Dec. 18, 2017, is fast approaching. Why is that date important? That is the deadline for all to comply with the ELD mandate. While the regulations have been analyzed every which way and anytime you turn around someone else is putting together a webinar to go over it, very little has been done on how to make it work for you.
The mandate, whether for it or against it, is what it is: Another regulation in a heavily regulated industry. It has its pro and cons. For those against it, the chances of stopping it are dwindling and it is time to figure out how to adapt. Adapting to an industry-changing regulation, such as this, will not be easy and will take time.
Drivers have four options: You can wait until the deadline and adopt then and run the risk of generating points on your CSA score if you cannot quickly figure out how to use the device (out of service for no ELD can be as many as eight points). You can sign up with a company that currently does not have a certified ELD device and take advantage of the AOBRD provision until 2019. You can jump right into an ELD certified device. Option 2 and option 3 gives you the option of declaring if your primary logs are your paper logs or AOBRD logs until the deadline allowing you a chance to get use to the device. Finally, you can move into the short-haul business and hope that ELDs do not become a requirement in all commercial vehicle facets of life. Texas, California and Florida are leading the way in bringing ELDs to intrastate drivers with plenty of others following suit, so who knows for sure if the rest of the industry will be forced to follow along.
By using an ELD, you can have better proof of the parking and detention issues that plague the country. While paper logs offered little difference, the perception that they can be or could be altered drastically left brokers and shippers with doubts as to how prevalent the issue was and is. With GPS coordinates built into the system, it will be impossible to ignore now.
Also, with operational costs increasing due to having to pay for the unit in your vehicle, negotiating rates will become very important. If you choose a telematics unit that is equipped with a load visibility software, you can limit the number of check calls that you have to deal with and send a link to your broker so they can keep up with your progress.
While change is not always great, sometimes it is inevitable. Figuring out how to make change work for you is the key to winning. Figuring out that change may be figuring out how to use the ELD or it might be changing the way in which you do business. There are plenty of opportunities in the industry in the short haul segments to keep your distance from an ELD, at least for now. The trucking industry is vitally important to the economy of the country. It is the lifeblood of the economy, but those who adapt will thrive. Those who do not, run the risk of being left behind.