New survey shows carriers slow to deploy ELDs, owner-operators not switching yet

By Sandi Soendker, Land Line editor-in-chief | Monday, October 02, 2017

The TU-Automotive’s Connected Fleets USA conference in Atlanta last week featured speakers exploring brave new transportation landscapes, including the one that mandates electronic logging devices.

Clem Driscoll, a telematics analyst and founder of C.J. Driscoll and Associates, was among the speakers. He presented findings of his company’s survey, revealing that, despite the impending deadline for switching over to ELDs, many carriers have still been monitoring drivers via paper logs. The study was done in the second quarter.

Late last week, Driscoll was back in his office in California. He spoke to Land Line about the study.

Driscoll said the study surveyed 529 U.S. fleet operators. With the mandate for electronic logging devices coming up Dec. 18, 60 percent had not yet deployed ELDs; 33 percent were using AOBRDs and 6 percent were using a combination of e-logs and paper. Driscoll emphasized that the information was gathered in the second quarter and would likely be fluid.

Among the questions asked of the fleet operators was one about when they might deploy the electronic devices – third quarter, fourth quarter or not at all? A third of those surveyed said they planned to either switch to ELDs in the fourth quarter or wait as long as possible.

His company’s research indicated that large companies preferred to equip their fleets with the same make of the device.

Driscoll said most of the large fleets generally opposed “bringing your own device” or letting drivers using their own devices for a couple of reasons.

“The majority we interviewed favor a companywide solution that would be installed in the vehicle,” said Driscoll, “They wanted consistency with the drivers, who move from one truck to another.”

In addition, he said the fines were a factor in favoring the same ELD configuration.

“They know they’ll be fined if not in compliance. These companies, particularly the large fleets, really don’t want to depend on the drivers bringing their own phone. What if something happened to the phone or it was lost?”

Driscoll said a separate survey done in the second quarter asked questions of owner-operators. Of those surveyed, none had deployed ELDs yet.

Driscoll unveiled the highlights of his firm’s study, the 2017-2018 Survey of Fleet Operator Interest in MRM Systems and Services during TU-Automotive’s Connected Fleet event in Atlanta. According to Driscoll, this multi-client study sponsored by 19 companies is believed to be the largest study conducted to date on the U.S. commercial telematics market.

In a phone interview on Friday, he told Land Line he did not expect a delay of the mandate and predicted a heavy last-minute demand for the devices.

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