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Avoid Potential Hiccups By Switching Telematics Devices Before December Deadline

FreightWaves

Over 90 percent of carriers are already running electronic logging device (ELDs), but a small percentage of fleets continue to run automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs). These older telematics devices must be retired in favor of ELDs by December 16. 

The three-week moving average of carriers that report they are still running AOBRDs remains basically in line with results seen over the last few weeks. This average dropped below 10 percent the week of July 23, and it has remained stable since that point. 

This suggests that the small portion of carriers that have not yet made the switch are putting it off until closer to the official deadline.

FreightWaves, EROAD and CarrierLists have partnered to conduct a weekly telephone survey through mid-December. These surveys are intended to track the progression of the AOBRD to ELD switch. 

This week's survey garnered 155 responses from carriers of different sizes that run in various lanes. Of the company leaders surveyed, 144 said they were already ELD-compliant, and 11 said they are still using AOBRDs. That puts this week's compliance rate at about 92.9 percent, up from 91.4 percent last week.

When combined with compliance rates from the last two weeks to form a three-week moving average, the compliance rate drops slightly to about 92.4 percent. Still, compliance rates observed over the last few surveys have been similar. 

ELD compliance rates have soared since the beginning of the survey almost two months ago. At that point, as many as 20 percent of respondents were still running AOBRDs. 

Throughout the course of the surveys, regional and super-regional carriers have consistently reported lower ELD compliance rates than their nationwide peers. However, this gap has narrowed over the last several weeks. This week, super-regional carriers have all but closed in on nationwide carriers.

For the sake of the survey, carriers that run across the lower 48 states are considered nationwide carriers. Regional carriers run in a 150 to 1,000 mile radius, and super-regional carriers run more than 1,000 miles but not nationwide. 

Throughout the course of the surveys, it has also become clear that some fleet types tend to be more compliant than others. Van, reefer and flatbed operations have consistently reported strong compliance rates, though flatbed does tend to come in somewhat lower than the other two. By contrast, tankers and dry bulk carriers have tended to report lower compliance rates. 

A percentage of tankers and dry bulk haulers are exempt from the ELD mandate altogether because they tend to run shorter routes, often coming in under 150 air miles from home base. FreightWaves has taken steps to make sure ELD-exempt carriers are not counted in the survey results. Nonetheless, tankers and dry bulk haulers that are not exempt still came up short. 

In talking to multiple experts, including Jason Miller, Associate Professor of Logistics at Michigan State University, and BulkLoads.com Operating Partner Jared Flinn, it appears that tankers and dry bulk haulers routinely running more than 150 miles from home may be coming up short on the compliance side because they still run relatively short routes and have a good understanding of enforcement routines. They also may be more generally opposed to technological advancements than other drivers.

Regardless of fleet type, size or range, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been consistent in prompting carriers to make the switch from AOBRDs to ELDs sooner rather than later.

"Moving from AOBRDs to ELDs will present drivers with new interfaces, new data requirements, new ways of managing exemptions, new ways of annotating logs and other new processes like sharing data with inspectors at roadside," said Soona Lee, EROAD's director of regulatory compliance. "Drivers that have been using AOBRDs for a while have developed habits for using the hardware and capturing logs, and they'll need ample time for training and adjustment to ELDs. Without it, carriers will find more compliance violations than they planned for."

Getting out ahead of the deadline helps ensure that carriers can secure the hardware they want, complete driver and back office training, and avoid fines on the highway come December.

"Potential risks from being a last-minute convert include hardware shortages, driver and safety manager training issues and hardware/software integration issues," FreightWaves Chief Data Scientist Daniel Pickett said. "Every fleet should be testing the hardware they intend to buy with a few drivers at least."

EROAD's guide "Planning your move from AOBRD to ELD" gives eight key considerations and six critical questions to help select the right solution and make to achieve the easiest transition possible. 

Visit the AOBRD to ELD resource center to download the guide.

Image sourced from Pixabay

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