Shipping companies that are waiting until the federal deadline to implement electronic logging will miss out on key benefits that come with the new driver-tracking system.
The electronic logs mandate is part of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s efforts to improve road safety and regulatory compliance among commercial truck operators. Drivers must install electronic logging devices, or ELDs, to record their vehicles’ speed, location, and hours of operation. The devices will ultimately identify drivers who work an unsafe number of hours. Regulators believe electronic logging will reduce driver fatigue, preventing an estimated 26 deaths and 562 injuries and saving more than $1 billion every year. If you own a ground freight shipping company, the mandate will require you to almost exclusively work with drivers who have installed ELDs. While the measure does not go into full effect until December 16, 2017, early compliance offers the following benefits for your operations.
Establish New Prices and Schedules
By law, drivers may not be behind the wheel more than 11 hours a day before parking for a 10-hour break. Until recently, however, this law was difficult to enforce, and drivers would often work beyond the legal limit to deliver their loads more quickly. As a result, most shipping companies have established price rates and schedules based on illegal driving activity. Electronic logging will prevent drivers from lying about their hours, a change that may force you to raise your costs and adjust your shipping times. The sooner your company installs ELDs, the more flexibility you will have when creating new baselines for your logistics and communicating these updates to your customers.
Identify Drivers Who Are Liabilities
Drivers who lie about their hours risk their safety and your company’s reputation to serve their own self-interests. Adopting electronic logs as soon as possible gives you a valuable opportunity to identify and deal with these employees before there are harsh penalties for documented rule-breakers. Any worker who refuses to comply with the early push for e-logging is immediately suspect. You should not let them haul another load until they have agreed to electronic logging, and you will want to keep an eye on their hours after you have installed the ELD unit.
Address Driver Concerns
You should note that not all drivers who question the mandate are untrustworthy. Some worry about a loss of autonomy, an understandable concern in an industry where determination and independence are valuable traits. The law addresses these concerns by creating a complaint process, forbidding harassment, and allowing drivers to monitor their own records. It may take time for your shipping company to successfully implement these procedures, and early adoption can help your drivers acclimate to this new system. Consider installing ELDs and then scheduling roundtable sessions in the months leading up to the deadline so you can address any lingering doubts or resentment and get your employees on board.
Reduce Emergency Response Times
Early adoption of electronic logging allows your team to quickly respond to accidents and handle any legal repercussions with greater accuracy. In the event of an accident, the ELD will have a record of where the truck is, how fast it was traveling, and what its load was at the time of the crash. You can then use this information to dispatch the necessary aid while informing customers of the disruption, minimizing delays and potentially saving lives.
Improve Shipping Efficiency
Although electronic logging will raise prices and delivery times in the short term, it has the potential to more than pay for itself over time. ELDs will allow you to compare different drivers’ routes and delivery times with remarkable detail. You can leverage this data to improve your logistics strategy, in turn reducing shipping times and costs. Adopting electronic logging months before your competitors could lead to valuable business insights that give you an edge over competitors who wait until December 2017.
If you are looking for a shipping company that is knowledgeable about the electronic logs mandate and its effects on the logistics industry, contact RCX Solutions today at 866-336-9697. We believe the most successful shipping companies adjust quickly to changes in the industry, and we take pride in our adoption of electronic logging technology.