Regional and super-regional carriers are ditching their old automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) and inching toward greater electronic logging device (ELD) compliance as summer wears on. These fleets still lag behind nationwide carriers, but results from this week’s FreightWaves and EROAD survey suggest that the gap is getting tighter.
The weekly survey series started last month and will continue through December 2019, when the AOBRD exception expires and the U.S. government will require all carriers to be running ELDs.
This week’s survey, conducted by CarrierLists, garnered 169 responses. During the survey, 157 carriers indicated that they are already running ELDs, while 12 carriers said they have not made the switch yet. That means 7.1 percent of carriers polled are still running AOBRDs.
The latest survey results show the highest compliance rates observed so far. In the four other surveys completed, the second-highest compliance rate was seen during week three, when only 12.2 percent of respondents were still running AOBRDs.
This week’s strong compliance results bring the cumulative number of polled carriers still running AOBRDs to 15 percent, down from 17 percent last week. The lowest compliance rates continue to be seen in smaller fleets.
Regional and super-regional carriers continue to report lower ELD adoption rates than nationwide carriers, but the gap closed somewhat this week. Nationwide carriers are currently reporting 89 percent compliance, compared to 84 percent compliance for regional carriers and 83 percent compliance for super-regional carriers.
Nationwide compliance results held steady week-to-week, but regional compliance jumped 3 percent and super-regional compliance climbed 2 percent over last week. 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.
There are several compounding factors that could explain the gap between regional and nationwide carriers, from typical fleet size to other exemptions.
“Some regional carriers may be operating under the short-haul exemption, which allows them to be exempt from ELDs. However, we are finding that a portion of drivers are actually exceeding short-haul criteria on a daily basis, and those fleets that have ELDs are keeping their drivers compliant,” EORAD Director of Regulatory Compliance Soona Lee said. “For this reason, many regional carriers are voluntarily deciding to deploy ELDs across their fleets for both compliance and commercial benefits, such as greater visibility, driver safety and efficiency.”
Most carriers that have not made the switch yet are planning to wait until the fourth quarter. The percentage of carriers planning to switch later in the year remains unchanged from last week, with 28 percent planning to switch in October, 37 percent shooting for November and 24 percent putting it off until December.
About 10 percent of carriers polled are planning to install ELDs earlier, with 7 percent anticipating the change in August and 3 percent looking to switch in September.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) continues to urge carriers to make the switch sooner rather than later, allowing themselves time to work out any problems they may encounter in the process.
Some carriers putting off the change until the last minute may also face equipment shortages, forcing them to settle for their second or third choice device. This could make a big difference in the carrier’s overall satisfaction, depending on how they hope to utilize their new ELDs.
“Investing in the right ELD solution can help you do much more than achieve compliance,” Norm Ellis, president of EROAD, said. “The safety and culture improvements our customers gain through active coaching and recognition based on driver behavior can be amazing. On top of that, the return on investment gained from fuel spend reductions, better routing and improved maintenance add up fast.”
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.