Based on a study done by C.J. Driscoll & Associates, 60 percent of 529 fleet operators in the U.S. still monitor their drivers’ Hours of Service (HOS) using paper logs.

When trucking companies transition to ELDs at the eleventh hour, they may experience issues like:

  • Higher ELD prices near the compliance deadline
  • Not enough time to carefully evaluate different ELD options and choose the best one
  • Inadequate time to verify the compliance status of their chosen ELD
  • An ELD supply shortage
  • Lagging behind carriers who are adopting ELDs and taking advantage of valuable ELD data and insights

In spite of these issues, a good number of those surveyed said they would deploy ELDs in the fourth quarter of this year, waiting as long as they’re allowed by the law.

Clem Driscoll, the President of C.J. Driscoll & Associates, commented: “That’s a little scary in terms of supply and demand.”

ELD installation deadline

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires the use of ELDs for commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) by December 18, 2017.

While the ELD mandate has been challenged several times by trucking groups in the past, the ELD rule stood strong. It’s expected to be implemented this December 18, 2017.

Overview of the study

The findings of the study, The Big Fleet Survey and Market Overview Introduction, was presented by Driscoll during the TU-Automotive’s Connected Fleet event in Atlanta.

The study evaluated the interest that fleet operators have in asset management systems and GPS fleet management systems, among other solutions for managing mobile workers.

It also covered the main reasons why fleet operators are using Mobile Resource Management (MRM) solutions, together with the financial and operational benefits they can garner from the systems.

A total of 529 fleet operators from diverse fleet categories participated in the survey which was conducted through the phone. To ensure the participation of enough small and large fleets, including fleets from specific categories, quotas were established.

All respondents were prescreened to assure that they have primary or partial responsibility for decisions regarding the use of GPS fleet management or driver behavior systems for their fleets.”

One-fourth of the survey participants hold the title of Owner, Co-Owner, Chairman, CEO, President, COO, or General Manager.”

“Among the other titles are Fleet Manager or Director; VP, Director, or Manager of Operations; and Risk Manager or Director.”

The survey’s average length was 43 minutes, and each participant received a $50 incentive.

The participating fleets varied in size; their number ranging from five to 10,000. They also came from various major categories, such as:

  • Private delivery
  • Construction
  • Utilities
  • Service

The survey also found that 33 percent of the 529 fleet operators use AOBRDs, while six percent use a combination of “some sort of” paper logs and e-logs to track their drivers’ hours.

However, out of the 20 owner-operators who joined the survey, not one had used an ELD or even planned to implement one until the fourth quarter.

Over a third of the participants that are subject to the HOS regulations who haven’t yet deployed ELDs mentioned that they would do so in the fourth quarter of this year. 

Other findings

The Driscoll survey uncovered that over three-quarters of the participants mentioned that their drivers are using smartphones for communications. On the other hand, close to two-thirds are currently using or have previously used GPS fleet management systems, while over a third have never used the system.

Driscoll pointed out, “The survey results show that penetrations of GPS fleet management systems among large fleets is significantly greater than small fleets.”

As far as hindrances to deploying GPS systems are concerned, 23 percent said the installation of the device posed “the biggest challenge.

Twelve percent cited education and training as an obstacle.

Overall, the study revealed that the fleets’ satisfaction level with GPS fleet management systems is “very high.” Only six percent of the fleets using the system were dissatisfied.

Comparing this year’s survey findings to the company’s 2013 study, Driscoll said, “Satisfaction was very high in 2013, and it remains today. So that’s a very good sign for the industry. As long as you’ve got customers that are happy with the solutions, they’re going to keep them. They may switch the providers, but they’re not going to give up using the technology.”

Recovering investment

When it comes to recovering their initial FMS investment, about 66 percent of the participants mentioned they have already recovered their initial investment, while about a quarter mentioned they aren’t there yet.

Those unable to recoup their initial investment admitted that they hadn’t used the system long enough.

What’s next?

While a lot of carriers and truckers are planning to wait as long as possible before installing ELDs, you shouldn’t do that. Last-minute ELD adoption is only going to create new problems for you. It’s important to remember that demand and supply would play a significant role here. Your favorite ELD provider might run out of ELDs at the last moment or increase prices beyond your reach.

It would be nearly impossible to verify another ELD provider, understand their ELD solution, check their features based on your specific requirements, and install new ELDs.

It’s recommended to start your ELD implementation process right now. The compliance deadline is just two months from today.

Request a free demo and familiarize yourself with how it works.