Regional and super-regional carriers continue to lag behind national carriers in the switch from automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) to electronic logging devices (ELDs). The number of regional and super-regional carriers already running ELDs is hovering around the 80 percent mark, according to the weekly FreightWaves and EROAD survey released Monday, July 8.
The cumulative number of ELD-ready regional and super-regional fleets grew slightly from last week’s results, with regional carriers climbing from 78 to 81 percent compliant and super-regional carriers creeping from 78 to 79 percent compliant.
Regional carriers are defined as carriers that run in a 150- to 1,000-mile radius, while super- regional carriers run over 1,000 miles but not nationwide.
The cumulative number of national carriers already running ELDs also increased after this week’s survey, moving from 86 percent compliant to 88 percent compliant. This leaves a 7 percent gap between regional and national carriers and a 9 percent gap between super-regional and national carriers.
“We are starting to see a divergence of which carriers are still using AOBRDs,” FreightWaves Director of Research Kevin Hill said. “This pattern is very similar to the one we saw leading up to the April 2018 deadline from paper logs to electronic logs. Flatbed and dry bulk carriers have lower ELD adoption rates, along with carriers who focus more on shorter hauls.”
The survey, which was conducted by CarrierLists, garnered responses from 123 carriers this week. During the polls, about 87 percent of carriers indicated they are ELD-ready, while about 13 percent were still using AOBRDs.
When combined with results from the first two weeks of polling, that brings the cumulative percentage of ELD-ready fleets up to 83 percent.
The deadline for all carriers to make the switch to ELDs is slated for December 16. This does not mean carriers simply need to have ELDs installed in their trucks before the deadline. This means that drivers and in-office staff need to be ready to use ELDs by the second week of December.
“The desire for regional carriers with tight profit margins to maximize the value of existing AOBRD technology is understandable,” EROAD President Norm Ellis said. “Unfortunately, waiting longer to make the switch could end up costing you more. Coordinating a technology switch with the shop or qualified installer, and working through business process changes with the back-office staff and drivers can eat up valuable time, essentially costing you more.”
While AOBRDs and ELDs serve a similar function, there are several differences in both rules of operation and using the device itself. Getting a handle on these changes quickly is particularly important for drivers. This will likely require some degree of formal training.
Carriers, especially small carriers, planning to make the switch early in the fourth quarter may have time to conduct training sessions and get accustomed to the new devices, but those waiting until December to get ELDs into their trucks could find themselves in a mad rush leading up to the deadline.
“Potential risk from being a last-minute convert include hardware shortages, driver and safety manager training issues and hardware/software integration issues,” FreightWaves Chief Data Scientist Daniel Pickett said. “Every fleet should be testing the hardware they intend to buy with a few drivers at least.”
Official advice from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) continues to be to make the switch earlier in order to avoid last minute snafus.
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.