The number of carriers that have traded in their automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) for electronic logging devices (ELDs) continues to grow. As the December compliance deadline approaches, only the smallest fleets continue to run old devices.
The three-week moving average of carriers that have already made the change climbed to 93 percent this week, up from 90 percent last week. Of the 7 percent of carriers still running AOBRDs, every fleet consists of under 35 trucks.
FreightWaves, EROAD and CarrierLists have partnered to conduct weekly surveys leading up to the December 16 deadline in order to track the migration from AOBRDs to ELDs over time. This week’s survey garnered 162 responses, only 10 of which were still running AOBRDs.
The tendency of smaller carriers to hold onto AOBRDs long after larger fleets have moved to newer technology could be correlated with the lanes these carriers tend to service.
Week after week, the survey has shown that regional carriers and super-regional carriers lag behind nationwide carriers in ELD compliance. Carriers that run in regional and super-regional lanes are often smaller than their nationwide peers.
Throughout eight weeks of surveys, 92 percent of nationwide carriers reported being ELD-compliant. In contrast, only 87 percent of regional and super-regional carriers reported compliance. When narrowed down to the three-week moving average, 100 percent of nationwide carriers reported compliance, super-regional carriers reported rates in the mid-90s and regional carriers still sat in the high 80s.
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.
Smaller carriers that have not made the switch yet could just be trying to get as much out of their old devices as possible. While the switch to ELDs will involve a learning curve that carriers should account for, the smallest fleets may be able to switch early in the fourth quarter without substantial issues. That is because these carriers have fewer drivers and office staff to train on the new devices, saving time on the front end.
Having fewer employees does not mean these carriers should wait until days or weeks before the deadline, though.
“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.”
Even if carriers are not shopping for new hardware, an “easy switch” can still lead to unforeseen issues.
“Many fleets plan to shift from AOBRD to ELD with a simple change to the settings. But it’s not that easy if your drivers and administrators aren’t prepped on the operational differences and log requirements,” said Heather Woodruff, EROAD manager of customer success. “And fleets are also running into ELD compliance problems because of ongoing problems like Bluetooth connectivity and device outages that weren’t quite as visible when running AOBRD.”
Over 20 percent of surveyed carriers still running AOBRDs said they intend to wait until December to install ELDs, putting them at risk for last minute snafus. Official advice from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration continues to be to make the switch earlier in order to avoid issues.
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.