Compliance. This seems to be the noteworthy buzzword that is floating around in most of the day-to-day conversations happening in the transportation industry. For the past few weeks we have been diving deeper into what we believe to be the 5 areas where ELDs can give you a positive ROI, and most of what we discuss always seems to come back to compliance. If you think about it the only reason ELDs are flying off of the shelves is because of the need to remain compliant in the wake of the upcoming ELD Mandate.
In today’s transportation industry compliance truly is king. Luckily, implementing an ELD solves almost all of the potential compliance issues that a motor carrier could face with Hours-of-Service compliance being the primary issue. We are in the age of technology, so why not embrace what it has to offer and make our lives easier; particularly in an industry that is on the go 24/7, 365 days per year.
Surviving Audits by Remaining Compliant
It is no mystery that both the DOT and DOL have increased the number of audits they complete on a yearly basis over the past few years. Some have even surmised that these government agencies are engaging in a form of “witch hunt” to ding motor carriers for anything that they can find. In fact, successfully surviving an audit from one of these agencies is a great fear for many companies. It is apparent that many established and family run companies that have existed for years are starting to feel the effects of these increased audits. One company in particular was indicted on 126 felony counts that could have resulted in 1000 years in jail and $40M in fines, only to be settled for 3 misdemeanors and and 1 felony. The company had to be rescued by a competitor.
This is only one example of numerous similar situations resulting from increased DOT and DOL audits. This is why compliance and management attitude is more important now than it ever has been before. The purpose of implementing an ELD (and the ELD Mandate for that matter) is to help companies avoid violating Hours-of-Service and other industry regulations. Implementing an ELD allows for the automatic tracking of driver work hours that are then sent into a cloud database to be stored. This advanced technological system significantly removes the likelihood that errors will occur in driver Hours-of-Service compilation and reporting. When all of the data you need is accessible at your fingertips the probability of surviving an audit from either of these agencies increases dramatically; meaning you can sleep more soundly at night knowing the risk of breaking regulations is minimal.
The Price of Increased Regulations
With increased regulations always comes increased fines with associated costs. Over the past three years the number of FMCSA regulations has increased dramatically, and many of the associated fines have more than doubled and tripled in some cases. For example, the maximum fine for egregious Hours-of-Service violations has gone up from $11,000 to $16,000 (in some cases per offense), and the maximum hazmat fine has increased from $50,000 to $75,000 according to an article published by Heavy Duty Trucking in 2015. These expanded fines do not act to help motor carriers in any scenario; they are meant to punish.
The good news is (according to the FMCSA) motor carriers are not automatically fined at the maximum amount for violations. The FMCSA takes into the consideration the “good faith effort” of the company to correct these deficiencies before determining an appropriate fine. However no matter how you look at the regulations the associated fines have increased causing the value and costs of compliance to skyrocket. That is why implementing an ELD like LoadTrek is crucial to ensuring that you meet government compliance standards and avoid the unnecessary and inflated costs of not remaining compliant.
What Can You Do?
The answer to this question is insanely simple; implement a quality ELD that will work for your company. With the ELD Mandate going into effect this upcoming December motor carriers are scrambling to find high quality ELDs that will keep them compliant moving into the new year. The FMCSA currently offers a comprehensive listing of registered ELDs that you can look into to. If you happen to select LoadTrek as your ELD provider we can assure that you will start feeling the positive effects of ELD compliance almost immediately once our hardware is installed in your fleet.
Aside from implementing an ELD you can also engage in some best practices to avoid compliance issues. Communication is always key in every organization, so it is wise to ensure that your drivers and office staff are in constant communication to reduce the amount of inefficiencies and errors that may occur. Always reaffirming the costs of compliance to your employees is another helpful tool that can paint an accurate picture of general costs versus the cost of being handed a DOT fine for breaking regulations.
The discussions surrounding compliance and how ELDs are going to inevitably play a role will not be ending anytime soon. It is very likely that the issues surrounding compliance will continue long past the compliance date of the ELD Mandate. However, in an industry where automotive and autonomous technology is expanding at a rapid pace a question still remains; is all of this worth it? We’ll let you be the judge of that.
For more information on how LoadTrek can start helping you drive efficiently check out this great video and visit www.loadtrek.net.