Whether you love them or loathe them, electronic logging devices (ELDs) are here to stay. In fact, as of June 12, 2021, all fleets in Canada and the U.S. should now have officially switched from AOBRDs to ELDs.
ELDs automatically record your drivers’ Hours of Service (HOS) and store reports and driver certifications—which should help fleets stay compliant and save time on paperwork.
To help you navigate the pitfalls, stay compliant, and get the most out of this trucking technology, we’ve created a guide to the best ELD practices for successful fleet management.
1. Share the Benefits of the ELD System with Your Team
As humans, we naturally resist change because it’s difficult. If you’re a fleet manager, you’ll have to deal with a variety of reactions when introducing new technology to your team, some of which may be negative.
To win your drivers over, you’ll need to successfully convince everyone this change isn’t just necessary—it’s something they will personally benefit from.
There are plenty of benefits. ELDs automatically record driving hours (recorded on paper in the past), which means less manual work for drivers. Driver data is then transferred automatically to fleet managers and, eventually, inspectors at roadside, resulting in shorter inspection times and less paperwork.
“That’s 15 minutes you get back in productivity for your drivers,” says Joe DeLorenzo, director of the FMCSA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance.
Other benefits include reduced administration costs, real-time access to data, and improved CSA safety scores and tracking.
2. Maintain an Updated Company Policy on Hours of Service
Make sure you update the company policy on HOS to include the use of ELDs. Stress how important it is that drivers abide by these new rules. Also, tell your team how logs will be monitored and ensure drivers won’t be assigned jobs when they’ve maxed out their hours. You should also clearly state your company’s stance on disciplinary measures for violations.
Communicate company policy across the entire organization in a variety of ways. You could create a physical handbook for drivers to keep in their cab, hang posters around the depot, and set up an online wiki. You should also make yourself available to answer questions when they arise.
3. Incentivize Drivers
Drivers may be reluctant to adopt the new technology, so you may need to incentivize your team to achieve results.
Set up programs that encourage good performance. Examples of popular rewards include days off, gift cards and coupons, bonuses for good work, or a team night out—you get the idea. Once your drivers are more familiar with ELDs and their usage, continue to acknowledge their good work with regular praise and incentives.
4. Schedule Periodic, Ongoing Training Sessions
Everyone learns at a different pace, not to mention in different ways—so be patient and flexible. If some drivers are struggling to adopt the new technology, schedule more training sessions so everyone is on the same level.
Training not only makes onboarding easier—it’s also a requirement. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website, it’s vital all drivers are knowledgeable about how to operate the device(s) to record, certify, and share hours-of-service data.
Training can be time-consuming and expensive, but the more time you invest up-front, the lower your chance of logging mistakes further down the line. Mistakes could result in non-compliance, which could lead to a lower CSA score and financial penalties.
Change is ongoing, so regularly check-in and give drivers the opportunity to report back on any issues. Multiple studies show effectively trained employees are more engaged in their roles, so it’s worth investing in.
“The second-most significant driver of employee engagement is career development—that is, learning, development and advancement opportunities that are provided to employees on a systematic basis,” advises Bob Nelson Ph.D., author of 1,001 Ways to Engage Employees: Help People Do Better What They Do Best. “Career development isn’t an occasional training class or periodical promotions but, rather, the daily journey of learning, job skills and networking that puts employees on the course they most want to travel in their career—with their manager’s help getting there.”
5. Audit Your ELD Program
Create and implement a process for tracking and evaluating data to ensure all drivers are recording their hours, signing off on logs, and staying compliant with HOS regulations.
You may want to increase audits during the roll-out phase in order to regularly get feedback and address issues with targeted training. If you spot a trip that was completed with no driver recorded, find out who completed the trip and retrospectively assign someone to it as soon as possible.
To help break down the process of implementing ELDs into your organization further, here are some tips to ensure the changes go smoothly.
How to Implement Organizational Change
- Be empathetic. Drivers already have busy schedules. When you introduce a new process or technology, it’s important to be patient and supportive.
- Create a feeling of urgency. Stress the importance of the electronic logging device and its usage.
- Get other people on your side. It’s easier to influence people when you have the backing of a supportive team working towards a common goal.
- Create a vision. Explain why the future should be different and how the ELD will help the team get there.
- Listen to your team. Remove the barriers that are in the way of them successfully working with the ELD.
- Celebrate short-term successes. Praise and results are powerful motivators. If you can show your team their efforts are working, it will make people feel more positive about the change.
- Make electronic logging devices part of your fleet’s culture. Continually demonstrate the link between implementation and success. This will help ELDs replace your old way of doing things.
If you want to optimize your fleet operations with an electronic logging device, learn more by requesting our demo.