When Congress enacted the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” bill, or MAP-21, in 2012, it included a provision requiring the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to develop a rule mandating the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) by fleets and commercial buses. Used to electronically record a driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS), an ELD replaces the paper logbook previously used to record a driver’s compliance with Hours of Service (HOS) requirements. The FMCSA published the final ELD rule, or ELD Mandate, in December 2015, with a full roll-out and enforcement by April 1, 2018. Considering the ELD Mandate applies to millions of drivers on the road today, it’s important that the trucking and fleet management industries understand how it will impact them. All fleets, regardless of size, must comply with the ELD Mandate. In general, this includes any driver that is required to maintain RODS while driving a commercial motor vehicle for interstate commerce.

Creating Safer Work Environments

The ELD Mandate is intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, making it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share RODS data for ease of fleet management, while reducing the incidence of driver fatigue-related crashes and other violations. When synchronized with a vehicle’s engine, an ELD automatically records driving time for easier, more accurate HOS recording. According to FMCSA, ELDs help create a safer work environment, ensuring that drivers take the breaks they need, resulting in an estimated 1,844 crashes avoided annually, 562 fewer injuries and 26 lives saved each year. A FMCSA study released in 2014 concluded that long-haul trucks with electronic logging devices had significantly lower crash rates than those without them. The study also found that the trucks with ELDs had an 11.7% lower crash rate and a 5.1% lower preventable crash rate. In addition to improving safety on the road, the integration of ELDs into a fleet of trucks can improve operational efficiencies for transportation and logistics management.

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Electronic logs not only reduce the manual paperwork previously required to record HOS, but also track the amount of time the engine is on, how many miles driven, when the vehicle was in motion, and the duration of engine operation. Indeed, data from the electronic logs is a veritable digital gold mine for fleet transportation operators, helping them gain visibility into drive time, driver behavior reporting on speeding, idling and hard braking, as well as anticipate violations before they happen.

How Data Visualization Can Help With Fleet Management

Thanks to data visualization platforms like Live Earth, fleet operators can also layer on the tracking of assets and external factors with the ELD data stream, allowing for real-time predictive insights. Data visualization platforms can provide a 360-degree view of an entire transportation operation, just a sample of which includes optimizing their routes, helping drivers navigate real-time around construction and high-traffic areas, monitoring adverse weather and traffic conditions, and minimizing downtime and service disruptions.

Beyond fleet performance and safety gains, ELDs and the ELD Mandate help improve transportation and logistics across every aspect of the business. From increased driver productivity and HOS compliance to paperwork reductions and increased fleet efficiency, companies that integrate ELDs into their fleets can realize the economic benefits almost immediately. https://eld.fmcsa.dot.gov

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