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Diving into data: ELDs not responsible for reduced fatality rates


Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

The mandatory adoption of electronic logging devices (ELDs) has given decision makers the ability to access a wealth of data they never knew they needed. The tough part is attempting to sift through and draw insights from that data.  

FreightWaves Chief Data Scientist Daniel Pickett is going to help the audience do just that as part of his presentation, dubbed “The Deep Dive into Data,” at TCA’s 38th Annual Safety and Security Division Meeting. The meeting is scheduled for June 2-4 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Pickett’s presentation will examine what available data says about ELD adoption rates, FMCSA violations and other safety metrics.

“ELDs are a federal requirement for technology that isn’t cheap and has some perpetual costs related to compliance,” Pickett said. “However, it does confer some really interesting data about the patterns of drivers, shippers, consignees, parking locations and safety. There are benefits to be had by examining all these unintended data-points that are exposed by having a GPS device on almost every truck in America.”

Pickett will also hit on two of the industry’s biggest problem areas: Detention and parking. He will look at how ELDs can help carriers keep track of how long their drivers are stuck at docks instead of on the road.

“Facilities that take an unreasonably long time to load and unload drivers should pay more to ship and receive freight if they don’t routinely pay detention,” he said. “Finding a parking spot that is safe for the driver, the equipment and the cargo is imperative to running a top performing fleet. Large, anonymous data sets comprised of many ELDs can help with those problems.”

The data Pickett will present, housed inside FreightWaves’ SONAR, shows evidence of increased hours-of-service compliance in light of the ELD mandate. The data also shows that truck-involved accidents and injuries are trending, while fatalities are trending down.

He contributed the hours-of-service compliance to ELDs, which make it nearly impossible to cheat the system. He did not, however, give the devices credit for the falling fatality rate.

“With accidents and injuries trending up, I struggle to give ELDs credit for reduced fatalities,” Pickett said. “My best educated guess is that old cars being replaced is improving the survival rate of accidents. Part of that is the switch from smaller cars to larger SUVs, part of that is newer cars have better control and safety features.”

Pickett will also dig into the data surrounding AOBRD to ELD conversion rates. Fleets only have until December to make the switch, but the numbers show that a significant number of companies is putting off the change for the last minute. He did not find this trend surprising.

“They procrastinated on the soft mandate and procrastinated on the hard mandate, so I’m not shocked to see the AOBRD switch also being a last minute switch,” Pickett said. “Both prior deadlines failed to cause cataclysmic capacity shortages and this one will also.”

Pickett’s presentation will simply scratch the surface of the kinds of data that can be gleaned from ELDs.

“Use the information that is a byproduct of ELDs to your advantage,” Pickett said. “Both your own internal ELD data, and the pools of anonymized/summarized ELD information like we study at FreightWaves, have an unbelievable amount of useful information that can improve your safety, your operations and your understanding of broader market trends.”

Contact FreightWaves here to learn more about utilizing ELD data improve fleet operations.

Click here. register for the 38th Annual TCA Safety & Security Meeting.

Ashley Coker Prince

Ashley is interested in everything that moves, especially trucks and planes. She works with clients to develop sponsored content that tells a story. She worked as reporter and editor at FreightWaves before taking on her current role as Senior Content Marketing Writer. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.