We’ve heard a lot about the benefits of adopting electronic logging technology, especially now that the ELD mandate is in effect. What we haven’t heard much about, however, is the potential backlash which could come as a result of this legislation. It is important that fleet managers understand both sides of the narrative so that they can make the best decisions for their fleet.

Business owners are constantly being forced to adapt to the newest technologies. Some people thrive off of constant advancement, while others resent what is debatably called “progress.” But what would we do if a step in one right direction set us back two steps in another? This is the question that surrounds the newest electronic logging device (ELD) mandate.


What is the ELD Mandate?

At the end of 2017, federal regulation will require many fleets to be equipped with ELD technology. Some companies and drivers are already seeing benefits of this change: a large-scale reduction of paperwork, a precise record of a driver’s hours of service, an easier method of communication, and a data system that operates on a near real-time basis.


What it Means for Productivity

Many people, however, are beginning to see the adverse effects just as quickly. Some believe the change may cause the trucking industry to lose between 3% and 5% of its overall productivity. They theorize that there will be additional losses for small carriers reaching between 6% and 10% starting at the end of 2017.

This larger shift for smaller fleets is likely to occur because the change for them is that much more significant. FleetOwner tells us that, at this point, about half of the industry has updated to ELDs, while the other half has not. And, interestingly, it’s the latter half that is mostly occupied by small carriers, many of whom have not optimized their networks in the first place.


Only one option is left


Decisions to Make

So, here we are at a crossroads, the sort of crossroads where there’s only one real option…the mandated one. Truly, though, it’s a cost-benefit relationship that’s hard to weigh. It involves driver safety, smaller stacks of paperwork, and simple, effective communication against forced change and decreased productivity and even potential losses of fleets. It seems that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has weighed the pros and cons, however, and has found one side to be superior.

Ultimately, the passing of the ELD mandate is a decision to be respected, one based on safety and accuracy. And, for the most part, it seems that many in the affected industries agree that ELDs will boost safety and productivity, in the long run. Fleet managers looking to move forward in their compliance efforts should examine potential ELD providers to find the best fit for their fleet’s unique needs. The benefits of long-term compliance will far outlast any initial implementation cost.