Ready or not, International Roadcheck is upon us, putting ELD compliance in the spotlight.
The theme for this year is one that may make some truck drivers cringe: hours of service violations. Thirty-two percent of truck drivers were placed out of service because of hours of service violations during last year’s event, making it the No. 1 reason drivers were placed out of service.
And with fleets and drivers across the U.S. still adapting to the new ELD mandate, which went into effect on December 18, 2017, it’s still a hot topic as summer gets under way. While the “soft” enforcement period for ELD compliance ended April 1, 2018, since then Lytx RAIR® has observed a jump in hours of service violations.
“Electronic logging device violations are definitely getting more attention from law enforcement,” said RAIR Field Sales Executive Tara Lawson. “Inspectors are looking at ELDs to ensure drivers are complying, instead of just assuming that they’re complying. Stricter enforcement is leading to an uptick in violations.”
ELD Compliance Still Top of Mind for Fleets
A recent article from the Commercial Carrier Journal (CCJ) states that drivers have received 35,000 citations since January for failing to have an electronic logging device, making it the most common violation since the ELD mandate became effective. Hours of service citations are commonplace, too, as drivers sometimes have no record of duty status or a false report of duty status, drive beyond the 14-hour window, or fail to preserve the last seven days of logs.
International Roadcheck’s focus on hours of service encourages drivers to maintain a consistent, regulated work day, said Lawson. With ELD compliance being so strictly enforced, truck drivers these days may feel rushed in making their deliveries. And feeling rushed can lead to unsafe driving behaviors such as speeding, unexpected lane changes and close following.
As drivers seek to buy themselves more time to deliver a load, some also may feel tempted to take shortcuts in their electronic logs, such as failing to document fueling time. When log falsification happens, RAIR can help fleets identify it. It’s a beneficial service, considering that log falsification can subject fleets to negligence in court, Lawson said.
Hours of Service Compliance and Driver Fatigue
At the heart of ELD compliance, and specifically the hours of service debate, is the wellness of commercial drivers and those sharing the road with them.
“The bottom line is that mitigating hours of service violations helps reduce fatigued driving,” said Lytx Director of Risk and Compliance Gary Johnson. “The limits are there to keep the public roadways safe. When drivers go beyond their limit and they’re tired, it can impact their decision making and the safety of drivers on the road.”
A driver doesn’t have to be asleep at the wheel for drowsy driving to be risky, Johnson said. “When drivers are fatigued, it hinders their overall awareness and response time. That’s why you’ll often see behaviors such as lane drifting and blank stares during a drowsy driving incident, even if the driver isn’t actually nodding off.”
Throughout the year, RAIR strives to help fleets identify drivers who consistently exceed their allowed hours of service, Lawson said.
Through analytics and integration, RAIR strives to help fleets identify drivers who need help in meeting ELD compliance standards, so they can be coached and improve. “We help safety managers better identify where to spend their time and whom to coach without drowning in data,” Lawson said. “Ultimately, we’re here to help them minimize the frequency and severity of their ELD violations. And that’s what we work at every day.”