Every day normal individuals put themselves at risk. Going to work is risky, visiting the grocery store is risky, and running an errand is risky. Why do these ordinary tasks pose a risk? Because they involve vehicles. Many accidents are attributed to human error. Factor in weather too, and you can see how driving can be dangerous.
Multiply the level of danger for those who've found their calling as truckers. Truckers are on the road almost 24/7 and have to deal with drivers cutting them off and a list of potentially detrimental weather conditions. Fortunately, government bodies care about those who keep the economy moving and have made electronic logging devices (ELDs) mandatory by the end of 2017 (in the U.S).
Reasons for Using Electronic Logging
Although used primarily by truckers, ELDs positively impact two other groups: carriers and shippers. By making a trucker's work environment safer, a snowball effect has been created. First, let's start with the obvious one.
Truckers: Truckers can often be pushed to work more hours. More time driving equals more money, so drivers push themselves to the limit and suffer from fatigue. ELDs aim to put a stop to this by making drivers accountable for their hours. Replacing paper logbooks, these devices automatically record when the operator is driving on and off-duty. Driver fatigue is a serious issue with drivers 45% more likely to be in an accident. A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) study proved ELDs increase safety. ELD drivers have an 11.7% reduction in accidents compared to operators without the device. Furthermore, the FMCSA calculates this technology may prevent over 500 injuries and 25 deaths per year.
To prevent operator fatigue, when a driver is using electronic logging devices, a warning sound will signal when time is tight. This signal helps drivers remain hours of service compliant. The signal reminds them it's almost time to stop for the night, and that it's time to find a safe spot to pull over.
Carriers: Carriers also serve to benefit from the use of ELDs. First, poor driving can wreck a company's image. What shipper would trust a carrier with thousands of dollars in product when they have a ton of accidents to their name? Carriers need to be seen as reliable in order to get jobs from shippers.
Secondly, the data gathered by ELDs can help carriers manage the risk of other drivers. ELDs can record critical events, like accidents, and accurately recount driver and vehicle behaviour before, during, and after an accident occurs. With this information, one can easily reconstruct how the accident happened… or didn't happen. For big name trucking companies, they can be viewed as easy targets for scammers claiming they hit them. ELDs can prove the truck wasn't there, did stop, etc. This information could save companies a lot of money.
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Shippers: Truckers carry shipper products so, of course, they're affected too. They want their products to arrive safe and secure. With safer driving that ELDs enforce, shipments are also safer. Inventory loss is always a risk when it comes to transporting goods. Damaged or lost inventory can cost a company thousands of dollars to reproduce. With this mandate, inventory is better protected from harm.
ELDs were passed with safety and risk in mind. At the end of the day, everyone wants to be able to go home to their families, and ELDs help make this happen. Aside from keeping drivers alert, ELDs help carriers manage reputation risk and shipper inventory risk. ELDs are in everyone's best interests and keep safety at the forefront of this unique work environment.