• Loadshift Editor

Logbooks Vs. Electonic Diaries... the good, the bad, the ugly?

"We Tell Stories with Data" - Chief Insight Officer at FreightWaves Dean Croke, and Loadshift Director Phil Callaghan meet at the FreightWaves LIVE November Conference in Chicago, IL USA to talk through ELD's and the affect they have had.

Watch above as Dean explains to us some of the positive and negative affects the mandated Electronic Logging Device system (in Australia known as the Electric Work Diary) has had on the trucking landscape of America. The ELD mandate has been in place now for 2 years for all trucks over 10,000LBS / 4.5 tonnes.

For those not aware, an ELD is a telematics device that tells you if you are compliant to regulation. Large fleets have had these devices for over 20 years, so its not necessarily a new thing. However, never before has this volume of carriers been using them with the addition of over 2 million trucks providing location and freight data in America.

ELD data provides information such as:

  • Where the trucks are

  • How fast they are travelling (and how efficiently they are getting from A to B)

  • Ability to identify market imbalances (the correlation between supply and demand; if there are too many trucks where there are too few loads this is an imbalance)


1. Visibility.

Understanding the capacity of the market means that Carriers can make data-informed decisions.

2. Fuel.

Included in visibility this is deciding how to take better routes that are more efficient. For those who have been using these devices in Australia, it has resulted in an average fuel reduction of 9.5% (2019 Australian Telematics Benchmark Report from Teletrac Navman).

Owner Benefits

  • Utilization - how efficient your trips are

  • Enables Carriers to be a lot more connected with their customers and offer better levels of customer services. You can now see where the freight is in the market (GPS location data). Customers want to know where their freight is.

There are so many more benefits to Electronic Logging Devices than just the compliance angle.


1. "Being Compliant to Unsafe Regulations Won't Make You Safer, It Will Just Make You More Compliant." - Dean Croke

Hours and Rest - Drivers need to be given a bigger window of time to do their hours enabling them to work in their rest and freight flow.

There needs to therefore be new fundamental safe regulations. They need flexibility.

2. "Accidents have got worse (as predicted). If you are compliant to regulations that make you less safe... accidents have got to go up." - Dean Croke

Paper logs are not about doing more hours, its about doing them differently. There needs to be the flexibility of the paper log embedded into the electronic log.

"Drivers who run electronic logs in this country have a 30% higher accident severity rate, than drivers that were on paper logs."

The 14 hour driving period is pressuring drivers to keep driving. Time now becomes the constraint rather than kilometers traveled.

Dean is hoping that flexibility changes will be made to the regulation over the next few months.

Response from the average American owner driver now using an ELD

There are two schools of thought.

1. Owner operators don't need ELDs - experienced trucking veterans are safe.

2. For the younger generation that have grown up with technology - ELDs give them piece of mind and removes the fear of not being compliant.

Dean suggests the following when reflecting upon Australia trucking regulation:

  • strongly urge the NTC and Polcy advocating space to build flexibility into trucking regulation.

  • sleep management not fatigue management.

"Fatigue is something you get when you don't have enough sleep. If you regulated sleep, you wouldn't have to regulate hours worked... Hours off work, doesn't mean that you are sleeping ".

In conclusion, Dean states that the benefits of ELDs outweigh their cons or limitations, as long as the regulations are flexible enough to suit the Carrier.

Sources: FreightWaves.com, Loadshift.com.au

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