- Real-Time OBD Standard - If implemented properly, ELD's should not be approved by the DOT/FMCSA unless they are capable of providing real-time OBD regarding the trucks' current engine status. CEL (Check-Engine Lights) are a serious problem in the industry. Not just because of the obvious (when it's on, there is a problem with the equipment), but because drivers and dispatchers are routinely unaware of what they mean and whether or not they are a serious safety concern when they occur. Most ELD's, nowadays, are directly connected to a trucks' OBD (On-Board Diagnostic) port. There is no reason that this functionality should not be standard to all devices.
- Split Sleeper Berth - In laments terms, the split sleeper birth as it currently stands allows for a driver to take an 8-hour sleeper break as opposed to a 10-hour reset. The only downside to this break, is that you don't get quite as many hours back until you take an additional 2-hours of off duty time somewhere else during your trip/shift. This is extremely helpful when there has been delays and a drivers logs need to be 'manipulated' a bit (legally, using the split break) in order to make a future pickup or delivery on-time. Providing a bit more flexibility with this break (such as allowing a 7-hour sleeper with 3-hours off duty, or even 6-hours sleeper with 4-hours off duty) will provide, I feel, enough flexibility with the logs that nearly every driver will be able to utilize their logs as needed when certain circumstances arise. All of this keeping in mind that it's 100% legal and able to be tracked.
- Transparency - This third item could probably have an entire book written on it. A huge problem while working with customers, shippers, receivers, etc. is their understanding (or lack thereof) of logging, HOS (hours of service), and FMCSA regulations. Once ELD's and other systems have the ability to be seen in a 360 degree view by all parties involved (imagine the shipper has access to view your driver's logs), the real benefits start to kick in. Usually, I'm a proponent for shippers and receivers needing to do a bit more to get on the same page with trucking companies. However, in this situation, the shippers and receivers would actually benefit substantially more than the trucking company from a customer service perspective. Gone are the days of drivers being stuck in traffic when in reality they are grabbing a coffee at Dunkin'. Having this sort of transparency keeps everyone just that much more honest.
There has been a lot of discussion as of late regarding the new ELD (Electronic Logging Device) regulations and whether or not they benefit drivers, companies, shippers, or really anyone. It is of my belief that they are 100% beneficial to everyone involved in the transportation and logistics industries for one reason: safety. With that said, they are not perfect. There is plenty of room for improvement and I'm positive that not only will the regulations change, but the ELD's will change as well. Here are 3 potential changes that would make ELD's 'perfect' (OK, maybe not perfect, but substantially better!):
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