More Than a Mandate: Safety Drives Savings
As we’ve mentioned before on our site, the trucking industry is going through a number of profound changes. From a looming insurance crisis to a tightly-contested technology arms-race, service providers and operators are having to rethink the term “business as usual”.
Tracking every single change to the industry and compiling it into one neatly trimmed article would surely be a monumental task. Instead, it’s far more important to understand that almost all of these changes are driven by one specific motive: achieving safer, more reliable standards of conduct across the transportation industry.
Unfortunately, many in the industry have viewed the push for safer standards as a roadblock towards securing maximum profitability and operational excellence. Hindsight has proven this view wrong.
Nowhere is this more apparent than with the ELD mandate, arguably the largest change to the industry in recent years.
The ABC’s of ELD
For those unfamiliar, an electronic logging device (ELD) is a device that is attached to a vehicle to track and monitor important driving stats.
While ELDs track a number of data points, they are primarily responsible for tracking a driver’s ‘Record of Duty Status’ (RODS) and ‘Hours of Service’ (HOS). Typically speaking, a RODS log is comprised of all of the information a roadside inspection officer would need to audit a shipment, with an HOS log being a smaller part of that report. Traditionally this information was tracked on paper, which presented issues with dishonest reporting.
The idea of an ELD mandate was first introduced in 2012 when the United States Congress enacted the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” bill (commonly referred to as MAP-21). While the act primarily focused on criteria for highway and transportation funding, it also included a provision that required the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to develop an ELD mandate to help facilitate more reliable HOS recording.
As of December 16, 2019, all carriers and drivers subject to the ELD mandate must operate in accordance with full ELD compliance. Any driver or carrier caught operating a truck without an appropriate ELD solution is subject to hefty fines and other legal repercussions.
Cheaper Isn’t Always Better
When the ELD mandate was first announced, many carriers and drivers were already rolling their eyes—especially those operating smaller fleets. To many service providers, the mandate meant restrictions on the maximum amount of drivable hours which meant losses in productivity and profit.
While many carriers were rate shopping for the cheapest ELD alternatives, Dupré recognized the inherent value of equipping our drivers with carefully-selected, sophisticated technology solutions.
During a recent webinar, Dupré Logistics CIO Bob Verret spoke about the decision to adopt more sophisticated technology solutions than what was deemed necessary by the mandate, “Components should always improve the drivers’ ability to operate their vehicle. If they don’t you shouldn’t consider them.”
By equipping our drivers with a number of tools that facilitated their operations while also providing more accurate reporting, we have seen vast improvements in both safety conduct and performance.
As a result, this has provided two major benefits for our company: 1, better overall Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores compared to industry standards; and 2, markedly reduced fuel usage. All of this has culminated in notably lower operational costs for our company and clients—providing us a clear advantage over competitors who opted for cheaper safety investments.
Setting Safety as the Standard
Despite the numerous exciting changes being observed in the industry, there is still one certainty: safety should be the top priority for every service provider.
Data has proven that ELD compliance works, and is estimated to have resulted in avoiding thousands of crashes, fewer injuries and more saved lives. Furthermore, establishing safer standards of conduct has proven to be the most effective way to mitigate rising operational costs. Whether or not service providers choose to support the legislative tides, the numbers have spoken.