Before adopting electronic logs in 2010, Kinard Trucking and Logistics, a 175-truck fleet in York, Pa., was seeing a 25% rate of log violations fleetwide. The violation rate dropped to 15% within the first year and is now about 1%.

Kinard's Ken Kennedy, technology officer, and Barry Wertz, safety director, spoke Wednesday during a Qualcomm Enterprise Services online briefing for potential customers and media members. The briefing, titled "Fleet Management Made Easy: Measure Metrics That Affect Your Bottom Line," was held to review Qualcomm's current product lineup and to discuss recent regulatory issues such as a possible EOBR mandate and the CSA safety initiative.

Kinard installed Qualcomm's mid-level MCP 110 terrestrial-based mobile computing units in 2010 and has implemented a number of Qualcomm applications, including a CSA dashboard, critical event reporting, analytics manager, automated log auditing and reporting and fleet performance monitoring.

In 2010, the company began its move to 100% e-logs with Qualcomm's QHOS hours-of-service application. Safety directory Wertz explained the company started testing e-logs with 18 trucks. The results of the test prompted them to install e-logs on all of their trucks early this year.

He says among the main benefits from e-logs have been the ease of use for drivers and back office personnel and the reduction in log violations. Other benefits include a reduction of 25% in the time drivers spend during roadside inspections.

Feedback from drivers has been positive, Wertz says, with veteran drivers - those they were most concerned about adapting to e-logs - unwilling to return to paper logs. The company's hourly-paid local drivers like the electronic log because it acts as their time clock.

There were operational challenges in implementing the electronic logs, Wertz says. Before, when loads came in, dispatch would look for the driver they felt was in the best position to take the load, give that driver a call to see if he could take the load and typically the driver would say, "Yes," regardless of his HOS status. With the new system, dispatch knows exactly what each driver's status is in terms of their hours-of-service.

"Operations now must marry the right driver with the right load instead of the most convenient driver," Wertz says.

Fleets such as Kinard are making the move to electronic logs regardless of what happens with rules proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The agency's proposed EOBR mandate for certain carriers was halted when a federal judge vacated the section of the rule pertaining to technical requirements of the units. That section, 395.16 will be revised, according to Dave Kraft, QES directory of industry affairs and chairman of the American Trucking Associations' EOBR task force. And he expects FMCSA to introduce a new EOBR rule after the agency has addressed the issues raised in the court case.

Kraft also noted that the U.S. Senate introduced a truck safety bill Dec. 8 that includes an EOBR mandate. (See today's story, "Senate Commerce Committee Passes Truck Safety Bill," for the latest.) The message: While the EOBR mandate has been sidetracked for now, there will likely be some kind of new rule in the near future.

Kraft also presented an update on the CSA safety initiative, noting that EOBRs can eliminate HOS violations, one of the top violations under the system. Making use of technologies to manage CSA makes a difference, he says. "Effective compliance management yields better CSA safety measures."