The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, has issued a new rule for the trucking industry that demands that truck drivers and companies use electronic logging devices, or ELDs, to make sure that all drivers remain compliant with industry regulations.
Specifically, the ELDs are designed to prevent truck drivers from exceeding hours-of-service rules. Drivers who remain on the road for longer periods of time can fall victim to fatigue, distraction, and other hazards that might make them dangerous to themselves or others.
While many admit there are pros and cons to the use of electronic logging devices, if you haven't implemented a way to ensure ELD compliance, you must do so by December 18, 2017. Following are a few excellent compliance solutions to help you keep your trucking company within the FMCSA's regulations.
Alert ELD Platform
Several software programs exist for ELD compliance. For instance, the Alert ELD platform is an FMCSA-certified, cloud-based solution that allows users to access the technology from any device, including smartphones and tablets. The platform uses GPS technology to track hours of service automatically. Additionally, it allows truck drivers to access technical support within the system, which could reduce frustration and mistakes while on the road and off.
Alert ELD comes with an attractive, minimalist interface that users can easily navigate. It shows both miles and hours driven as well as other data. Drivers can use it to remain FMCSA-compliant, while companies can use it to not only monitor driver activity, but also compile data about their drivers' behaviors on the road.
ELD Compliance Apps
Mobile devices can improve many business processes, including ELDs. Since many truck drivers already carry smartphones and use mobile apps, switching to an ELD app shouldn't demand much extra training or involve a steep learning curve.
Apps offer other benefits. They're lightweight and extremely affordable; both qualities might appeal to small firms and single owner-operators as well as larger outfits.
Mike Riegal, the COO of Blue Ink Technology — a firm that builds a mobile app for ELD compliance — says, "We try to make it as simple an experience as possible ... Research shows that the average age of drivers is somewhere between 50 [and] 60 years old, and many of them are still using flip phones. We wanted to make everything in the Blue Ink Tech ELD app very easy to use."
Riegal brings up an excellent point in terms of adoption. Truck drivers who aren't familiar with new technology, or are even resistant to it, might rebel against a larger software program. Since mobile apps don't demand much technical knowledge, they might offer the best solution.
ELD Training Policies
Even with new technology, trucking companies need internal policies designed to effectively train employees on ELDs. Regardless of truck drivers' ages and experience levels, they need to know how to use the ELDs as well as what the data means.
Furthermore, to ensure compliance with the FMCSA's new rules, trucking companies must also make sure their employees understand the rules and the implications of breaking them. The best training programs will involve both onboarding and continuing education as ELD adoption rolls out.
In-House Auditing Procedures
Trucking companies can also benefit from in-house auditing procedures. ELDs, like any other technology, require constant moderation. Mistakes in logging and other issues can cause a company to fall out of compliance without realizing it. Regular auditing can prove beneficial for employee training as well as for regulatory compliance. Companies can either use a staff member for audits or hire an outside contractor to conduct the work.
As the deadline for rolling out ELDs approaches, trucking companies must begin to choose their compliance solutions and get their employees ready.