The ELD Mandate went into effect February 2016, exactly five years ago, but TruckingInfo reported last year that 1 in 8 trucking fleets are still not ELD-compliant. Furthermore in 2018, the FMCSA admitted that an untold number of ELD devices on the market do not meet the technical specifications for data transfer, leaving fleets to eat the costs of trying different ELD services.
Most commercial motor vehicle drivers need to comply with the ELD mandate, but how exactly do Electronic Logging Devices benefit your trucking company and drivers? In this article we’re going to explore how ELDs work and how you can implement an ELD service the right way.
What are Electronic Logging Devices?
An ELD is an electronic device that is attached to the engine of a commercial motor vehicle, and will record the vehicle’s time spent driving (Hours of Service). The device will monitor the engine and log data such as time spent running and whether the vehicle was idling or actually moving, how many miles were driven, duration of the engine’s operation, and other useful statistics.
By keeping track of this information in real-time, it helps fleets to remain in compliance with inspections, fleet management, and planning. The ELD will typically be connected to a mobile app, and fleet management software.
As the ELD needs to remain connected to the internet, numerous companies offer solutions. For example, Samsara’s ELD offers a WiFi hotspot that allows mobile devices to connect directly to the gateway over WiFi, without the need for costly cellular data plans. This means that the ELD can transmit the necessary engine status updates to the driver’s device even in areas without cellular coverage, maintaining compliance at all times.
The ELD will record the driver’s Hours of Service data, and make it available for viewing within the mobile app. The driver is unable to edit driving segments that are automatically created by the ELD, but they are able to update their hours of service log through the driver app. The driver must leave comments on their updates, such as if they forgot to change their driving status, as per the ELD mandate requirements.
What are the benefits of ELDs?
There are in fact many benefits of ELDs that would require a separate article to list, but here are some of the most useful benefits for both the company and the CMV driver.
If a driver needs to pull into a roadside inspection, the ELD will provide a much easier way for the inspecting officer to examine the hours-of-service data. This will save time during the inspection as there’s no need to go through a handwritten logbook.
Reduce fuel wastage
Even an idle running engine can consume a lot of fuel over time. With an ELD, you can save thousands of dollars each month by tracking drivers that idle excessively.
ELDs are able to monitor the vehicle’s diagnostic port, which means it will actively monitor the vehicle’s fault codes. This significantly improves vehicle maintenance planning as you’ll receive real-time alerts with detailed information.
Tracking and route management
With GPS tracking, managers will know exactly where fleet vehicles are at all times, and will also help with route planning to optimise productivity.
Reduce accidents and bad driving behaviors
If a truck driver shows bad driving habits such as speeding, braking or cornering too hard, or disregarding traffic rules, you’ll know with an ELDs data tracking. This helps you to identify bad drivers and put them in proper training, but also identify the good drivers for praising.
Finding the right ELD provider is critical for your trucking company. A big part of finding the right ELD vendor is making sure that they’re stable, reliable, and offer important features for trucking companies.
It’s wise to choose a few individuals who will lead the effort on implementing ELDs for your fleet, and training your drivers on using the accompanying app. You’ll also want to create ELD policies for your drivers, much like you would regulate standard procedures for traditional paper logging.