Electronic logging devices (ELDs) are here to stay whether you love them or hate them. As of June 12, 2021, all fleets in Canada and the U.S. should have officially switched from AOBRDs to ELDs.
ELDs automatically record your drivers’ Hours of Service and store reports and driver certifications—which help fleets stay compliant and save time on paperwork.
To assist you in navigating the difficulties, remain compliant, and get the most out of this new trucking technology, we have created a list of 5 tips to implement in your own company to ensure the best ELD practices for successful fleet management.
Share the Benefits of the ELD System with Your Team
It is an entirely normal reaction to want to resist change. You will have to deal with a wide range of responses from your team when introducing this new technology – some of which may be negative.
To have your drivers feeling good about ELDs, you’ll need to outline all the ways they can personally benefit from them. The first benefit is that ELDs automatically record driving hours – something that your drivers would have had to do in the past manually. Driver data is also transferred to fleet managers, and eventually, inspectors at the roadside – resulting in shorter inspection times and less paperwork for everyone in your company. Other benefits include reduced administration costs, real-time access to data, and improved CSA safety scores and tracking.
Uphold an Updated Company Policy on Hours of Service
Ensure you update your company’s policy on service hours to include the use of ELDs, and inform your drivers of the importance of their adherence to these new rules. Also, make sure your team knows how logs will be monitored and that they will not be assigned jobs when they’ve maxed out their hours. It would help if you also outlined your company’s stance on disciplinary measures for violations.
A good tip is to communicate your company’s updated policies in various ways, including a physical handbook for drivers to keep in their cab, posters to hang around the depot, and an online wiki. You should also ensure your availability to answer questions when they arise – especially during the initial transition.
Drivers may still be hesitant to utilize the updated technology, so you may need to incentivize your team to achieve your desired results.
Put programs that encourage good performance in place. Some rewards you could potentially use include days off, gift cards, bonuses for good work, or a team night out. Once your drivers are more familiar with ELDs, continue recognizing and acknowledging their good work with regular praise and incentives.
Change is ongoing, so regularly check-in and allow drivers to report back on any issues.
Schedule Periodic, Ongoing Training Sessions
Everyone learns at a different pace and in different ways – so above all else, be patient and flexible when having difficulty introducing this new technology. If specific drivers have an issue adopting the latest technology, schedule additional training sessions to ensure everyone is on the same level.
Training is a requirement, not an option here. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website, all drivers must know how to operate the device(s) to record, certify, and share hours-of-service data.
Training can be time-consuming and expensive, but the more time you invest up-front, the lower your chance of logging mistakes further down the line. Errors could result in non-compliance, which could lead to a lower CSA score and financial penalties.
Ensure you’re regularly checking in with drivers and allowing them to report back on any issues. It’s worth investing to make sure your employees are well trained and more engaged in their roles.
Audit Your ELD Program
It is essential to design and implement a way to track and evaluate data to ensure all of your drivers correctly record their hours, sign off on logs, and obey hours-of-service regulations.
During the roll-out phase, increase the number of audits you conduct. Doing so will allow drivers to provide feedback and will target training efforts. If you happen to notice a completed trip with no record of who the driver was, find out who completed the trip and assign someone to it as soon as possible.
Here are some further tips to help with the smooth implementation of ELDs into your organization:
- Show empathy. Your drivers already have busy schedules. When introducing new technology, it’s imperative to be patient and supportive.
- Form a sense of urgency. Stress the importance of the electronic logging device and its purpose.
- Remember that it’s much easier to influence people when you have others backing you up. Make sure everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal.
- Inspire your team to see the vision of what the future could look like with the proper use of ELDs.
- Listen to feedback provided by your team, and help target any obstacles standing in the way that may deter them from using ELDs.
- Celebrate their successes, no matter how small. Praise is a compelling motivator, and should you show it to your team; you are likely to see a more positive environment surrounding the new changes.
- Implement ELDs into your company’s culture by continually showing the link between implementation and success.
ELDs are the way of the future; follow these tips to ensure your fleet’s transition to this new technology is as smooth as possible.