There was a time when the business of logistics was a rustic and chaotic one. Everyone has one number on their phone books to ship packages.
There were no streamlined ways to make sure that the goods can be moved from place-A to place-B. Then with the advancement of technology, we moved to a world where everything can be tracked.
The use of IoT, AI, and GPS is redefining life from fitness trackers to your cabs. From the time you place an order for food on the delivery applications, to the time it reaches your doorstep, every step of the way can be monitored remotely using such devices.
This is just a small slice of the cake. The more prominent game changers are those in fleet management.
A fleet, of course, uses a system called ELD or electronic logging devices. Some devices are hooked to the trucks and other small utility vehicles and can use engine data to log hours of operations. The Federal Motor Carrier Saftey Advimsatarions enforced the use of such devices in Dec 2017.
While this was done to ensure the safety of the driver and make the roads a safer place, it came with a vast need for adaptations and change. Automation is always a hard change to make, and this, too, took a slow turn.
Today almost all trucks on the road use these devices to cloak their hours of operations (HOS compliance). This information is fed directly to a cloud-based server, which will then keep an electronic record of the travels in real-time. This will further help determine the CSA score and make the trucking and logistics industry and a much safer place.
What is CSA Score?
CSA or Compliance, Safety, Accountability — is a program run by the FMCSA to ensure that all the drivers on the road are giving their utmost care for road safety. The driver itself is not given a CSA score; it is given to the organization or the carriers. The violations of the driver are accounted for in the companies’ records.
The CSA score is like a credit score for your road-safety. These are determined by the roadside inspections and crash-report data from your ELDS.
If a company is keeping an eye on safe driving, HOS compline, regular vehicle maintenance, and driver behavior — they will be on the top of the program. And all of these are not possible without necessary automation.
What Does The ELD Mandate Mean?
Post-2017, the ELD mandate was in place, which, by law, needs all companies to use ELDs to track logging. The last change we noticed in the industry was the users do AOBRDs or the automatic onboard recording devices.
These were an integral part of the trucking community, but they were not a mandate. After the use of ELDs was enforced as it does more than just a track-logging.
The ELD is linked to the engine data and can help sustainably reduce the load of paperwork for a truck-driver. They can also keep the dispatcher updated about the HOS of the truck since the company has affected the CSA score. They can like the AOBRDs to be synergized to collect service and maintenance data.
Exemptions Of The ELD Mandate
With every rule comes its set of exceptions. This means that the mandatory use of ELDs does not apply to a particular group of people.
This is purely based on usage and does not change from region-to-region. Across the borders of the country, these rules must be enforced with the exception of these few:
They firstly do not apply to anyone who is using paper logging for up to or less than 8 days of usage. These are tucks that do only a limited load, and the rule is not enforced.
They could be companies that manage their one fleet to run mall shipments. These eight-days of leeway is given for every 30 days.
If a vehicle is manufactured before the year 2000, then this is not an enforceable rule. The electronics of these are not suitable for ELDs and could lead to further damage or slowdown of the vehicles.
These users, however, need to sleep and keep a paper-log of them HOES. The manufacturing of the trucks does not give them away from road-safety altogether.
Driveaway-towaway drivers are also not needed to use ELDs. These are large vehicles mandatorily, but still functioning in a fixed area.
The hours of operations do not need them to stay on the road for long hours, which makes the mandate of an ELD counterproductive to the use. They are also subject to on-road inspections.
Another group of users exempted is farm vehicles or novelty truck users. These are mostly used to move goods inside a small area and do not do long-haul.
This does not exempt all vehicles in the agriculture sector, just the ones that are used in the internal movement of farms and barn-usage. These could be used to move goods, privately buy feed for livestock, or move machines.
Certain short-haul vehicles are also exempted from the rule. These are services like shuttle services, internal feeders, or private drivers for companies.
To qualify for the exceptions, the start and endpoint of the trip must be the same. The driver must only operate in a 150-mile radius from the place of work and should work in a well-documented shift system. These shifts must be not more than a 12 hours long shift, and implacable paper-log must be maintained.
The mandate of ELDs has made a significant change to the way industries function. They bring order into the chaotic world of logistics and fleet management.
They have statistically proven to reduce the risk on the driver and make road-safety a priority. The expectations are made, keeping in mind the broader wellbeing of everyone on the roads.
While the use of ELDs is a mandate, they do not just get you out of fines; they also help improve the organization and bring better productivity and efficiency into the system. It is a sure way to provide better job satisfaction and turn over increased profit margins.