Transport Canada has officially released guidance on the long-awaited electronic logging device (ELD) rule in Canada. By June 2021 ELDs will have to be used by all federally regulated carriers.
How to Guide: Get Your Drivers On Board With ELDs
As a reseller of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) we’ve had a chance to speak to hundreds of carriers of various sizes located all across Canada and the United States. If we were to select one take away message from our conversations with these carriers, it would be that they’re not looking forward to introducing E-Logs to their drivers. With concerns ranging from the fear that drivers will quit, demand to only perform short haul operations to avoid e-logs altogether or rack up exorbitant data charges by streaming video (you know the type) on company issued mobile devices meant for ELDs, trucking company managers are feeling the heat.
We have read countless articles regarding the various approach’s carriers should take with their drivers when introducing ELDs however much of this advice tip-toe’s around the real issues that company managers are facing when implementing ELDs. Here we’ve constructed our top 5 ways to help ensure your fleets ELD adoption goes as smoothly as possible.
1. Preface The Intro
If you haven’t done so already, communicate with your drivers about the ELD Mandate. Its very likely that the information they’ve heard through the grapevine isn’t positive and this is your opportunity to dispel any myths that may have popped up. In our experience, many drivers believe a number of myths such as ELDs contain software that can disengage the vehicles engine remotely or their vehicle could shut down if they ran out of out of driving hours. Inform your drivers of the facts behind the ELD mandate and ensure them that improving their quality of life on the road as well as their safety is what they should expect.
2. Make Drivers Part Of The Buying Conversation
Many of the carriers we’ve talked to have strong personal opinions regarding the type of ELD they want, whether it be a mobile based platform like Omnitracs XRS or the robust, hard mounted solutions that are available. Quite often it seems as though the company owner or manager has only considered what THEY want and not what is best for their business and their drivers. At the end of the day, the driver will be the one interacting with the ELD on a daily basis. Shouldn’t they have a say in what type of solution they would prefer? We recommend bringing this point up at your next safety meeting, perhaps present a survey of driver preferences. Do any of your drivers have prior experience with an ELD? By acknowledging their personal experiences and encouraging thoughtful discussion you can learn from your drivers and also help ensure you purchase an ELD your drivers will be invested in.
3. Train And Retrain
Whether you have prior experience with an ELD and the back office software or not, training of drivers and back office staff will be required. If your main priority is to find the cheapest solution possible, perhaps you should also consider what type and level of training is included. Many ELD providers do not have an extensive training platform for driver or manager training and instead require a manager to individually train each and every driver on how to use the device. Perhaps training is available, but how much does it cost? Keep in mind that going with the lowest possible cost likely means that you will be required to pay for any extras. Omnitracs XRS, for example, gives customers access to its online-based Omnitracs University for both manager and driver training as well as access to the Knowledge Base accessible from both the XRS host website and the mobile app. With Omnitracs XRS these resources are included in the cost of your monthly subscription and this support can drastically help with a successful ELD implementation. If your ELD provider does not give your drivers online access to training, we recommend providing your drivers with material that they can turn to while out on the road.
4. Provide Resources
Letting your drivers know that they have support and resources within your company to whom they can turn to with issues concerning ELDs is extremely important. Have you considered who will be editing driver logs when a driver forgets to change their duty stay to ‘Off Duty’ before logging out? What happens if there is a temporary glitch in the connection of your ELD and the driver is required to use paper logs for the remainder of their trip. Who is in charge of manually inputting these logs to get that drivers hours back on track so it is reflected on their ELD platform? Remember, you are expected to dispatch drivers with a clear understanding of available hours which will now be made transparent through your use of electronic logs.
5. Give Your Company Time To Adjust
I can’t reiterate this fifth and final point enough. The majority of carriers we speak to have no plan to implement ELDs outside of “not any time soon” or “in the summer sometime”. I don’t wish to be the bearer of bad news but this approach is going to have a negative impact on your company. I wish I could have a dollar for every time I’ve heard a manager express a new found frustration with Hours of Service rules despite the fact that the ELD Mandate is not changing the rules but simply enforcing them. If this point strikes a chord it may be due to the fact that you are not thoroughly enforcing the current hours of service rules within your fleet and fear the impact that compliance will have on your productivity. Do your research, ask the hard questions, demand honest answers from your ELD vendor and determine who will be managing ELDs on a day to day basis within your organization.
TransReport Services is an authorized reseller of Omnitracs XRS mobile based ELDs, catering to both Canadian and U.S. trucking fleets. Contact us today to learn more about XRS and our professional services to ease your ELD adoption!