Industry experts are predicting a legal mandate to be released this year that will require all FMCSA regulated companies to transition to ELDs (electronic logging devices) within the next two years. While the rule has yet to be finalized, we believe transitioning to e-Logs now provides a more efficient and accurate method of verifying hours of service, and will allow a more fluid transition to ELDs.
This article is focused on implementation of e-Logs and assumes you have already selected an option from THIS ARTICLE.
The Vision: You selected an option for a reason. Is the goal basic compliance, a safer company, dispatch flexibility, or a combination of the above? Whatever the reason, be ready to explain your new processes to staff and chauffeurs alike.
Training: The first people to train should always be dispatch and management. They will need an understanding of hours of service, the software and the vision in order to answer questions from the chauffeurs.
Plan to spend at least an hour training chauffeurs and two hours with staff. This is also a great time to update driver qualification files or hold a quarterly safety meeting. Be patient and keep the groups small to facilitate questions. Expect questions about pay, different duty statuses, willful non-compliance and operating non-regulated vehicles.
Logistics: How will your chauffeurs and dispatchers access e-Logs? Do you require smartphones or tablets, or is this something the company provides? Be prepared for questions about data usage, dead zones and driver privacy.
Go-Live: We recommend allowing chauffeurs a week of practice before going live on the new system. Use this time to flush out questions, but require chauffeurs and dispatch alike to practice watching for form and manner as well as hours of service violations. This process never stops, but should taper off after the first few weeks.
Post Implementation: e-Logs alone do not make a company compliant. It is important to continue to audit logs and provide on-going chauffeur training information. Included topics should be daily vehicle inspection reports, how to handle roadside inspections and what to do when approaching an hours of service violation.
ELDs, EOBR, etc: Many companies are recommending or offering electronic devices that tie into the vehicle’s electronics port. These devices communicate with a tablet or smart phone and track odometer readings, vehicle movement and more. Current options will be explored more in depth in the article on systems.
Systems: There are several e-Log systems on the market with costs ranging from $20+ per driver to free, each providing different benefits and pitfalls. Our evaluation of each will be discussed in a upcoming article.