It’s hard to believe that the ELD mandate went into effect almost a year ago. The economy and demands placed on the trucking industry have changed dramatically since last December. However, information was released regarding FMCSA compliance throughout the trucking industry and how the ELD mandate has impacted drivers and fleet owners.

FMCSA compliance is higher than expected

Since last December, hours-of-service violations have fallen from 1.19 percent to 0.61 percent. This puts FMCSA compliance at over 99 percent, which is much higher than most analysts projected for the year following the ELD mandate. That said, not all truckers and fleets have implemented ELDs. Those who opted to use automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs) were given an extension until December of 2019 to get on the same page as the rest of the industry.

A call for ELD refresher courses

While FMCSA compliance was nearly at 100 percent, successful ELD data transfers to roadside inspectors topped out around 92 percent. This percentage is expected to increase, but it also has some officials calling for ELD refresher courses. Some drivers do not understand how to use their electronic logging devices, and others don’t know what to do if the device malfunctions. In a few cases, drivers had ELDs installed but were using AOBRD software. Since there are roughly 300 approved ELDs on the market, they may function the same, deep down, but the specifics of how they are operated may be very different. Drivers need to familiarize themselves with setting up, operating, and troubleshooting electronic logging devices. Additionally, drivers must keep paper logs as a backup in case the ELD malfunctions and needs service.

Out-of-service rates have declined

This past summer, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance shared that the out-of-service rates for inspections declined to just over 21 percent. This was a tremendous improvement over the course of just one year. Going by the decreased rate alone, one could be tempted to say that the FMCSA mandate has increased compliance and enforced safer driving within the trucking industry, but one or two statistics do not give the entire picture.

Some carriers have been sharing data anonymously with research institutes, which will gather and publish the metrics to give a clearer idea of how the FMCSA mandate has impacted the trucking industry and allow professionals to see where we are headed and what hurdles need to be overcome.