August 24, 2017

Why Are So Many Short-Haul Fleets Installing ELDs?

Why Are So Many Short-Haul Fleets Installing ELDs?

The ELD mandate deadline is growing closer with each passing day. It’s less than four months away now.

As the deadline continues getting closer, fleets are feeling the urgency to install ELDs. They understand that implementing ELDs at the very last moment is a dangerous proposition and can get them into trouble.

On the other hand, short-haul fleets and short-haul drivers are not feeling the same kind of pressure.

As per the ELD mandate, short-haul drivers are exempt from the ELD mandate. However, despite being exempt from the final ELD rule, many short-haul fleets are installing ELDs with the same kind of urgency and focus. It is because many short-haul drivers might be unintentionally violating Hours of Service rules and regulations.

If you are a short-haul driver, fleet manager, or company owner, this is an important post for you. In this article, we discuss why are so many short-haul fleets installing ELDs, and why it is actually a good idea for short-haul fleets to prepare before the December 18, 2017, ELD mandate deadline.

But first, let’s briefly recap the FMCSA’s definition for short haul drivers and the four major ELD mandate exemptions.

Who are Short-Haul Drivers?

According to the FMCSA’s rules and regulations, you are a short-haul driver, if:

  • You start and return to the same location within twelve (12) hours of duty time.
  • You maintain your time-clock function.
  • You do not drive for more than eleven (11) hours.
  • You have ten (10) consecutive hours in off-duty between shifts.
  • You do not exceed the 100 air-mile radius from your starting position.

It means if you drive beyond the 100 air-mile radius or take more than 12 hours to come back to your “home base”, you will need to maintain a Record of Duty Status (RODS).

Now, let’s see the ELD mandate exemptions, including the specific exemption for short-haul drivers.

ELD Mandate Exemptions

The FMCSA’s electronic logging device mandate applies to most CMV drivers and fleets. It affects more than 3.5 million commercial drivers across the United States of America. However, there are a few exemptions, too.

The ELD mandate does not apply to:

  • Towaway drivers
  • Vehicles with pre-2000 engines. Note that this exemption was a bit ambiguous in the past, but the FMCSA has now clarified that the exemption applies to the pre-2000 engines, not the VIN.
  • Drivers who are not required to maintain their Record of Duty Status, e.g., short-haul drivers.
  • Drivers who maintain RODS for no more than 8 days in a 30-day period.

The last point is very important to understand.

Exceeding the Short-Haul Limitation

As mentioned earlier, sometimes, drivers exceed their short-haul limits. They may drive beyond the 100 air-mile radius or may take more than 12 hours to return to their “home base”.

In such cases, drivers will have to maintain the Record of Duty Status (RODS). Moreover, if short-haul drivers are maintaining RODS for more than 8 days in a 30-day period, they do not qualify for the ELD mandate exemption and, therefore, will need ELDs.

This is the biggest reason why so many short-haul fleets are installing ELDs because they can’t spot on the 7th day that they will require an ELD. That last-minute ELD implementation would be almost impossible.

The FMCSA’s Director on the 8-Day Exception

Joe DeLorenzo, the FMCSA’s director, shared that the 8-day rule for short-haul drivers is his biggest concern. He said:

“The one [area] that I’m most concerned about is the 8-day rule. Because the 8-day rule is the one where you can’t be figuring this out on the seventh day in any 30-day period and finding out that this is going to be a problem.”

He further explained why the 8-day exception rule could be so problematic for fleets in the context of ELD implementation:

“That’s what happens a lot: ‘my driver went down sick for a couple of days, and now, suddenly, I’m going to be losing this exception, and that [other] driver is going to need an ELD’. Then you have to got to go back, and you have got to enter all that information into the ELD so the driver can use it, and then it’s just a lot more work for everyone.”

Joe said the 8-day exception problem could be solved by planning ahead.

“I don’t think I can stress that enough — thinking ahead and figuring out what you as a carrier are really going to need in terms of those exceptions is going to be really important.”

4 Additional Reasons for Short-Haul Fleets to Install ELDs

The noncompliance issue highlighted above is, by far, the biggest concern for short-haul fleets and is also the biggest reason why so many short-haul fleets are installing ELDs.

They want to plan ahead and not risk being noncompliant at the very last moment.

But that’s not the only reason. There are numerous benefits for short-haul fleets if they install ELDs. Following are 4 such reasons:

1. Using ELDs to Calculate 100 Air-Miles

It can be difficult to calculate air-miles for drivers when they are on the road. ELDs automatically record the distance covered and help drivers calculate how many air-miles they have driven.

It helps them stay within the 100 air-mile radius and know when they are about to exceed the limit.

Short-haul fleets equipped with ELDs can stay relaxed as they won’t have to constantly worry about driving beyond the radius.

2. Driver Scorecards

Some ELDs, like the KeepTruckin ELD solution, help fleet managers identify bad and dangerous driving behaviors. By monitoring drivers who drive recklessly and spotting dangerous driving behaviors, such as hard cornering, hard braking, hard acceleration, and speeding, fleets can improve the overall safety.

Increased fleet safety leads to fewer accidents, penalties, and liabilities.

3. Idle-Time Tracking

Idle-time tracking is another big reason why so many short-haul fleets are installing ELDs.

It is estimated that for a truck that consumes $70,000 worth of fuel every year, nearly $5,600 is wasted on idling.

ELDs allow fleets to identify drivers who idle for too long or too frequently. It can save short-haul fleets thousands of dollars in fuel wastage every month.

4. Geofencing

The geofencing feature allows fleet managers to set virtual parameters and get real-time notifications whenever a vehicle enters or exits them.

Short-haul fleets can easily monitor their vehicles without having to stare at their screens continuously. Instant notifications make the jobs easier for fleet managers and automate the process of monitoring vehicles — which eventually increases efficiency and productivity.

Conclusion

ELDs also have various other benefits.

Short-haul fleets understand that by implementing ELDs — despite the exemption — they can increase efficiency, streamline operations, and reduce administrative burdens. All of which can be then translated into minimized expenses and higher profits.

More importantly, however, it is the 8-day exception — and the ambiguity that surrounds the exception — that short-haul fleets are most concerned about.

Short-haul fleets realize that despite the ELD mandate exemption, their drivers can easily exceed the short-haul limitations and require ELDs at the last moment.

To counter all those problems and to enjoy the various benefits of ELDs, many short-haul fleets are installing electronic logging devices ahead of the December 18, 2017, deadline.

If you are looking for a reliable and FMCSA-certified ELD solution, try KeepTruckin.

KeepTruckin ELDs are FMCSA-certified and start from just $20 per month with no additional charges whatsoever.

Request a free demo now, and one of our product specialists will get in touch with you. If you have any questions, give us a call at 855-434-ELOG or send us an email at support@keeptruckin.com.

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