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Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) and What They Mean for Over-Dimensional Trucking

As of December 16, 2019, all commercial vehicles, including trucking companies, operating within Canada and The United States must have an electronic logging device (ELD) installed in their truck to be legally allowed to operate. One of the main reasons for this mandate was to keep our roadways safe by having a tamper-proof solution of limiting and monitoring the number of hours professional truck drivers can work in each workday and workweek.

Before this mandate, there were Hours of Service (HOS) regulations in place that outlined the maximum number of hours a driver would be able to work each day and workweek. However, the onus of reporting these hours of service fell on the driver as they were required to keep a record of their hours worked on daily trip sheets. In certain situations, there were incentives for some drivers to tamper with their daily trip sheets so they can work longer hours, get more miles in, and get their freight delivered sooner. This could lead to the driver becoming overly exhausted, which would compromise the safety of other vehicles that share the same roadway.

Electronic Logging Devices

What are ELDs and their Benefits?

ELDs and their Benefits

ELDs are an electronic solution that enables drivers, commercial motor carriers, and regulators to easily track Hours of Service (HOS) compliance. It does this by plugging into the truck’s engine to record when the workweek is in motion. In doing so, it eliminates the chance of commercial drivers who are incentivized to put in a shift that is greater than the maximum set by the department of transportation.

This new digital format of collecting HOS information of each truck has led to increased efficiency across many parties in the transportation industry. First, the driver does not have to keep track of and record their HOS each day. Furthermore, ELDs automatically send HOS to the carrier on an ongoing basis to keep track of so the driver does not have to send their paper logbook to their carrier. Both save the driver countless hours each week while allowing them to focus on what is most important: getting your freight delivered safely and on time.

ELDs make the HOS compliance process seamless compared to when it was done via paper logbooks. When a truck pulls into a scale to check their HOS, ELDs enable data to flow digitally between users and regulators instead of having to translate HOS data from one format to another. In doing so, truck scales can run more efficiently and cause less downtime for the drivers who go through them.

Lastly, ELDs have enabled carriers to have real-time tracking of their equipment and HOS compliance. This makes the process of satisfying regulatory bodies like the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) less time-consuming for the carrier’s personnel responsible for filing to the appropriate agency as all the data is available electronically. Furthermore, ELDs give carriers a lot more data on their fleet as a whole and on an individual basis, which can be used to make strategic decisions to drive further efficiency and safety.

Implications of ELDs for Cross Border Transportation

Besides keeping our roads safer by ensuring more trucks are compliant with HOS regulations, there are other implications from the ELD mandate. Shippers and receivers can help drivers be as efficient as possible with their time on duty by being mindful of the amount of time it takes to load and unload a truck since this is when the truck is on duty but not covering any miles.

As the driving hours of a truck are maxed out at 11 hours per day, we have found that running a tight shift is not always the most efficient method, especially when there are special rigging crews that must be scheduled to load/unload the truck. There are many unforeseen variables, such as weather and traffic that could delay a driver’s daily progress that cannot be made up after the 11-hour driving shift is finished. Therefore, lanes that range from 450-700 miles will be affected as these will turn into two-day runs instead of next day. We would rather add a buffer in our schedule for these circumstances and show up early rather than be late as a crew waits on us to arrive on site.

The introduction of ELDs has caused it more challenging to find parking, especially in highly trafficked corridors and around metro areas. Therefore, if there is space available on site, it is incredibly helpful for shippers and receivers to offer parking solutions on site. This is even more important for pickups and deliveries scheduled for the morning as it allows the truck to get loaded or unloaded before they clock in to start their workday.

By working with an ELD compliant heavy haul carrier like Vectra Heavy Haulers, you will have the peace of mind that your freight will be delivered safely and on time as we know what our limitations are with the ELD mandate so you can focus on running your business efficiently.