ELD’s (Electronic Logging Device) originally known as Electronic On-Board Recorders have been around for several years. ELD’s are mandated and regulated by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.) Not only are they here to stay but they have the potential to be a lot more than a recording device; logging information may only be the beginning.

What Could ELD’s do?

ELD’s could be used to make trucking more efficient, safer, and more attractive to younger drivers. Most of this is achievable with the technology available today.

Safety – ELD’s can be used for collision avoidance, warning vehicle proximity, lane departure, and safe braking parameters. They could be coupled with cameras to help reduce blind spots. Facial or voice recognition software could be used to identify fatigued or impaired drivers.

Maintenance – By analyzing real-time information preparations may be scheduled to repair or replace possible hazards to the vehicle avoiding potential costly damage. Tires could be repaired or replaced at a service area along the route before they caused a problem, lights replaced at the next truck stop, and drive train damage avoided.

Routing –Drivers, (Want to appeal to younger tech savvy candidates? Change the position to “Load Management Specialist” and give them the technology to manage the load) could have the information available to make an informed decision on the most efficient route; not only GPS, but truck friendly routing by load limits, narrow bridges, and height restrictions as well as weather, traffic, construction, and current ETA’s.

Information – Not only logging HOS (Hours of Service) but much more, such as recording: sleeper time, off duty, non-driving work activities and more. Emergency information could be recorded and transmitted to authorities, insurance, and first responders. Inspections could be at least partially conducted during drive time minimizing forced down time.

ELD’s could be used to avoid accidents, save repairs, and promote more efficient routing all of which help the bottom line. Yes, there will be a cost, but if ELD’s helped avoid accidents, reduced repairs, and saved time wouldn’t they pay for themselves? If you want to make being a “Load Management Specialist” attractive to the next generation, who were raised on technology, then your best strategy may be to offer them state of the art technology. What do you think are the pros and cons of ELD’s?