Trucker Tech: How E-Logs Will Make Your Life Easier
More and more carriers are making the switch from paper to paperless logs, for good reason. It makes life easier for the drivers, for the dispatchers and for the terminal managers.
Any new technology takes a little adjusting to but the E-log system we have installed in our trucks is very user-friendly.
We feel it is to our advantage to keep up with the times, as a forward-thinking, innovative transportation company.
An E-Log is a small, computerized device (very similar to the GPS you might have in your personal vehicle) that when installed in the dashboard of a truck, records when and where the truck goes, its speed, idle time, and even miles per gallon.
Our drivers use these systems every day. After their employee number is entered, the unit will even prompt the driver as to whether they have performed their pre-trip inspection or not. Once the vehicle is moving, the driver then presses a “drive” button, which enables the system to begin recording details like the time, speed, and number of miles traveled.
When the driver stops for a break, fill up with fuel, or make a delivery, they simply press a button to alert the unit. This creates the story of that driver’s run for the day, all without ever having to take pen to paper.
Each E-Log unit costs approximately $700 and can take several hours to install. In addition to the fixed cost of the unit, there is a monthly subscription fee of around $50. Our E-Log provider, PeopleNet, has excelled at troubleshooting and support services when necessary, and so far, no major system malfunctions have occurred.
Along with physical installation and implementation, we have developed a hands-on approach to training in regards to the new system to make the adoption immediately effective. However, there are also video tutorials available should re-training be necessary.
All three of our divisions: ETW, ARG and RIST Truckload use the E-Log system to great effect. It serves as an interface between the drivers, the dispatchers and the terminal managers. For example, drivers no longer have to worry about forgetting to fill out their manual logbooks. They can rest easy knowing that once they turn the ignition or shut their trucks off, the information is automatically transmitted to the terminal. Furthermore, as driving hours are automatically logged, a dispatcher can tell at a glance how close a driver is to reaching their maximum hours for the day and make decisions accordingly.
Since the driving hours are automatically recorded once a truck is moving, our drivers and dispatchers are both spot-on accurate about how many driving hours are still available to each truck driver. No more worries about exceeding their maximum. This helps to prevent our drivers from getting violations and tickets and ultimately, helps our CSA scores.
The E-Log units have some great features like recording total of the driver’s hours, driving time, on-duty time, and off-duty time. It also records the location, (city and state) where the driver is, and it automatically is aware of when they reach their destination.
If used correctly, E-Logs help our dispatch and management staff to be more efficient. And since the computerized units track MPG and idling times, this information can help us deliver superior client services and the best rates so that we can continue as the “Carrier of Choice”.
It takes time to get adjusted to any new technology, and truck drivers are no different from the general public. Some were initially opposed to the automated system. They were used to manually entering information into their logs and balked at change. But once our drivers realized how user friendly and easy the system is to learn, they’ve all come on board.
That’s what makes our company such a forward-thinking innovative transportation company – it’s the people: our drivers, dispatchers and terminal managers who recognize when we must change to suit the competitive needs of this business, and always rise to the occasion.