Some small carriers still clinging to old telematics devices into fourth quarter

Only 5% of carriers are still using automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs), according to a FreightWaves survey conducted in conjunction with EROAD and CarrierLists. This is the lowest number seen since the weekly surveys started in June. 

The surveys are done in order to take the pulse of the trucking industry ahead of the Dec. 16 electronic logging device (ELD) compliance deadline. Fleets of all sizes running various routes are surveyed. The respondent pools change each week in order to get a more comprehensive view of the industry.

This week, 163 carriers were polled, with 159 of them reporting ELD compliance. That brought the percentage of carriers still running AOBRDs down to a record low of 2.5%. It is not surprising that this week’s numbers skewed heavily toward ELD compliance because most of the survey responses came from large carriers. Historically, larger fleets have been far more compliant that smaller fleets. 

When combined with results from the last two weeks to calculate a three-week moving average, 95% of fleets are reporting ELD compliance. That means only 5% of carriers are still hanging onto their old AOBRDs. 

Nationwide carriers continue to report stronger compliance than super-regional and regional carriers, with a full 99% reporting ELD readiness. Super-regional carriers are working to close the gap, with 97% reporting compliance. These fleets are up 1% and 4% week-over-week, respectively. 

Regional carriers are still lagging behind their peers in compliance, but they did gain some ground this week. These carriers, which tend to operate the fewest trucks, reported 90% compliance, up 3% over last week. 

For the purpose of the surveys, regional carriers are defined as fleets that run in a 150- to 1,000-mile radius. Super-regional carriers run routes over 1,000 miles but not nationwide.

Earlier surveys showed some variance in compliance based on fleet type. When results are broken down by van, reefer, flatbed, tank and bulk fleets, both tank and bulk fleets have lagged behind their peers at various points during the survey.

Over time, these differences seemed to have worked themselves out. The latest survey results show all fleet types sitting neck-and-neck with each other. 

Of the surveyed carriers who have not yet made the switch to ELDs, 34% said they plan to do so in October. November is also a popular month to upgrade, with 32% planning to make the switch next month. Still, 20% of holdouts are planning to put the process off into December. 

While waiting until the fourth quarter to make the switch from AOBRDs to ELDs is not expected to have a detrimental effect on the overall market, procrastination could cost individual carriers in a big way. Waiting could make holdouts susceptible to hardware shortages, lost time and fines on the highway. 

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.

Ashley Coker

Ashley is interested in everything that moves, especially trucks and planes. She covers air cargo, trucking and sponsored content. She studied journalism at Middle Tennessee State University and worked as an editor and reporter at two daily newspapers before joining FreightWaves. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.