ELDs vs. Roadside Inspections

Electronic logging devices (ELDs) have had a significant impact on the trucking industry. The device's ability to automatically record the amount of time spent behind the wheel enables drivers to streamline operations and reduce the major administrative burden associated with paper logs.

However, when it comes to roadside inspections, ELDs aren’t always the most helpful tools. Since the ELD mandate took effect, both drivers and inspectors have felt the difficulties of adapting to the changing technology. Drivers have to learn how their devices work and operate and inspectors need to be able to differentiate between devices operating in different modes while recognizing drivers working under various extensions and exemptions.

Here are a few difficulties drivers and inspectors must continue to overcome:

Device confusion

One of the major issues inspectors are continuously facing during roadside inspections is the process of identifying what type of device the driver is using and how it operates. Inspectors might come across one of two devices—the ELD or AOBRD. The AOBRD, or automatic onboard recording device, is less strict than the ELD and are present in fleets that deployed the devices before the mandate took effect. AOBRDs will be allowed until December 16, 2019.

Both drivers and inspectors should know if they’re using an AOBRD or ELD for a smooth, accurate inspection.

Extended wait times

The introduction of the devices has led to longer inspection times as drivers and inspectors learn to adjust to the changing technology.

Determining what type of device is being used is just one of the barriers. After the device is identified, drivers and inspectors often experience delays while transferring eRODS due to technology malfunctions, error messages, or the frustrations of using something new.

Lack of flexibility

Any type of flexibility drivers enjoyed while using paper logs have been eliminated with the use of ELDs. The devices are very accurate, recording in seconds as opposed to 15-minute increments. Drivers have less leeway when it comes to logging their time, which could lead to more violations for shortages and overages.

According to FreightWaves, many drivers have been short of reaching their 10-hour break by minutes and seconds because of how accurate the devices are. It’s also difficult for drivers to find places to park and rest because of the lack of flexibility with the new devices.

As the industry adjusts to the new technology, issues like the ones mentioned above should dissolve. Freight brokers like Atran will continue to work with carriers, shippers, and drivers to make shipping as pain-free as possible.