The U.S. trucking industry is now almost completely compliant with the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate. On December 18th, all trucks that were grandfathered and using AOBRDs will have to make the switch. However, just a little over a month away from full compliance the U.S. trucking industry is now facing the downside of relying on this technology.
On November 2nd, tens of thousands of truck drivers were faced with non-working ELD screens after their Omnitracs system went down. Omnitracs, a market leader in the ELD systems, stated that they began facing connectivity issues around 7 pm CST on Nov. 2nd.
“We understand the root cause and are now focused exclusively on returning impacted customers to full functionality,” Omnitracs said in a statement. The company said that the MCP 200, MCP 110, and MCP 50 devices were impacted, but newer models including the Omnitracs IVG, XRS, and Roadnet products were not.
As a result of the outage, truck drivers have had to revert to paper logs. The ELD mandate was intended to completely phase out paper logs, which can be altered or inaccurate.
To make matters worse, the connectivity issue has yet to be resolved. Omnitracs is still chasing to fix the glitch. “Resolving this issue is our highest priority, and our team is working around the clock until all units are again fully operational,” Omnitracs CEO Ray Greer said in a company blog post.
The company did not state how many devices were affected or when they would be working again. Greer did sympathize with those impacted. “As someone who has spent 30 years in the operational side of the transportation industry, I fully understand the impact this has on operations and the frustration this creates for drivers and their companies,” Greer said.
While reverting to paper logs is not a major issue, especially for drivers that are long used to that method, this recent issue does underscore a major downside of switching the trucking industry to be completely dependent on technology.
Connectivity issues, broken devices, and system hacks are all major concerns. According to Omnitracs own Chief Information Security Officer Sharon Reynolds, cyber threats against transportation companies have increased by 100-fold since 2015. This places the trucking industry in fifth place among all businesses at risk of cybersecurity attacks.
Embracing technology has its risks, and the transportation and logistics industry show no sign of slowing down when it comes to technological advancements. However, the industry does need to place higher importance on cybersecurity and have back up plans in place for when connectivity outages occur. This is an issue that Canada should focus on as they get ready to implement their own ELD mandate in the coming years.
At TRAFFIX, we understand the value that technology has for our industry and our clients. We also know the importance of protecting our drivers and clients from any security hacks or outages. That’s why our company has undergone a digital transformation to ensure that we can provide our employees and clients with the best and safest technological solutions in the industry.
UPDATE: As of Nov. 7th, Omintracks has reported that 99.9% of the affected devices are now working after the 4-day outage.