Electronic logging devices or ELDs improve CSA scores. Improved CSA scores then lead to lower insurance premiums. Something as small as the ability to identify a driver’s braking habits could mean the difference between a high or low CSA score, a high or low premium, and the outcome of a lawsuit.
In every case, the information ELDs provide improves driver safety, which improves safety scores, which improves quite a few things — including insurance costs.
Reduce insurance premiums
ELDs have the potential to reduce insurance premiums in two ways:
- Currently, premiums are based largely on CSA scores. By syncing with a truck’s engine, ELDs allow carriers to monitor driver safety and identify the type of risky behavior that results in higher CSA scores.
- Secondly, electronic logging devices can provide the insurance industry additional data (when explicitly shared) to consider when determining risk models. This can reduct the impact CSA scores have on insurance premiums.
Some insurers already go beyond percentile rankings for a more holistic assessment of individual carriers’ risk. Leaders in the commercial vehicle insurance industry have suggested an interest in incorporating ELD data into this assessment to calculate the cost of insurance premium.
This is good news for fleets.
ELD data vs. CSA score
CSA scores have the potential to misrepresent a company’s risk for numerous reasons, including inconsistent enforcement and ticketing practices across the country. What’s more, bad CSA scores tend to outlive the risky behavior that caused them, so scores might not reflect the steps a company has taken to eliminate risky drivers and improve fleet safety. Up-to-the-minute ELD data, however, provides a more accurate picture of a fleet’s risk at the time insurance premiums are considered.
In a Business Insurance report published in January, key stakeholders anticipate ELD data will have an impact on insurance premiums in some way. Dave Osiecki, the Arlington, Virginia-based executive vice president and chief of national advocacy at the American Trucking Associations, said it’s “too early to know” if insurers will change its methods, but it’s a fair expectation. “From experience in this industry, when technologies ultimately result in improved safety, the insurance companies recognize that and the fleets ultimately benefit,” he said.
Steve Bojan, Milwaukee-based vice president of fleet risk services at Hub International Ltd, noted the usefulness of ELDs in providing a more thorough picture of carrier safety. “Many of the ELD/telematics vendors provide a large amount of data on driver safety performance. This goes significantly beyond hours of service. Many of the systems provide key safety metrics such as hard-braking events, rapid-acceleration events, vehicle-upset events and speed limit-violation events.”
Insurers are interested in having more information when determining rates — and it’s often in fleet’s interest to provide it. ELDs are the simplest way to do so.
ELDs improve CSA scores
Electronic logging devices improve CSA scores. CSA scores — calculated using the previous two years worth of data — contribute to the percentile rankings insurers use to determine premium costs. The sooner carriers implement ELDs, the sooner they will see their CSA scores and insurance premiums go down. Not to mention the increased profits from clients drawn to improved CSA scores.
E-Logs and ELDs may lead to lower insurance premiums
Drivers using e-logs have a significantly lower crash rate than drivers who don’t. Fewer crashes mean lower insurance premiums. But the potential for ELDs to lower insurance premiums is also linked to their ability to reduce liability when accidents do occur.
Individuals involved in a crash can claim a company was negligent and did not have proper policies or procedures in place to ensure fleets drove safely. If an HOS violation is identified, for example, a fleet may be held responsible and owe punitive damages — which often aren’t covered by a standard insurance policy.
The simple act of implementing electronic logging devices (ELDs) across your fleet, which provides extensive, up-to-the-minute data carriers can access and act on immediately, helps carriers minimize risk and prove there was no negligence if accidents do happen.
In the event of an accident where a plaintiff may attempt to claim negligence where there was none, carriers using ELDs can provide a clear record of a driver’s history — down to their braking habits — and dispute any claims of negligence in employing them. Manual logs often don’t include enough information to prove a driver involved in a crash was indeed a historically safe driver.
Lawyers representing trucking companies told Motive that ELD data has become invaluable in cases where incomplete or messy logbooks would make it impossible to prove that a crash was not a result of a preventable safety violation or negligence, and that the company was not responsible for the crash.
When companies are found negligent and/or liable for a crash, insurance premiums increase considerably. In terms of maintaining affordable insurance premiums, electronic logging devices pay for themselves many times over.
Prepare for an increase in insurance premiums
With the FMCSA considering an increase to insurance minimums for the first time since the 1980s, fleets can’t afford to let poor recordkeeping compromise CSA scores. This is especially important for smaller carriers and owner-operators whose budgets rely on affordable premiums. ELDs won’t prevent the increase from happening, but they can protect fleets from premium hikes by minimizing logging errors, risky driving, and resulting violations.
With ELDs, a safe fleet won’t pay a higher premium because drivers forgot to write something down. Logging devices put carriers in control of their CSA scores by allowing them to identify and take action against risky behavior. They also offer proof of good behavior when you need it.
Implementing ELDs to improve CSA scores now puts carriers in an even better position when insurers begin to consider ELD data when determining rates. Other from CSA points, there’s nothing to lose.