The Safety Factor of ELDs
The new Electronic Logging Device rule set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is intended to “help create a safer work environment” for transportation drivers and increase accuracy in recording. This involves the use of ELDs, which are devices that sync with vehicle engines to record driving time.
As of June 2017, the Supreme Court has also refused to hear the ELD challenge sent by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, meaning that transportation drivers in the United States must officially comply with ELDs.
However, regardless of concerns over privacy and constitutionality, the real question comes down to:
Are ELDs actually safe?
Success in Europe
To be able to answer that question, we must really look towards the history of transportation electronic devices in Europe.
Since 1985, commercial trucks in the European Union have been required by law to have tachographs installed, which can then be securely monitored by government agencies. In the 1980s, mechanical tachographs were used, but now electronic logs have been in place since 2006.
First, the drivers are given a card, which must be inserted into the device prior to driving. This helps with recording, but also help with printing during roadside inspections. These tachographs can record all the activities by the vehicle, such as:
- Driving Times
- Rest Periods
So while originally expensive and impractical, ELDs have evolved into devices that are now harder to cheat or tamper with, increasing safety and security for all.
However, even with evidence from Europe, concerns remain over the use of Electronic Logging Devices.
Many drivers ponder the privacy and trust issues associated with the government having the ability to look over their shoulders as they drive. Others have concerns that traditional companies and smaller fleets will face difficulty over increased costs due to implementing these devices.
Not to mention the fact that transportation companies will have to form relationships with technology vendors, which may be a hard barrier to cross due to the distrust in this system.
Plus, as truck drivers are individually unique and work differently, many do not believe that ELDs will overall increase safety.
In response, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration responded back with a 60-page legal defense of the new ELD rule. Amongst the argument, 6 key points emerged to help resolve any issues with the new system::
- The rule is required by Congress.
- ELDs are more reliable than paper logs and increase compliance with hour regulations.
- Previous driver concerns have been resolved from the prior ELD mandate.
- ELDs will decrease crashes.
- The personal data and records for drivers will be protected, especially during complaints against carriers.
- ELDs do not violate illegal search and seizure protections.
Honestly, time will tell if the Electronic Logging Devices are the most reliable, safer route to go. As of right now, however, it seems pretty likely that they will work out and resolve any concerns that are still lingering.
If you are experiencing any of these concerns over ELDs or implementation of the system, then feel free to contact us at Utech Corporation. We are committed to providing helpful products and services for all customers in the transportation industry. We understand that running small and medium businesses can be difficult, so we will do our best to improve financial performance for all.