A survey conducted by transportation management and logistics provider Transplace has revealed that 38% of small carriers had no immediate plans to implement electronic logging devices ahead of the mandated deadline.

The survey included more than 400 carriers of various profiles. It found that responses to the ELD mandate and its expected impact on capacity and utilization varied heavily by fleet size.

“While created to improve safety within the transportation industry, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s ELD mandate has left shippers and carriers with a lot of questions: How will this impact driver productivity; will drivers leave the industry as a result; will smaller carriers close up and leave the industry,” said Frank McGuigan, president and chief operating officer, Transplace.

In the survey, 81% of large fleets with more than 250 trucks reported that they had already achieved full ELD implementation. The remaining 19% of large fleets were working towards implementation. This contrasts with small carriers, showing that only 33% had fully integrated ELDs into their fleets.

While all large fleets had at least begun the process of implementation, more than a third of small fleets had no immediate plans to implement ELDs.

“One carrier responded to the survey by saying, ‘I will sell out first.’”

“Implementation of ELDs has been significantly slower for carriers with smaller fleets. While some carriers are still researching the technology, others indicated that they are holding out in the hope that the mandate will be overturned in court,” said Ben Cubitt, senior vice president, consulting and engineering, Transplace. “One carrier responded to the survey by saying, ‘I will sell out first.’”

Smaller fleets were also shown to be more wary of the negative effects ELDs could have on capacity and utilization. While 56% of large fleets expected decreased utilization from ELDs, 64% of small fleets expected a negative outcome.

Fleets are already feeling the effects of ELD implementation, with 51% of all carriers surveyed indicating that they had lost drivers who did not want to operate under ELDs. While in most cases it only amounted to losing a few drivers, one carrier reported losing half of its drivers. A small fleet of 110 trucks indicated that it had lost 29 drivers after switching to ELDs.

ELDs are also impacting fleets financially, with 55% of fleets indicating costs of $100-$700 per unit and 45% of fleets spending more than $700 per unit.

On the positive side, ELDs have led to significant drops in hours of service and logging violations. Large fleets saw an 84% reduction in violations while 56% of small fleets saw a reduction. Fleets also expect some fringe benefits of running ELDs, with 33% expecting improved monitoring, 21% expecting better driver and equipment utilization and 2% expecting reduced operating costs or fuel savings.

“While much can happen between now and when the mandate takes full effect on December 16, 2017, most carriers – large and small – anticipate a noticeable impact to utilization and capacity,” said Cubitt. “The challenge will be to find the right balance of good safety practices without causing a significant disruption to the transportation industry.”

To learn more about Transplace’s ELD survey, click here.