Pros and Cons of the ELD Mandate


Pros and Cons of ELD Mandate width=

By now you’ve heard of the FMCSA’s “ELD Mandate,” and Transport Canada’s plan to follow suit (if not, check out our previous article on the subject). Implementing ELDs and moving away from paper logbooks can seem like a daunting task, and we’ve heard many concerns about the ELD mandate itself. However, there are more positives that can come from the mandate.


First and foremost is the cost, both direct and indirect. Directly, the cost of implementation is of concern especially for small businesses and owner/operators. How much will the ELD units cost? Is there a periodical service fee? Indirectly, drivers worry they won’t be unable to make as much money from working unreported overtime hours. Then there is the issue of safety and safety infraction related fines, although the FMSCA states that the implementation of mandatory ELD’s will reduce collisions and save lives, many drivers are arguing the contrary. Citing that adhering to such strict driving cycles forces drivers to drive tired, instead of letting them choose when to drive and when to rest.

Direct Costs

The FMCSA (and Transport Canada by extension) understand that every dollar counts, especially for small businesses. Keeping this in mind, they are allowing Smartphone’s and Tablets to be used as part of the ELD system, as long as they meet the specified requirements and that there is a direct ELD connection to the truck’s engine. This has allowed ELD manufacturers to develop their products to be compatible with most Smartphone’s and Tablets, thus reducing costs for the drivers. The price of ELD hardware varies, but most providers offer low cost or with subsidized options.

Indirect Costs

Currently, drivers are paid on mileage traveled. With paper logbooks, time spent loading/unloading, in traffic jams, or during rest periods is either not recorded accurately or considered at all. To make up for this, many drivers cheat their log books and go over allotted drive times. According to the implementation of Mandatory ELDs and the strict regulation of drive time will have a cascading effect on shippers and trucking companies. Forcing them to re-evaluate mileage rates, meaning drivers will make the same amount while working fewer hours over time.


The FMCSA states that the implementation of ELD’s will annually prevent:

  • 1,844 collisions
  • 562 injuries
  • 26 deaths

These predictions are receiving understandable scrutiny. However, the U.K. government implemented mandatory “tachographs” in 2006, devices that perform similarly to North American ELDs and since that time, RAC Business has gathered some interesting statistics:

  • 58% of companies saw a reduction in speeding incidents and fines
  • 52% of companies claimed a reduction in accidents

These are impressive statistics and the savings on fines and accident-related costs more than equal out the cost of ELD implementation.

ACCURATE TRACKING MEANS SAVING MONEY points to some benefits often lacking consideration in the discussion of mandatory ELD’s.

Normally when checking-in to load/unload, a driver will notch down 15 minutes of time in their paper logbook, but what if the task only takes 10 minutes? With ELDs time is recorded with extreme precision, so drivers aren’t wasting any precious minutes in their logs. It might not seem like much, but those minutes add up to a significant increase in driving time over the course of weeks or months.

Being able to accurately track speed, distance, and route means drivers can cut down on costs and save time by not having to fill out paper logs or accepting loads that are unmanageable with remaining drive-hours. In the U.K:

  • 68% noticed saving money on fuel
  • 55% saw a reduction in wear and tear
  • 48% saw a reduction in downtime

Then there comes the cost of fines. According to the CVSA roughly 4,000,000 vehicle inspections are performed each year across North America with drivers racking up nearly a quarter of a billion dollars worth of HOS fines. With ELDs and accurate tracking, drivers can ensure HOS compliance, reduce the number of fines and keep more money in their pockets.


If you’re concerned about the ELD Mandate, learn how we can help you prepare (Contact Us) or get a Custom Quote. Our sales and service teams are prepared to find the optimal solution for your fleet needs.