Last year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed a new electronic log mandate, requiring all interstate drivers currently using paper logs to switch over to electronic logs. Now that the mandate is in effect, affected drivers have a 2 year grace period to make the transition. Why let your business wait until the last minute? Electronic logs increase driving efficiency, adhere more closely to driver safety standards, and help to improve communication between drivers and dispatch.
Here are 3 tips to help your eventual transition from a paper to electronic log system:
1. Gain an understanding of Electronic Log Devices (ELDs)
Before making a switch to an ELD, it helps to gain a basic understanding of the electronic system. ELDs are devices that automatically track hours of service (HOS) and transmit driver data into a database. A computer then reviews and processes the data it receives, cutting out the need for a driver to manually record paper logs.
ELDs also affect CSA compliance, and how recorded data measures safety performance. The ultimate goal is to prevent road accidents before they happen, utilizing the data gathered from an ELD source. Drivers may review vehicle statistics, miles per gallon, average speed, and more to develop safe and efficient driving behaviors. The ELD also provides clock and recap reports to assist drivers in time management, and sounds an alert when off the clock. Remember—a safe driver is a well-rested and alert driver.
2. Determine the scope of your needs
Once you’ve done the preliminary research, it’s time to look at ELD solutions that meet your fleet management needs. The device itself is only a part of a larger whole, so make sure you pay attention to software integration and potential add-on features.
A fleet management solution provider may offer various options:
- Auxiliary devices to document real-time events in the field.
- Software integration with tablets or mobile browsers
- An app to sync with the main desktop application.
Determine what features you would like to have your ELD solution encompass, and if your provider can meet those requirements.
3. Train drivers in ELD protocol
You now have a great ELD system in place and ready to roll, but not so fast—the drivers will need proper training before they can utilize the ELDs. Switching from paper logs to electronic logs can intimidate many drivers, but this fear can be avoided with a clear outline on how ELD deployment works to a driver’s advantage.
Go over ELD protocol and ensure each driver understands any new procedures expected from the new system. Emphasize to drivers how ELDs can reduce paperwork, speed up inspections, and reduce time spent recording manual paper logs. Using an ELD can reduce inspection time by automatically processing Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR), road inspections, and electronic purchase forms.