ELD compliance numbers stagnate ahead of December deadline

About 3% of carriers are still using automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs), according to the most recent average of several FreightWaves surveys. The number dropped under 5% several weeks ago and has remained below that mark since, suggesting most carriers have already made the switch to electronic logging devices (ELDs).

FreightWaves conducts these weekly surveys in partnership with CarrierLists and EROAD to take the pulse of the trucking industry ahead of the Dec. 16 compliance deadline. At that time, the AOBRD grandfather clause will run out and all non-exempt carriers will be required to install ELDs.

Fleets of all sizes running various routes are surveyed, and the respondent pool changes each week. This allows for a more comprehensive view of what is happening in the industry. This week, 189 carriers responded to the survey. Only 2.1%, or four carriers, reported still running AOBRDs.

That is down from last week, when 4% of carriers reported still using their old telematics devices. It is, however, up from two weeks ago, when only 1.8% were using AOBRDs. This week-over-week climb does not indicate that more carriers have started installing AOBRDs. Instead, it is a result of the changing respondent pool. 

When this week’s results are combined with results from the past two weeks to form a three-week moving average, the number is about 3%. This is in line with results seen over the past several weeks. 

Nationwide carriers continue to report stronger compliance than super-regional and regional carriers, with a full 99% reporting ELD readiness. Super-regional carriers are working to close the gap, climbing from 97% to 98% reporting compliance week-over-week.

Regional carriers are still lagging behind their peers in compliance, but they have gained ground. These carriers, which tend to operate the fewest trucks, reported 95% compliance on a three-week moving basis. 

Small carriers and owner-operators have reported their intention to wait until the fourth quarter to make the switch since the weekly survey began over the summer. With carriers across all lanes reporting 95% or higher compliance, it is clear some of the earlier ELD hold-outs have begun making the transition away from their old devices

For the purpose of the survey, regional carriers are defined as fleets that run in a 150- to 1,000-mile radius. Super-regional carriers run routes over 1,000 miles but not nationwide.

Of the carriers that have not yet started running ELDs, the majority are expected to do so in October or November. There will be a small minority of carriers that wait until December to install ELDs, but this is not expected to have a significant impact on the overall freight market. 

Still, waiting until the last possible moment to start running ELDs could cost individual carriers when it comes to lost time and highway fines. The process required to upgrade an AOBRD to an ELD can be quite simple, or it can require the purchase of new hardware, depending on the specific AOBRD a company is running. 

Carriers waiting to make the switch may be taking a gamble on equipment availability if all the hold-outs want to purchase the same devices at the same time. Making a decision at the last minute, especially if a carrier is forced to go with their second or third choice, can lead to disappointment down the road. 

“Many carriers picked their ELD quickly before the last mandate and are now frustrated by unreliable devices, data and support from their ELD supplier,” said Soona Lee, EROAD director of regulatory compliance. “Take the time to ensure your ELDs will meet your needs in the long run. Check that the supplier can deliver a consistent and easy-to-use solution for you and your drivers and provide adequate support. It will pay off in terms of driver satisfaction and lower violations and CSA scores.”

EROAD’s guide “Planning your move from AOBRD to ELD” gives eight key considerations and six critical questions to help select the right solution and make to achieve the easiest transition possible. 

Visit the AOBRD to ELD resource center to download the guide.

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Ashley Coker, Editor

Ashley is interested in everything that moves, especially trucks and planes. She covers air cargo, trucking and sponsored content. She studied journalism at Middle Tennessee State University and worked as an editor and reporter at two daily newspapers before joining FreightWaves. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.