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ELD has more to it than being a hours of service time stamp recorder

 Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

A year has passed since the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate came into force; fleets and drivers are now more accepting of the regulations, and have made their peace with running ELDs in their trucks. That said, the next large-scale disruption in the segment is near, as fleets that run AOBRDs will now have to make their shift towards ELDs. The automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs), are the precursors of the ELDs and fleets that run them will have to switch over to ELDs by December 16, 2019.

Ken Evans, the CEO of Konexial, a leading ELD solutions provider, said that the actual number of fleets and owner-operators that have implemented the ELD technology was much lower than actually thought.

“So instead of a three-quarter million to a million ELDs that were thought to have been installed, it is probably more likely between 300,000 to 400,000 in total,” said Evans. “However, the extent of change that is going to happen in the second half of this year is substantial, as fleets will phase out the AOBRD technology and somewhere between 2-2.5 million trucks will have to upgrade.”

Other factors will also have a significant bearing on how tracking and reporting happen as we move forward. For instance, several businesses within the industry are just waking up to the fact that 3G networks are going away, which would stop them from tracking trucks using cellular technology. Evans pointed out that this should push the industry to act fast in upgrading technology on the cab.

“If you haven’t installed hardware on the truck within the past 24 months, the likelihood of it being upgradeable with over-the-air updates is very low. We think that there is a lot of hardware that is going to be replaced in the second half of this year,” said Evans.

One of the much-touted benefits of having an ELD is that the device can help reduce accidents by reducing driver distraction. While this is likely an exaggeration, what ELDs can do is to make sure drivers toe the line with regard to regulations on the hours of service rules that FMCSA has deemed necessary to address driver fatigue and rest-related issues.

“The ELD, in and of itself, is not going to improve driver safety, but will enforce the rules that need to be followed. Some of the recent studies that came out have opined that ELD is not improving the situation, but what they’ve missed adjusting to is the level of business activity over the years,” said Evans. “Last year was a high-water mark year for truck activity, and by not adjusting to it, arriving at a decision on whether ELD improved safety is not possible.”

Evans mentioned that ELDs hold a lot more promise than to being cited for the improvement of truck safety conditions. “With ELD, we bring state-of-the-art telematics data to fleets. This data goes well beyond what’s required in the ELD rule, which is about reporting on speed versus posted limits, rapid acceleration and hard-braking events,” he said. “It is important to distinguish between what is required for the regulation versus what can be considered as secondary benefits.”

ELD was primarily designed to act as a time card, tracking the amount of time a driver spends in each of the statuses, making sure that he is in line with the driving hour limits – both for the day and for an entire weekly cycle. What could be a significant change for users of AOBRDs shifting to ELDs, is that ELDs update driver timesheets by directly interacting with the truck. In AOBRDs, drivers have the flexibility to manipulate timesheets, which will no longer be possible with an ELD on the cab.

“And because we have telematics on the truck, we can take measurements as frequently as we require to design our business systems. In Konexial’s case, we can record data every minute on what is happening in the truck – its location, velocity, diagnostic codes or safety events that occurred on the truck. It is a near real-time picture on what is happening,” said Evans.

This constant data relay can help fleets understand driver behavior like reckless acceleration and frequent hard braking characteristics, and help them improve their driving, which will translate into lower operational and maintenance costs. “Fleets can build a baseline based on driving history, and compare drivers within the fleet which can help structure a coaching session for individual drivers,” said Evans.

“I call this the democratization of telematics technology. With the price of hardware falling by nearly 50 percent over the years, it is not just the bigger fleets that can use data to improve their operations,” said Evans. “Small- and medium-sized fleets are starting to understand all the data that their systems can produce and how it can positively impact their fleet safety and in driving higher profit.”

The rise of ELD systems and telematics is slowly disrupting the way insurance is priced and sold. Insurance companies can now look at risk profiles of fleets on an individual level, and structure their insurance plans based on the number of risk-related events that a driver or a truck was part of historically. “Five years down the road, I don’t think you will be able to get insurance without this data,” said Evans.

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Vishnu Rajamanickam, Staff Writer

Vishnu writes editorial commentary on cutting-edge technology within the freight industry, profiles startups, and brings in perspective from industry frontrunners and thought leaders in the freight space. In his spare time, he writes neo-noir poetry, blogs about travel & living, and loves to debate about international politics. He hopes to settle down in a village and grow his own food at some point in time. But for now, he is happy to live with his wife in the middle of a German metropolitan.

16 Comments

  1. Just to correct an inaccurate statement in the article, the study on ELDs and safety does account for freight volumes by using the CASS index. Or, to simplify things, the ATA tonnage index increased 6.6% for 2018 compared to 2017 (https://www.trucking.org/article/ATA-Truck-Tonnage-Index-Increased-6.6%25-in-2018). Looking at accident counts using FMCSA data (last updated April 2019), accidents from January-November for for-hire interstate carriers increased by 8.3%. While accidents for December are still coming in, the increase using full year data for 2018 is 7.1%. So these numbers indicate accidents increasing at a rate faster than freight volumes.

  2. I’m curious how you recklessly Accelerate a Tractor trailer?
    Leave it up to the Big Shot, money grabbing, INS. Co’s to stick they’re fingers in our pockets and strong arm our hard earned Revenue.
    They also need to wake up to the FACT (that the general public has lost their minds on the Nation’s Hwys.! I’m constantly amazed at the stupidity I witness daily on the road.
    I think I average about 10 – 100 times a day, someone is doing something so unsafe in front of me that requires rapid / hard braking, so we should demand that ANYONE that’s involved in Rules and Regulations be educated and /or experienced in the industry, to be eligible to participate in the program.

    1. You hit the nail on the head. (Wish it was head on the nail).
      Truth starting to come out about why this was initially proposed. Insurance company profit motive think tank BS.

  3. I think that anyone who thinks elds are much safer should have to live by it for 2 weeks in a truck or better yet even in their line of work. They couldn’t do it !!!

    1. You are perfect with those words.
      I would say the entire world, would collapse. Maybe it sould start with all government agencies and employees.
      Imagine theres some big disaster. But leaders are stuck in sleeper for mandatory 10hrs. Nothing can Disturbed are so important 10-hour break everything has to wait so nothing gets done

  4. Been using ELD for five years. I would never drive a truck without one. Paper logs are a massive waste of time and open the door for low life carriers to pressure their drivers into falsifying logs. Not only that, but you can’t make a mistake on ELD like you can with paper logs, meaning you can’t get ticketed for inaccurate logs, which keeps your license safe. Don’t care how long you been in the game, everyone makes mistakes and it just takes one random DOT inspection to land in hot water.

    ELD all day, every day.

    1. Is this a paid shill comment? There can’t actually be genuine people with the ability of linear thinking and human consciousness that truly likes ELD!?

      Is it not obvious to even those with the lowest abilities of simple subjective reasoning that nothing in the world of regulations is ever TRULY done for safety or ease of use?

      There is always ulterior motives, usually including the creation of departments or companies (normally that the proposer or family conveniently has ties to), profit generation, furthering insurance liabilities (as we see mentioned here), and good old super micromanaging.

      This technology is also helping AI to create complex logarithms / algorithms to necessitate and actualise the logistical system to eventually be put in place to replace your expensive meat body.

      You can not possibly be a proponent of the intentions behind this nefarious proposal unless you have not reflected upon the subject, or are incapable of deductive logic.

  5. HI been Truck Driver for 23 years you can control Trucks but how you gonna control the 4 wheelers & motorcycle Stupid Drive most of cars & motorcycle who don’t care they cross all lines

  6. Wait!!! Did he just called it a democratization? Wtf is democratic about this? It’s a dictatorship!!!! I have no problem with ELD,but I think as a capitalist country we have the right to chose. I think that if a driver is busted 2 times with incorrect or falsely paper log he / her should be mandated to us ELD. Shippers and brokers should be fined and held accountable for delays.

  7. I’ve been driving truck since interstate 95 reached from Boston to Florida n let me tell you that in the past 43 years I have learned a lot n seen a lot n no one knows a out truck safety more then is old guys as were on the side of the road mechanics as well as truck drivers. As for this bureaucratic bullshit n how someone drives,accelerates to fast or stops to hard is to say the least the dumbest thing any college graduate retard ever thought up n come up with as for speeding,good luck with that the cars out number the trucks 20 to 2 and everybody has to be in front of the truck,the truck is too slow or the truck didn’t let me in or he or she cut me off well wake up america people use to be curious to truck drivers and always give us the right away first but the American idiot today fails to realize that without trucks n drivers everyone would be broke,starving,naked n homeless as everything either comes on a truck or leaves on a truck when we had the hours of operation 5-1-5-8-5 at 60 mph I could legally cover 900 miles a day or better in the end when it went up to 70 with 5mph Grace it was 1.000 to 1.200 a day do the math dumbass n never had log book violation speeding or wreck,so before you can tell me how to my job come put ur dumbass in my seat n do what I did for 43 yrs and look at how the clogged cities,stupid shipper n receivers n over crowded hiways have slowed us down to an average speed of 48.3 mph overall daily or weekly,then city retard officials put up no truck left lane signs n all the cars are turning on it or out of stores in the right lane to cause more congestion n slow down then they bitch the trucker is in the way then the major cities put in hov or fast track car lanes thru the cities knowing you have to cross 3 to 5 lanes of travel to enter or exit the freeway genius idea college graduateyou should have put signs up 10 miles outside the city saying all thru truck bypassing city use truck hov left 2 to 3 lanes n no cars this way when you have a 2 to 40 car pile up trucks keep moving on the clock not sitting in a wreck for 2 to 3 hours trying take a 10 he break on the shoulder afterwards🤔🤔🤔the individuals that are trying to design self driving trucks are doing 2 things to kill us worse 1 put drivers out of work n 2 kill mass quantities of people when either someone hacks it n uses it as a weapon of mass destruction or it has a glitch in the system n takes off speeding n runs into a major back up killing numerous people we the trucker we are large n incharge as we are the backbone of America we make sure the food u eat,the clothes u wear,the car u drive,or gas u need,or ur trash gets to and from you so wake up fmcsa and state,county,n city retard n use our Harvey hiway use money n 3 times fuel tax money to safe guard us with the right to travel before dumbass who was out drinking late at the bar is now late for work n speeding in n out of traffic like a retard yet we get the blame you wanna use technology don’t put blue tooth in the cars put a signal stopper.once the car is put into drive ur phone,ipad,laptop etc, loses all signal till car is in park guess nobody thought about can’t make dinner plans before leaving work make them at lunch or the night before put the GPS trackers on cars so if they are in the bar too long n don’t get 8 hrs of sleep before work the car won’t start America has since the late 70’s into early 80’s have condemned truckers n trucks like were vigilante bikers on a killing spree when all were trying to do is survive day to day by working to feed your dumbass n support our wives n children truckers help raise money with convoys for special olympics,shrimers hospital n st.judes how many car convoys do that,we pay 550.00 dollars a year for heavy hiway use then tax when we buy fuel then repay more tax on miles n gallons of fuel every 3 months then we pay up to 90%higher tolls then cars so who should be bitchin?then we have to be responsible for lose bolts or broken equipment that happens while were driving cracked frames n cross members broken lug nuts or bolts yet you in ur car with 2 lug nuts tape over the tail light,plastic on the broken window etc you just get to drive non stop from new York to la non stop at 100 mph whereas most trucks today are governed between 64 to 75 mph.
    So the next time you guys wanna change something let’s start here n make it fair for all n give us a break as we bust our balls for the American people,business n governments n this is how u treat us as of that ain’t enuff our tax dollars used for rest areas to sleep n use the toilets is closed due to solicitation of sexual predictors or a murder there yet again we get the blame all of u reach back with both hands n pull as hard as u can n see of u can pull ur heads out of ur dumbasses put them back on ur neck n then turn off ur Stevie wonder vision as ur heads up ur ass n ur blind to the obvious now let figure out how we can fax or email food n clothes n gas from the field to our tables,homes, n cars🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔 got ur dumbass there huh?we use to see signs at places to eat that said truckers welcome now the sign reads no trucks allowed yea Denise us a good hot meal but put a burger king in a truck stop then tell us you can’t pass your physical u have high blood pressure not to mention after years of driving truck we end up with ruptured discs in our backs irritable bowel syndrome n numerous other medical condition but were not addressing that at this time are we?.all anyone wants to do today is condem one another in every fashion n cry because ur to dam ignorant or lazy to learn something or be curious to others as it may hurt ur pride or disrespect u well get what u give n the next time u see a trucker tell him thanks for new clothes or shoes ur wearing or that new car or pick up ur driving because if we don’t deliver it u don’t get it n one more thing don’t pull out in front of us or follow us for 300 miles only to come around us n cut us off at the ramp u wanna exit when u wake up dead for stupidity it’s way to late to say oops.so America remember that truck alongside of u is bringing it’s load to u n for u all we get is a job n a pay check out of the deal and a lot of beauracratic bullshit,tickets n put of service for shit we have no control over thanks America I appreciate being treated like shit maybe we need to park all the trucks for one week n let ur car sit out of gas n no food on the table maybe then u would understand more clearly as to who should have first priority n the right of way along a sign that says feed our truckers first instead of no trucks allowed.
    Everyone have a blessed day and remover what a trucker does for you and tonight when ur at the dinner table with ur spouse,kids n family remember I’m eating alone n sleeping God knows where in my truck n i do this for you Mr n Mrs who doesn’t like trucks n truck drivers so make ur next hand gesture a thumbs up n not the middle finger telling me I’m number one cause u were being stupid to itself not me being stupid to u put ur electronic devices down n drive more virtuous n give us the right of passage first as where u going recklessly only ends up in one of two places n that’s the hospital or cementary n I sure don’t wanna go with u instead I wanna come home n hug my wife n kids n spend my time n hard earned money on them not paying legal fess n court cost for what?ur stupidity get it?got it? Good now go on ur devices n tell fmcsa n ur congressman it’s not the truckers fault it is wasteful spending of our government n me in my car causing all this scrap against trucks n truckers as for ur insurance n it’s rates u let it get that way as no insurance company can raise ur rates due to tickets n accidents that is called double jeopardy n fraud n theft by deception so get ur attitude n brains strait learn to read n educate urself as a mind is a terrible thing to waste n quit blaming me for ur problems in on ur side stupid

  8. so who have you sold your soul to to be able to write this article, who in the world do you know who is just “accepted the electronic surveillance.“ Nobody has just eaccepted it, we all just accept that we are peasants living in a psychotic corporate world. What can we do about it. But no we have not accepted the electronics surveillance, we hate electronics surveillance, we want the government out of our lives, and I hate freight waves I hate your article I hate electronic surveillance, it is a psychotic micromanaging of a truckers time. Not only do we have off-duty, we have sleeping when we are actually sleeping, I cannot imagine telling an accountant hey we know you’re gonna be driving into work tomorrow so we need to put yourself off duty after work, and then let us know when you’re sleeping, they would say no I’m not gonna do that job you’re a psychotic micromanager of time. I speak for most truckers when I say we hate the cursed electronic log and you are paid corporate media freight waves. why don’t you report that it was supposed to be for safety, which means accidents were supposed to decrease, that did not happen, accidents increased but the severity of accidents greatly increased and fatalities resulting from truck crashes at the highest level in 30 years, why don’t you damn report that. ( to be clear, I don’t hate any particular individual, but I do hate freight weights, I do hate the corporate run society that we live in, and I do hate this democracy that we live in, we need to return back to Republic, you have a right to do whatever it is you want to do so long as you’re not hurting harming or bothering anybody. You most certainly don’t have to report your time to the government, this is unconstitutional. stripping a man of his freedom is a very dangerous thing to do, it has never worked for any despotic dictatorship in the history of the world… )

  9. My team partner and I have been using ELD’s ever since they became availible. We find they make you better at managing your time on the road so you become more productive.
    As far as making you a safer driver, this depends on the driver not an ELD. Every day we get drivers in cars, van and light trucks including rental truck drivers doing absolutely dangerous things in front of us. Things like cutting across the front of us just to exit the highway. We get cars brake checking at high speed.
    So when car drivers get their license to drive. Its like they throw the rule book out the window.
    ELD’s are here to stay. So get used to it and drive safe.

  10. ELDs are pushed by government so they can eventually monitor and fine drivers.
    Then pushed by insurance companies so they can gather information and use it to raise rates. Easy as that.
    It’s a revenue generator.
    Just wait till they admit that DOT wants to pull up next to you and view your log book as you drive and issue tickets for things you did last week.
    That’s where this is headed.
    It’s just another way to generate income for the reds and state.

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