paid to their shipments due to a focus on learning, complying with, and implementing the new technology.

That’s why it is so important to establish great relationships now with a freight carrier you can trust. A mutually-beneficial, collaborative relationship with one carrier will help you come out of this learning curve successfully without impacting your current business.

If you are worried or have any questions about the impact of the upcoming e-logging mandate, contact RCX Solutions at 866-336-9697 and we can help you sort through all the costs and logistics.