How Small Carriers and Owner-Operators Can Survive the ELD Mandate

With the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate now in place, carriers must adapt to a new way of logging driver hours of service. But how can you implement ELDs and still keep your business operating at peak efficiency?

 

 

 Beat the Mandate


Avoid an ELD Shortage and Price Gouging

It’s estimated that about a million trucks still don’t have an ELD installed. That means there will be a big push at the last minute to purchase these devices and get them set up. There may not be enough ELDs to meet the big spike in demand.

And you know what happens when demand increases: Prices go up.

The sooner you can get a compliant device installed, the better. KeepTruckin offers a package that keeps you compliant for just $20 per month with fast delivery. Once you get the device, it only takes a few minutes to install.

 Beat the Rush

How to Keep Your Flexibility 

The electronic logbook rule doesn’t change the hours of service rules, but you will probably have to start using two duty statuses that you didn’t use before: "Personal Conveyance" and "Yard Move." That’s because now, whenever the truck is in motion, the electronic logbook is activated. 

Yard Move 

In the days of paper logs, the driver probably would've just left a yard move off, and no one would’ve batted an eye. But now when the driver moves the truck, even if it's just backing up to the dock, it’s going to be automatically recorded. Train your drivers to mark those as "yard moves" in their logbooks.

Personal Conveyance 

Learning how to take advantage of the personal conveyance rule will also be key to protecting your drive time. You have to meet 3 criteria to qualify for the personal conveyance exemption.

  1. The driver has to have been relieved from work and all work-related responsibilities
  2. The vehicle is traveling a short distance 
  3. The vehicle isn’t loaded with any freight  

FMCSA has left the second part vague, so it might be a good idea for carriers to create their own policies for what qualifies as "short distance" and include that as part of being relieved from work. For reference, in Canada you can’t travel more than 75 kilometers under personal conveyance – about 47 miles.

So if a driver is leaving a receiver and heading to a hotel, he or she can select "personal use" on the ELD, and the driver would be considered off-duty. The same is true for leaving the hotel for a restaurant, or the driver's commute between a work location and home. If the driver has been dispatched from home, then the driver is considered on-duty.

 See How It Works

Take Advantage of the 'Phase-In' Period 

The FMCSA announced that it won’t place vehicles that don't have an ELD out of service until April 1, 2018. Carriers also won't have their CSA scores affected for not having ELDs, allowing for what the FMCSA is calling a "phasing-in period" between Dec. 18 and April 1.

There will be a learning curve though, so the phase-in period is a perfect time to train drivers on how to use the electronic logbooks. You can also use that time to find out if there are any lanes that will be a problem to run under the ELD mandate, so you can see where you need to adjust your prices and which lanes you might want to prioritize more.

Also, some shippers may require carriers to use ELDs when moving their freight, even during the phase-in period. You can instill confidence in your customers if you're able to tell them that you're already prepared for the mandate, and that April 1 will just be another business day for you.

 

Take the first step to surviving the ELD mandate – request a free demo of KeepTruckin, the number 1 rated ELD solution

Beat the ELD Mandate
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