2014 Global Trucking News – E-Logs vs. Paper Logs
E-Logs are known as an electronic log book for professional truck drivers, which can assist him in safely managing available driving and work hours. E-logs also help dispatchers schedule drivers in the safest and most efficient manner. Certain tractors are equipped with an e-log capability, enhancing the safe, dependable service expected by customers of tractor companies.
However, e-logs have been a hot topic of debate when it comes to drivers and trucking company owners. These e-logs are designed to accurately record what the truck does, 24/7.
The standard-style paper log book gives the driver opportunity to falsify the driver’s actions. But this will never happen with these on-board recorders tracking the driver’s every move.
Accurate records of the truck’s actions are useful when it comes to DOT inspections, or for a carrier’s safety audit. Oftentimes, truck inspection stations will keep records on which carriers operate with the electronic log book method, and will also surrender these trucks through the inspection station.
Paper Log Books vs. E-Logs
Pros of an E-Log
Drivers who have used e-logs either love it, or hate it. In an interview with several drivers who have been using the system for over a year, they have indicated that as drivers, they’ve never been more relaxed and well-rested in over thirty years of driving experience. They don’t have to be rushed or harassed by dispatchers who demand unreasonable driving schedules.
E-logs can also be used as a form of stress relief. Some owner-operators have noticed drastic improvements in their diesel fuel economy, due to the scrutiny of speed controls.
There is also less money to be made by a driver on this system. With a paper log book, it is almost impossible to run as hard or as long as he could.
It is also now more important than ever to work for a carrier who has the best mileage rate, and especially one who pays both waiting time and layover time.
Management of large truck fleets love the paperless log book, since they eliminate certain problems. Also, not only are these records accurate, they are legible as well.
They also do not require close scrutiny and analysis for hours of service (HOS) violations by the trucking company.
Log data is stored in a unified system, giving easy access. It also gives a real time view of data by the carrier, which they can freely intervene if necessary. Through a search, it is easy to find specific log entries. It also has faster completion for the trucker.
There is better security when it comes to sensitive and important data, which can be accessed by designated people. They can also easily keep backup files off-site, in case a computer crashes. The driver does not need to worry about keeping his log book current to be compliant.
E-Logs are also a safer and less fallible system when it is utilized correctly. It prevents speeding, falsification of log book entries, and also ensures that a driver can get proper rest periods.
Cons of an E-Log
Smaller fleets and their owner-operators do not seem to be impressed when it comes to e-logs. This is because of the high cost of the system, and the scrutiny of every single one of their actions.
However, this method can also become a dispatcher’s worst nightmare. This is because dispatchers often have the grueling task of explaining to customers why their deliveries do not arrive on time. They must also have a good working knowledge of the electronic methodology, and this will make their scheduling a lot challenging than ever before.
It is an expensive system for a carrier to implement and maintain. It is also very likely that the truck driver will make less money by using this method. Stringent patrols allow for no signs of error. Drivers are paid by the mile. This means fewer miles equals to fewer money.
E-Logs also need some work to be able to switch over more easily, when drivers cross the border, and when they change from US hours of service rules, to Canadian hours of service rules, etc.
If a DOT officer asks the driver to see his log records, and they are stored on an onboard recorder, then the driver will be stuck until his company can produce paper copies or have a printer which will produce hard copies. In other words, he will be stuck inside the inspection station for a long time, while waiting for his company to produce the data.
E-Logs are suited for fleets that want to focus on HOS compliance, which is the most commonly cited violation, when it comes to DOT roadside inspections.
E-Log Features and Functions
Manual log entry and auditing – Fleet administrators can key in duty status documents and instantly see compliance levels.
E-Logs are suitable for vehicles and drivers equipped with hardware. There is no longer a need to complete paper forms. Truck drivers can also download an app to their smartphones to record their duty status. This info is then stored in for fleet management to see the level of compliance.
Manual DVIR entry – Fleet administrators can also key-in Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR) and view any sort of gaps in maintenance areas.
Electronic DVIRs are for vehicles and drivers equipped with hardware. DVIRs can be completed by the driver as he walks around the vehicle while carrying a compatible mobile device.
Driver and Vehicle Listing – Fleet management always has a snapshot report of all drivers and vehicles in their pool.
Rule sets – Unique state and industry rule sets include US Oil Fields, Texas, or Canadian Federals.
Dashboard Alerts – Online alerts appear for all editions. They have immediate visibility to areas of compliance, safety, and operations that are in need of attention. Any alerts can be automatically emailed to key employees.
Reporting – Reporting templates with customization based on company locations, driver types, and unit types.
Learning Center – A library of info that covers system and regulatory areas. This includes webcasts, documents, and regulations.