Small carriers seem to be sticking to their decision to hold onto automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) for as long as the government will let them. Over 90 percent of small carriers that have not made the switch to electronic logging devices (ELDs) yet plan to stick with their old devices until the last quarter of 2019, according to the weekly FreightWaves and EROAD survey released Monday, July 1.
This number remains unchanged from last week’s results, indicating that carriers do not seem to be changing their minds as the December 16 deadline approaches. At least, not yet.
The survey, which was conducted by CarrierLists, garnered responses from 162 carriers with between five and 250 trucks this week. During the polls, 83 percent of carriers indicated they are ELD-ready, while 17 percent are still using AOBRDs.
When combined with last week’s results, that brings the cumulative percentage of ELD-ready fleets to 81 percent, with 19 percent still relying on AOBRDs.
While a small portion, 9 percent, of surveyed fleets still running AOBRDs plan to make the switch in August, the large majority plans to wait until the fourth quarter. Most carriers, 41 percent, plan to make the switch in November, but 23 percent are planning to switch in October and 27 percent are planning to wait until December.
Carriers that run nationwide lanes are more likely to already be ELD-compliant than regional and super-regional carriers. National carriers come in at 86 percent compliance, compared to 78 percent of both regional and super-regional carriers.
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.
Carriers holding out in hopes that the ELD compliance date will be pushed back again may be out of luck this time, according to Dave Osiecki, president of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting.
“At least at this point there is no appetite at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [FMCSA] to extend the ELD compliance date, which at this point is mid-December of this year,” Osiecki said in a recent FreightWaves webinar.
The smallest carriers waiting to switch until later this year may have an easier time with the transition than their peers who put it off.
“It gets more difficult the larger you are particularly if you have multiple locations,” Osiecki said in the webinar. “Most of the AOBRDs can be upgraded by a software upgrade that happens over the air to the device.”
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 also be taking a gamble on equipment availability.
“Many carriers picked their ELD quickly before the last mandate and are now frustrated by unreliable devices, data and support from their ELD supplier,” Soona Lee, EROAD director of regulatory compliance, said. “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.”
Even in the best case scenario, however, the switch will require driver and back office training to address the ways ELDs differ from AOBRDS, especially when it comes to personal conveyance.
All of this training should be completed before the December 16 deadline
“FMCSA is encouraged that a growing number of carriers are converting to ELDs. The agency knows this is a time of transition for the industry and wants to be helpful during the continued implementation,” an FMCSA spokesman said. “FMCSA strongly recommends that carriers do not wait until the December 16, 2019 deadline to ensure vendors aren’t inundated during the final days of the transition.”
No matter how small or large a carrier may be, FMCSA advises against making a transition in a mad scramble at the last possible moment.
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.