ELD Mandate 5 Years Later: What’s the ELD Impact?

This blog explores how the ELD mandate impacted the trucking industry in its first five years and how it aids technology solutions in streamlining trucking operations.

When the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) introduced the ELD mandate in 2015, trucking industry professionals expressed considerable resistance and concern.

Despite this pushback, the measure was launched in 2017. Compliance is required for the majority of commercial motor vehicles operating in the United States.
This blog explores how the ELD mandate impacted the trucking industry in its first five years and how it aids technology solutions in streamlining trucking operations.

What is the ELD Mandate?

The FMCSA Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate was effective in December 2017. The regulation requires an ELD in most commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The mandate applies to all CMVs that meet any of the following criteria:
  • Operate outside of a 150-air-mile radius of their place of business, or
  • Operators are on the job for 14 hours or more, or
  • Operators do not get 10 hours off-duty between shifts for carrying property, or
  • Operators do not get 8 hours off-duty for carrying passengers.
ELD devices are attached to the CMV’s engine to record driving hours, distance, and how long the engine has been operating. ELDs provide immediate feedback on Hours of Service (HOS), driver location, vehicle speed, and maintenance alerts.
The primary goal of the ELD mandate was to improve road safety, reduce driver fatigue, and enforce Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. As a result, the mandate required standardized ELD data to be accessible to law enforcement and the Department of Transportation through wireless services, USB, or Bluetooth.
Fortunately, the same data used to improve safety outcomes can be used by fleets. ELD information supports efforts by the trucking industry to improve efficiency and productivity and reduce costs.

What is the Impact on the Trucking Industry from the ELD Mandate 5 Years Later?

Despite resistance to initial implementation, ELDs undoubtedly impacted trucking operations and opened the door for technological advances in the industry.
Truck Digitization

Since ELDs digitize location and driver status information in real-time, implementation created new opportunities in digital freight matching and dynamic routing. Digital freight matching allows shippers and carriers to match available loads with open capacity, using digital platforms or software. Digital freight matching utilizes machine learning and automation to streamline capacity procurement. It is a valuable tool for improving operational efficiency and minimizing excess deadhead miles.

Real-time ELD data also supports robust dynamic routing possibilities for fleets and shippers in the final mile. Dynamic routing utilizes visibility, actionability, and proactive exception management to route, reroute, and schedule according to changes in the delivery environment, cancellations, added stops, or other disruptions. It allows shippers to easily meet same-day and expedited requirements with minimal disruption to existing processes.

ELDs eliminate the need for manual paper logs and aid in automating other operational processes. ELDs monitor individual driver hours to ensure HOS compliance, but the same data alerts teams to exceptions that may impact on-time delivery. Automation powered by ELD data can also be used to reroute drivers away from traffic delays, relay critical maintenance reminders, or alert fleet managers and logistics teams to unsafe driving practices like speeding or hard-braking.
Increased Visibility through Telematics
Telematics monitors vehicles and assets using GPS technology and onboard diagnostics to track vehicle movements. While large fleets often used telematics to track assets, the ELD mandate put telematic technology in CMVs across the nation. ELDs created an opportunity to improve real-time visibility across the truckload network. With ELD integrations, shippers and fleets get real-time visibility over shipments in transit to identify delivery risks, improve dock scheduling, and route drivers effectively.
Improved Sustainability Metrics

ELDs provide valuable data to improve two key sustainability metrics: fuel efficiency and empty miles. Fuel efficiency can be calculated through refuel and miles-driven data and can help identify poor fuel usage attributed to driver practices or vehicle maintenance. Addressing the root cause of this issue can improve fuel economy and reduce overall costs. Additionally, ELD location data helps decrease empty miles and carbon emissions through advanced freight matching and dynamic final mile routing.

Better Route Optimization

Route optimization refers to the shipping and logistical process of optimizing delivery services and methods to meet customer expectations, improve efficiency metrics, and minimize transportation costs. ELDs allow fleet managers to monitor vehicles throughout their route and make adjustments to account for cancellations, added stops, or unexpected disruptions. ELDs also create a wealth of historical data to improve route planning and driver productivity over time.

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Make the Most of ELDs with Advanced TMS Technology

MercuryGate helps shippers and logistics teams make the most of ELDs with a customized, integrated TMS – linking systems and connecting valuable data for full visibility and insights to build a resilient transportation network. To learn more about MercuryGate’s solutions to automate and optimize critical logistics processes, download our eBook focused on real-time visibility.

And to stay up-to-date on transportation industry trends affecting your ability to control cost and service across your network, visit our regularly updated Logistics Landscape industry report.

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