As the implementation deadline approaches, Capitol Bus Lines offers advice
By Mary Young, Capitol Bus Lines Inc.
Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) have been around for a while now, but by Dec. 18, 2017, all commercial motor carriers engaged in interstate commerce are required to use them for recording hours of service (HOS). I first learned about this at an ABA meeting several years ago, and we at Capitol Bus Lines immediately started looking at our options.
In 2014, we installed ELDs on our motorcoaches. The process has been a learning curve for our charter department, drivers and tour staff, but overall it has been a successful transition!
Of course, we were cautious at first. We even had our drivers continue to do paper logs in addition to using the ELDs, thinking the drivers would need to continue to do both for at least three months until we all learned the system. But after only one month, we decided this was the best thing since sliced bread and stopped using paper logs and Daily Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs)! Now, our drivers complain if we have an ELD that needs to be repaired and they have to do a paper log for a trip or two in the interim.
Another positive benefit of using ELDs is that they have helped our drivers stay legal. There are customers who want the driver to add an additional place or event that was not on their original itinerary. With an ELD, the driver can show the group leader how much time he has left to drive, alleviating an HOS issue. Our drivers love it because they are no longer viewed as uncooperative or unwilling; the ELD says, “not today” for them.
Converting to ELDs, however, is not without its challenges. For instance, since ELDs record the hours that the bus is in motion, the driving time planned for the charter or tour must be accurate. There is more traffic on the roads these days, and heavy traffic or delays due to construction or an accident will affect the driver’s hours. Finding an FMCSA-approved ELD model and educating the customer about the importance of staying on schedule are also concerns, but the FMCSA website addresses many of these issues.
If you have any questions about the ELD rule implementation, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Young and her husband, Buddy, are the owners of Capitol Bus Lines Inc. in West Columbia, S.C. Young is past chairman of the Women in Buses Council and was awarded the first ABA Women in Buses Award in 2014. For more information, visit www.capitol-tours.com.