Voluntary Compliance with ELDs: What’s In It For You?

On June 15-16th, the FMCSA held the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) meeting in Alexandria, Virginia. This meeting, which was open to the public, focused on the agency’s Beyond Compliance initiative. During the two-day event, ideas were discussed around the FMCSA’s current projects and its strategic plan – including discussion of a voluntary compliance program for ELDs. In addition, time was allotted at the end of each day for the public to provide comments on any of the topics discussed during the session.

For background, the MCSAC was established to provide the FMCSA with information on motor carrier programs and trucking regulations. There were three main focus areas of this meeting: FMCSA Strategic Plan Discussion, Research and Technology Conversation, and Voluntary Compliance with ELDs.

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Here is a quick refresher on each:

Strategic Plans

  • Currently the FMCSA strategic plan only goes through fiscal year 2016. Part of the discussion during the MCSAC was to extend the plan through Fiscal Year 2018, which would then align with the Department of Transportation (DOT) plan, which also runs through 2018.

Research and Technology

  • Highlighted how new trucking technology that improves safety, as well as the enforcement of FMCSA regulations on safety.

Voluntary Compliance

  • In September 2014, the CVSA submitted a request to the FMCSA to consider initiating a pilot program to investigate the benefits and feasibility of a voluntary compliance program for ELDs.

So what does this mean to me?

Plenty, actually. With the upcoming electronic logs mandate ruling expected in September 2015, the themes of trucking technology, regulatory compliance, and strategy are more important than ever. Interestingly enough, ELDs – or electronic logging devices — are relevant to each of these themes.

Let’s explore each as they relate to ELDs.

Strategic Plans

With the ELD mandate, it is clear that the FMCSA is including electronic logs in their long term strategy. And why shouldn’t they? Society as a whole is moving toward electronic devices and technology, so wouldn’t it make sense for the transportation industry to follow suit?

Trucking Technology

At their core, electronic logbooks are a technology product. As part of a recent blog post we explored the impact that ELD technology has on recruiting young truck drivers. As this blog discussed, technology is everywhere in society today, and one of the major benefits of tech is that it simplifies our lives. Implementing a trucking technology solution such as ELDs can help ease the burden on today’s commercial truck drivers.

Voluntary Compliance with ELDs

The concept of Voluntary Compliance is very relevant in regards to ELDs. Some fleets may want to wait until the ELD mandate ruling or even the compliance deadline to implement electronic logs. While commercial fleets certainly have the prerogative to wait, delaying the inevitable denies them the opportunity to reap the benefits that ELDs provide beyond simple regulatory compliance.

With ELD technology, fleets can:

  • Build a cultural message of fleet safety versus “just enough” FMCSA compliance. E-logs give safety managers the tools they need to understand all areas of compliance. Safety managers and dispatchers can work together on loads that are within HOS requirements. Truck drivers can be alerted when low drive or on-duty time is near.
  • Start immediately building ROI: slash fuel costs, drastically reduce paperwork, increase driver communication, and charge for detention time.
  • Reduce major federal trucking violations, including Form and Manner, which are the most frequent violations.
  • Accurately account for all aspects of the business, including on-duty and drive time. Fleet managers can see where time may be leaking from current processes.
  • Roll out ELD technology at a pace comfortable to you, not a time frame established by the FMCSA.

To keep up to date about the Electronic Logs Mandate and how it affects you, explore ELDfacts.com, an important new information site designed to foster trucking industry understanding of this critical legislation.