ELD. AOBRD. HOS. RODS. These acronyms are likely dominating your staff meetings as your fleet tries to figure out the best way to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Electronic Logging Device rule.

Currently set to take effect Dec. 18. 2017, this rule requires almost all carriers and drivers using paper logs or logging software to transition to ELDs by this date. Fleets and owner-operators using automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs), however, can delay their upgrades until Dec. 16, 2019. There are some notable exceptions, including drivers whose vehicles were manufactured before 2000; drive-away, tow-away drivers; and short-haul drivers. However, more than 3 million drivers are expected to be affected by the new mandate.

The goal of this new rule is to create a safer work environment for drivers by making it faster and easier to accurately track, manage and share records of duty status (RODS) data. Unfortunately, though, there are still a lot of questions surrounding this change and how it will impact fleets. Here’s what we know so far.

There Is No Single ELD Solution
Multiple ELD solutions are and will become available as the year progresses. While some may have additional bells and whistles, at a minimum, a high-quality ELD solution must include the following functions to be federally compliant:

• Connect to the truck’s engine control module to automatically record all driving time
• Allow the driver to log in and choose the appropriate duty status
• Offer a driver the ability to view their ELD records on demand, either in digital or printed form
• Display all data in a standardized form for law enforcement officials on demand, through either a screen display or printed format
• Support one of two options for electronic data transfer: wireless internet or email, or transfer by way of a USB thumb drive or Bluetooth

ELDs Should Save Your Fleet Time and Money
Although there will undoubtedly be a learning curve, in time, your ELD solution should help your fleet optimize its operations, saving both time and money. According to the FMCSA’s Regulatory Impact Analysis for ELDs, the paperwork savings per driver per year will be more than $700 as activities like filing and submitting RODS and purchasing paper driver logbooks are eliminated.

Plus, the time those activities take – more than 20 hours per year per driver – can potentially be transformed into new revenue-earning work. In addition, breaks – which on paper logs are marked in 15-minute increments – will now be tracked by their actual length, which can also free up additional driving time throughout the day.

More Comprehensive ELDs Offer More Benefits
In addition to baseline solutions, many suppliers are also offering more comprehensive fleet management systems to fulfill the ELD mandate. Beyond just tracking hours of service, these systems can also help:

• Reduce fuel costs – More advanced systems can also monitor idle times and speeding events, allowing you to address these fuel-guzzling actions.
• Increase uptime – Studies by the Aberdeen Group have shown that fleet management systems help reduce vehicle downtime by 15 percent and improve vehicle utilization by 13 percent.
• Lessen crash risks – According to the Center for Truck and Bus Safety of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, drivers using ELDs experienced an 11.7-percent total crash rate reduction than trucks not using ELDs.

We Have ELD Solutions Available Now
Volvo Trucks has several great ELD solutions available now to help you prepare for the coming federal rule.

Geotab Telematics pairs with Volvo Remote Diagnostics to offer a full suite of uptime services for vehicles with Volvo EPA 2010 and newer engines. Not only can this solution help you track a driver’s hours of service, but it also can help you better manage your drivers and vehicles by extracting accurate and actionable intelligence. For example, through Geotab’s integration with Remote Diagnostics and Volvo Action Service, you can:

• Get accurate, real-time information on vehicle health and engine system faults
• Rapidly identify the root cause of faults
• Make faster, better-informed decisions with accurate data
• Proactively schedule maintenance to avoid costly breakdowns on the road

For trucks without Remote Diagnostics capabilities, we also offer several other ELD solutions from brands including RoadLog™, Omnitracs and Rand McNally. These aftermarket units are easy to install and offer a range of services for both owner-operators and fleet managers.

Stop by your local Volvo Trucks dealership today to learn more about our ELD offerings and how we can help your prepare for the new federal mandate. Or, log on to the SELECT Part Store™ to look up and purchase a unit anytime day or night. Remember, registration is always free and gives you 24/7 access to online ordering and same-day or next-day delivery.