5 Tips to Help CDL Drivers Transition to ELDs

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Updated December 5, 2019

Is your organization fully ELD compliant? How are your drivers adapting? With the full compliance deadline for the electronic logging device (ELD) rule closing in, some drivers may not be particularly enthusiastic, fearing an invasion of privacy and “Big Brother” management.

It's important to remember that change is difficult for everyone, even when the change itself is positive. Change management techniques starting with education and followed by reinforcement are key here. With a little patience, you will soon see your drivers realizing the benefits of dealing with fewer paper and manual records. Here are five ways you can help your drivers ease into this digital transformation.

1. Make sure you're aware of the nuances to best help your drivers

While you may not want to read all 126 pages of the ELD final rule, it’s important to have a grasp of the basics. A good place to start is to browse our ELD blog posts, which cover some of the more popular questions as well as details such as who's exempt and whether violations are automatically reported to the DOT.

Being informed about what the legislation requires, how the technology works and what it will mean for your employees, or knowing where you can go to get reliable, up-to-date answers, will help you ease concerns drivers might have.

It’s also important to know that there are specific provisions to prevent the use of ELDs to harass drivers, and legislated procedures for drivers who feel these guidelines have been overstepped by their employer. For instance, there should be provisions to mute the ELD while the driver is asleep.

2. Communicate openly with all the drivers

It’s important to make sure that everyone in your organization is kept well-informed about what’s changing and why. Employees are often sensitive to talk of change, and rumors can run rampant through the company grapevine.

Take the time to explain exactly what an ELD is and what it isn’t. There can be a number of misunderstandings about what ELDs are and what they will be monitoring, and the mandate actually places specific restrictions on what information can be tracked.

Some topics worth covering include:

  • How the technology works: Help demystify how hours are recorded, stored and transferred
  • Driver rights: Including what is required during a roadside inspection and perceived harassment
  • Plan B: What to do when the device breaks down or service is disrupted
  • How the information is used: Including reporting of violations and length of storage (The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires ELD data to be stored for a minimum of six months)
  • General Q&A: Invite the team to share their own questions

Keep the tone of your communication inclusive and make them feel a part of the decision-making process. ELDs are mandated by the FMCSA and require the whole business (including managers, drivers and back office) to adapt to a new way of doing things, so it’s not just truck drivers who have to be trained and brought into the loop.

3. Keep things positive

Electronic logging offers welcome relief to a task that has historically been labor-intensive. Some of the ways that ELDs directly benefit the driver include:

  • Reducing interruptions from the back office with "driver check" calls to verify delivery ETA or HOS availability.
  • Increasing driving time by recording every available minute, unlike paper logging that requires rounding off to the nearest fifteen minutes.
  • Reducing paperwork and ending manual paper logbook entries.
  • Improving safety with increased accountability on both employers and drivers to respect legal limits and off-duty time.
  • Harassment protection with a secure digital audit trail to prevent manipulation of paper logs.
  • The opportunity to get recognition for their good driving with metric-based scorecards that can be used to reward a high standard of work.
  • Streamlined roadside checks in which DOT officers can verify HOS with direct access to the ELD via Bluetooth or USB. 

    4. Follow through on managing the change

    The transition from paper Hours-of-Service (HOS) logs to ELDs can be an exhaustive process, particularly if you’re running a large fleet. Effective change management includes having a big picture view of the changeover and taking all affected parties into account.

    By now, you would have a plan in place to make the switch from HOS logs to ELDs. Follow that up with a walk-through of the deployment process. Keeping the lines of communication open and feedback flowing throughout the entire process will help to smooth out any speed bumps along the way.

    5. Share the rewards

    Implementation of ELDs can mean considerable cost savings for the business, including greater uptime, lower maintenance and fuel costs and increased safety measures. Incentivize your truck drivers by sharing these added profits with them.

    Fleets that have installed electronic logging solutions are also seeing an increase in utilization, by increasing the allowable number of driving hours. This all adds up to improved profitability for your business, which in turn provides drivers with better job security.

    In addition, give back to your drivers in a more tangible way to encourage them throughout the transition. Cash incentives, employee perks or recognition can all make a driver’s job more rewarding, and change their opinion of ELDs. And it’s great news for good drivers.

    ELD implementation is not just about a mandate. It comes with tangible benefits for the business. Find out how Verizon Connect can assist you with ELD deployment to help keep your fleet compliant.  

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