Many industries have been slowly making the shift to electronic records in recent years to cut costs and reduce manual paperwork, and transportation companies may not be far behind. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently sent the Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Electronic Logging Devices and Hours of Service Support Documents to the Office of Management and Budget.
Proposal could mandate electronic logging
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has spent time reviewing current electronic log processes and hopes this initiative will gain ground. It aims to publish the rule in the coming months. There are four points the agency hopes will receive approval:
• Establish minimum performance requirements for electronic logging devices
• Define a requirement to replace paper logs with an electronic record
• Create requirements for hours-of-service supporting documents
• Ensure electronic logging mandates will not lead to driver harassment by motor carriers or enforcement officials
The last point is a critical one for the FMCSA - according to Land Line Magazine, the second half of the proposed rule mentioned a survey by the agency that dealt with the issue of harassment and electronic logs. Some industry organizations are concerned that the use of electronic on-board recorders (EOBR) could lead to managers pushing driver to keep driving when they are tired or in need of some time away from the wheel or disturb a driver who is taking a required rest break.
Efficiency can be gained in other ways
While electronic logs may provide transportation companies with more streamlined processes and allow them to more effectively determine where drivers are on their runs, there is another way business practices can be enhanced - route planning software. More businesses are using this tool, whether their drivers make local, regional or long haul deliveries.
By employing the latest technology that helps managers schedule runs more quickly, make the best use of available resources and ensure deliveries and pickups are made on time, these teams can focus on more critical activities that will help grow the business. Route optimization software can also help in regard to cost cutting - taking the most direct route allows drivers to use as little fuel as possible throughout their runs, guaranteeing a company can limit fuel spend wherever possible.