All That's Trucking

5 Myths About ELDs

March 10, 2017

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Photo courtesy J.J. Keller
Photo courtesy J.J. Keller

Many fleets, especially smaller ones, have resisted implementing electronic logs to monitor driver hours of service. Some appear to plan to wait until the last possible moment before this year's Dec. 17 federal deadline for the mandated industry conversion to electronic logging devices.

While researching the March cover story on what fleets need to know before that ELD deadline, I asked Tom Bray, who works for safety supplier and advisor J.J. Keller & Associates, what common myths and misconceptions fleets have about ELDs and electronic logs in general.

Granted, J.J. Keller does happen to offer an ELD for sale, so you might make the argument that Bray is biased. But Tom's no sales guy. He's a senior editor who's been with the company since 2005. A sought-after speaker, with an extensive background that includes years of experience in DOT compliance, driver training, CDL testing and more, Bray is a source I've found over the years to be quite knowledgeable about the real-world workings of fleet safety and compliance. So I thought I'd share his top ELD "myths":

1. "ELDs cost thousands and thousands of dollars, require hours upon hours to install, and require extensive computer skills."

In fact, there are systems available now that are reasonably priced and straightforward to install and use.

2. "Switching to an electronic log will ruin my company."

The only way this is true is if you are currently over-dispatching your drivers and you are relying on the additional income to remain viable, Bray says. Yes, ELDs will require companies to make some changes in scheduling, work more closely with customers on scheduling, shuttling drivers that have hours available to finish trips for drivers that don't have hours, relaying loads that have a tight timeline, reworking schedules, etc. – to operate compliantly.

3. "I’ll lose all my drivers."

If the change is managed correctly, fleets normally do not lose many drivers, if any. The ones that are lost are the "high-risk" drivers, who were not going to operate compliantly whether you were using paper logs or electronic logs. And at many fleets, wiithin a month or so, drivers who are using electronic logs will complain if they have to get into a vehicle without e-logs and go back to paper.

"Installing electronic logs does not mean that you can lay off half of your safety department."

4. "No one will have to look at the electronic logs — the system checks and tracks everything."

While it is true that a good system will do an automatic audit on the incoming records and point out all violations, you will still need people to review the violations, decide if there was an exception the driver was using that created a "false" violation, and counsel and correct drivers that are receiving violations.

5. "Drivers cannot cheat when using an electronic log."

In fact, Bray says there are a lot of ways drivers can cheat on electronic logs, such as not logging in when required, logging out early, driving below the speed threshold to save driving time or delay the system switching to driving, using another driver's credentials, wrongly switching on-duty time to off-duty during an edit, and logging on-duty time as off-duty time, to just name a few.

“All of these are visible in the back office, if someone is looking. In other words, installing electronic logs does not mean that you can lay off half of your safety department. They will still be needed; it is just that their jobs will change.”


  1. 1. Ronald Curtis [ March 13, 2017 @ 10:49AM ]

    What a croc. There has yet to be any credible evidence proving ELD's will do anything more that add additional regulation and monitoring to an already over regulated industry.
    The initial DOT regulations implemented in 1933 worked perfectly fine until 2005, from 2005 until todat it's been nothing short of a complete mess.
    Intern Doctors are allowed to work over 24 consecutive hours with zero regulation and somehow this is "safer" than a driver driving 11 or less hours without a chaperone.
    Companies will loose drivers regardless of how you choose to categorize them, companies will be put out of business due to the cost much like many have been due to the worthless emission engines.

  2. 2. Karl [ March 13, 2017 @ 10:50AM ]

    I would like to know the last time Tom Bray drove. Not move a truck or for a couple of hours but actually DROVE. When did he have to deal with being in the middle of rush hour or struggle to find parking. All these experts that feel that if it looks good on paper its good in the real world. Racing a clock is bad news any way you look at it. Ive talked to many good drivers that went to E logs and they tell me they catch themselves doing things they normal wouldnt do. Not slowing down when it would be better. Driving when they are getting sleepy because they have hours left etc.

    Think about this.
    Attorney General is an Attorney
    Surgeon General is a Dr
    Head of DOT/FMSCA never drove a truck. Hmm wonder why it gets worse for the guy doing the work.
    Tired Driver? Yeah but If I stop now I wont make it because of 14 hour rule so Ill keep pushing. I hope when tragedy strikes its these so called experts that lose a loved one.

  3. 3. Bill [ March 15, 2017 @ 04:37AM ]

    Anybody that will get out on the highway and look at these drivers that are using the e logs and tell me they're not driving faster to beat that machine is not being honest I've been out here for 41 years companies that always were in the right lane driving slow are now passing me at unbelievable speeds you tell me which is safer

  4. 4. S Phillips [ March 16, 2017 @ 11:54AM ]

    Wow! Finally someone is telling the truth about eld's. I'm wondering how much trucking accidents have gone down since all these carriers have gone to eld's. Probably very little. I've had a few drivers tell me that drove for one of the biggest carriers out here that they have been woke up by dispatchers telling them they need to wake up and go regardless of them being tired but the computer says it's time to drive. This industry has gone down in the 20 plus years I've been it. I could not make it as an owner operator with eld's because of the scheduling that these big department stores require you to meet. I'm out of the game. Can't wait till someone wakes up.

  5. 5. Peter McManus [ March 16, 2017 @ 01:35PM ]

    The REAL issue are the HOS regulations that really do create many unsafe driving situations. ELD's just force everyone to run legal. Our energy may be better spent opposing the current HOS rules and the timing just may be right given the current Administration.

  6. 6. Jim Karsten [ March 17, 2017 @ 09:12AM ]

    ELD's make sure the truck gets stopped at the proper time for 10 hours . The driver is still resposible to get the proper rest in that time . Just like paper logs , and adjusting them , the driver needs to be resposible for proper rest . It's still all about responsibility ! Just cuz the truck gets stopped does not mean the driver is resting ! Watch 2 hour movie , ball game , etc . When you all get home from work how long do you take before you go to bed . This is a real world out here ! We have lives ! Just like any other job , if you are not responsible for what you are doing it has consequences .

  7. 7. lee lenard [ March 18, 2017 @ 06:23PM ]

    McManus...very correct...ELD do force using drivers to drive much more unsafe than paper is the few minutes of sensible fudge time that paper logs allow vs the ELD. For the driver always working 12 hours or less every 24, they are fine and beneficial. For the 14 hour driver runs they are disaster and at a great risk for public, driver and especially driver health. NO contributing consideration to driver resting at NEEDED TIME or using rest room at NEEDED TIME, or eating at NEEDED TIME vs trying to prolong these calls of nature to fit a computer program within a fixed time at a location where these functions could be performed never had any consideration by FMSA or congress. They sit in plush offices with all facilities available all the time.....but they tell us to manage to their dictate !

  8. 8. John Smith [ March 27, 2017 @ 08:50AM ]

    The DOT sister looking out for my safety but they refused to pull a permit on this company

  9. 9. Ron Welsh [ December 20, 2017 @ 05:44PM ]

    This eld mandate is not going to do anything for safety if anyone wants to improve safety on the highway a great place to start would be with driver training in cars and trucks. This continues clock forces you to drive that is added stress . It makes no sense


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Author Bio

Deborah Lockridge

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All That's Trucking blog is just that – the editor's take on anything and everything related to trucking, with the help of guest posts from other HDT editors. Author Deborah Lockridge's career as an award-winning trucking journalist started in 1990.


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