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Why eLogbooks Should Be Part of Your Health & Safety Plan

Data Blocks
Data Blocks

Fatigue management laws are complex. Drivers and everyone else in the transport supply chain have an increased responsibility to stay safe on the road. For a driver, the cabin of the truck is their workplace, which is covered under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

If you are a commercial driver, you need to fill in a logbook to show a record of your work and rest activity, to ensure you’re compliant with New Zealand Transport Agency’s (NZTA) work-time rules. Traditionally, drivers have used paper logbooks, yet with an electronic logbook, drivers are able to digitally record work and rest times. A digital solution can take that data to interpret into information automatically for the driver to make real decisions in real time.

We sat with a few of our transport solutions and industry specialists. Here are some of the ins and outs of eLogbooks, and why it makes sense to go digital.

What are eLogbooks and why do companies need them?

An electronic logbook (eLogbook) is an application developed to help transport companies, and their drivers, to comply with NZTA’s work time regulations. Teletrac Navman’s eLogbook is a module available within the transport management system and driver device, and it removes the need to complete paper logbooks.

ELogbooks save time for both drivers and the office and can help improve on businesses-wide safety and compliance measures. Like all new innovations – it goes hand in hand with user scepticism and a hesitance in letting go of old habits.

Using telematics data and a sophisticated fatigue management solution, managing compliance and monitoring fatigue in real-time empowers the driver to get on with the job without worrying about their daily hours. It takes the focus away from managing hours to proactively managing fatigue.

What are the benefits of Teletrac Navman’s eLogbook?

Firstly, it gives the operator and driver assurance of H&S compliance. The system breaks down work and rest hours instantly, to help both the driver and back-office staff manage fatigue and make it easy to understand. Alerts sounded to drivers and managers prior to violations occurring – or as they occur. The solution continues to provide a real-time view of any driver’s current and past history of fatigue information.

Electronic logging significantly reduces administration time and therefore costs. The system is designed to easily assist payroll and back-office management with the administration of driver work hours. It also reduces the time spent on the driver’s end, as the driver doesn’t need to write out logs throughout the day, and key info, such as the date and location data, is automatically logged. All this is able to then be used to schedule jobs efficiently based on available hours of each driver, allowing the business to stay compliant and keep staff safe.

Lastly, transport operators can rest assured that they are complying to the full set of worktime rules as specified law, and as the solution is approved by the NZTA, and the rule set is built into the eLogbook.

Common questions and misconceptions

As with all technology, it’s important to understand more about how it is used in the real world. These are common questions from both operators and drivers and can help address questions raised in the workplace around eLogbook technology.

Is it more costly to run an electronic logbook?

When it comes to the cost of switching from paper to electronic, the return on investment is almost instant when implementing a fleet management system and an electronic logbook. As part of the same solution, digital systems improve efficiencies while also saving a lot of time for admin staff, management and the drivers by ensuring smooth and coordinated business operations.

With an electronic logbook, relevant logbook data (date, GPS location) is automatically entered into the system, reducing drivers time spent entering this. All they need to do is record the time they work and rest by tapping a button. The back-office team doesn’t have to chase drivers for actual paper logbooks, as the updates come straight through to them through the fleet management system. In the case of an audit, the information is fast to collate and provide.

Do eLogbooks allow constant surveillance of the individual drivers?

This is a common misconception and one that makes the drivers feel unnecessarily uncomfortable. An electronic logging solution and the fleet management system are designed as an ‘exception-based solution’, which means that the management team won’t be looking at the drivers every move, moreover, they keep their eye to events of non-conformance.

Are the eLogbooks sent to NZTA automatically?

No. Electronic logbooks are a record for the business. NZTA can ask to see them as part of an audit or during an investigation, just as they would as for paper logbooks. The benefit is that businesses can very easily and quickly check that all the data is logged and in order. In fact, customers choosing to proactively manage driver fatigue through electronic logbooks are looked upon favourably by clients, staff and regulators.

Does a business need new software, hardware or installed equipment to use an eLogbook?

Teletrac Navman’s fleet management solution, with associated hardware, must be installed first. Once done so, the eLogbook is accessible for the driver via the in-cabin device. There is a myriad of telematics options for the business to consider based on their needs and requirements. Once fitted and implemented successfully in the business, no further technology is required. It all fits together in Teletrac Navman’s connected fleet.

Electronic logbooks are a helpful tool to assist drivers in managing their own compliance, allowing management to work on more strategic initiatives, instead of chasing logbooks. With a myriad of features and functions beyond eLogbooks that make driver fatigue management simpler, they provide peace of mind when it comes to managing a fleet.

Telematics gives the business a window of transparency thru real-time data and analytics – you are able to reduce costs, improve efficiencies, increase productivity all while compliance becomes a breeze.

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