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ELD Survey Series: The Data, the Facts and How ELDs Affect Carriers

Posted - September 15, 2016

By: Ben Cubitt, Senior Vice President, Engineering & Strategic Carrier Management

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate, created to improve safety within the transportation industry, is currently the hot topic on everyone’s mind. ELDs synchronize with a vehicle’s engine to automatically record driving time for easier, more accurate hours of service (HOS) logging, which translates to greater safety on the road.

Carriers and drivers who are subject to the rule must install and use ELDs by the appropriate deadline – those using paper logs or logging software must transition to ELDs no later than December 18, 2017, and those using AOBRDS prior to the compliance date must transition to ELDs no later than December 16, 2019.

This mandate has left both shippers and carriers with many questions about how the industry is going to react to the full transition to these devices, such as:

  • How will this impact driver productivity?
  • Will drivers leave the industry as a result of ELD implementation?
  • Will smaller carriers close up and leave the industry?
  • How will this impact industry capacity moving forward?

The Electronic Logging Device Survey

Recently, Transplace surveyed over 2000 carriers in order to gain insight into the implementation preparedness of transportation carriers and the expected industry impact of the widespread use of these devices. The survey included responses from more than 500 carriers and allowed Transplace to hear directly from our carrier partners and gain first-hand insight into how they are responding to the mandate and their expectations for how the use of ELDs will impact their businesses.

One of the key takeaways from the survey shed light on how ELDs are being implemented across the transportation industry. Most importantly, we learned that ELD device implementation varies by fleet size, with large fleets leading the implementation charge. The study revealed a significant difference in the amount of implemented ELD devices between large and small fleets:

  • 81% of large fleets with more than 250 trucks reported that they had achieved full ELD implementation, with the remaining 19% currently working towards implementation.
  • However, small fleets of less than 250 trucks have been much slower to integrate ELDs, with only 33% having fully integrated ELD devices into their fleet.
  • Another 29% have begun the implementation process, while the remaining 38% stated that they have no immediate plans to begin implementation.
  • One response noted, “I am a very small fleet with only two trucks. I have just begun doing my homework on the program and will implement it by December 1, 2016.”

ELD Impact on Small Carrier Fleets

The implementation of ELD devices has been significantly slower for carriers with smaller fleets, and while some carriers are still researching the different technologies and creating implementation plans, others indicated that they are holding out in hopes that the mandate will be overturned in court. For example, one carrier responded to the survey by saying, “I will sell out first” and another remarked: “Hoping this is overturned in court. Will comply when all efforts have been exhausted.”

This slow rate of ELD adoption by small carriers, a significant part of the nation’s truckload capacity, is a real concern for shippers and a threat to continued access to capacity to meet shipper volumes. And while a lot can happen between now and when the mandate takes full effect on December 16, 2017, most carriers – large and small – anticipate a noticeable impact to utilization and capacity.

You can find more information about the ELD Survey here, and be on the lookout for part 2 of this series coming up on Logistically Speaking.

How is the ELD mandate affecting your organization?