It might be risky to operate trucks or company-owned vehicles. Many small companies that run a fleet of vehicles are required to have electronic logging devices (ELD) installed in their trucks and other vehicles to establish a safe working environment for drivers.
When fleets are obliged to install ELDs in their vehicles to guarantee driving hours are accurately logged and Hours of Service (HOS) standards are properly satisfied, it’s critical to make sure your drivers remain ELD compliant. It is also necessary to comprehend what an ELD is, how it works, its advantages, and who must utilize it if your company has a fleet of vehicles.
Read on to learn more about ELD devices and their importance for small fleet owners.
What Are ELD Devices?
Electronic logging devices commonly referred to as electronic logbooks, e-logs, or driver logs, automatically record driving time to provide fleets with a dependable method of gathering Hours of Service data (HOS).
To allow drivers to complete daily logs, set their duty status, and provide electronic logs to DOT authorities conducting roadside inspections, many ELD suppliers also integrate their products with smartphones or other mobile devices.
To prevent tampering with the records, ELDs must establish a direct connection to the vehicle’s engine and monitor consumption. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) must also be notified that ELDs have been registered.
What Is the ELD Mandate?
The ELD mandate, also known as the ELD Final Rule, is a rule established by the federal government of the United States that mandates the use of ELDs by drivers of commercial motor vehicles covered by the statute.
These devices are made to capture information on how the car operates and the behavior of the driver. The driver information is mostly about HOS or hours of service. There is a cap on the number of hours commercial truckers can travel in between rest stops. A trip’s driving time, on-duty time (during which drivers are working but not driving), and rest time are all recorded in a permanent log called HOS.
The United States’ first federal regulation requiring commercial drivers to maintain these service records was issued in 1937. At first, information was recorded manually into paper log books.
The Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD) and paper logs must be replaced by automated ELD technology per the ELD regulation.
What Do ELD Devices Do?
To track HOS, the ELD establishes a connection with the commercial vehicle’s engine and logs driving time. Driving activity, kilometers traveled, engine hours, ignition status, location, and other crucial data are all automatically recorded.
In addition to creating duty status records and sending the information to the ELD’s mobile app for drivers and fleet managers to examine, the ELD also transmits engine and GPS position data to the main server of the fleet operator. To deliver reports in real-time, the gadget continuously refreshes this data.
To retrieve electronic logging data, drivers, dispatchers, and fleet managers can utilize the ELD’s mobile app on their smartphones or tablet. To generate ELD data, maps, and notifications for fleet and compliance managers, the mobile app synchronizes with fleet management software.
What Is the Importance of ELD Devices for Small Fleet Owners?
ELD technology eliminates many of the bottlenecks brought on by paper records while ensuring that the trucking industry correctly tracks HOS compliance. ELDs are a crucial component of any telematics system and provide small fleet managers, owner-operators, and drivers with several advantages. Among these advantages are:
1. Improved safety of drivers
A thorough fleet safety program is made feasible by the real-time and historical data that ELDs give small fleet managers. Additionally, ELDs can be used in conjunction with a telematics system, which links directly to a vehicle’s engine, to gather information such as vehicle speed and harsh event details. This gives fleet managers additional insight into driver behavior so they can prevent accidents by taking preventative measures like tailored driver coaching.
ELDs aid drivers in concentrating on their primary duty of driving. Drivers are freed up to concentrate on the task of traveling from point A to point B rather than manually filling out logbooks or keeping track of how long they’ve been on the road. Additionally, since ELDs accurately record drive time, drivers are responsible for the number of hours they are on the road. ELDs eliminate the possibility that a driver would extend their shift by a few hours, reducing the likelihood that sleepy driving will result in an accident.
2. Fleet compliance is simplified
An ELD for trucks retains a record of duty status (RODS) and tracks a driver’s driving time automatically. The ELD makes it considerably simpler to keep accurate records and guarantee effective communication of the data small fleet managers require for compliance reporting by keeping track of the driver’s driving time and hours-of-service (HOS) compliance.
After analyzing data spanning five years, researchers at the University of Arkansas’ Supply Chain Management Research Center concluded that the ELD mandate “significantly improved driver compliance with reporting hours of service.” Particularly small carriers and independent owner-operators profited from abandoning paper-based reporting. Pre-ELDs, the great majority of hours-of-service tickets were for “form and manner” breaches; they have all but vanished, according to TruckingInfo’s report of the U of A study.
3. Reduce maintenance cost
When an ELD is connected to a telematics device, it can quickly identify engine problems. As a consequence, small fleet managers can be alerted by ELDs anytime a maintenance issue with a vehicle is discovered so that urgent action can be performed (such as failing batteries or engine issues).
Additionally, small fleet managers will be able to create a preventative maintenance program based on engine hours or miles. Since last-minute emergency repairs often cost four times as much, this can be quite helpful.
4. Operations are streamlined
The exchange of information between drivers and fleet management can be made simpler thanks to ELD by eliminating paper in favor of digital data. Additionally, it can lessen administrative requirements, freeing both your drivers and the back office staff to focus on other crucial tasks.
Other operational aspects can be enhanced by integrating an ELD with fleet management software. For instance, small fleet managers can track the daily mileage of a vehicle in each IFTA jurisdiction and automate IFTA fuel tax reporting to increase efficiency and decrease the likelihood of human mistakes. Or, they can make reporting easier by having the ELD mandate that drivers look over unidentified trips and either claims them or signal that they aren’t traceable to them.
5. Helps to expedite inspection
Even though inspections are a vital aspect of truck driving, drivers like to get them over with as soon as possible. Truck drivers may effectively provide standardized data to safety officials upon request if an ELD is installed in their vehicles.
With a good ELD device, it is simple to display a graph grid of driving duty status and comprehensive daily log information on a screen display or to print it off.
ELD can be quite beneficial for small fleet business owners. With the above-mentioned points, one can understand how beneficial ELD devices are for businesses.
What is the cost of ELDs?
ELD prices per car can run from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The hardware of the gadget, a monthly software charge, and expert installation are all costs. Although the majority of ELDs have similar functionality, their prices and levels of support vary. To fulfill the unique demands of the fleet carrier, it is crucial to select the proper ELD supplier and GPS fleet management software.
Who can use ELDs?
Commercial motor vehicles are subject to the ELD regulation. Commercial motor vehicles, according to the FMCSA, are “any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle” satisfies one or more of the following requirements:
- It has a minimum gross vehicle weight rating of 4,536 kilograms (10,001 pounds) or a minimum gross combination weight rating of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds), whichever is larger.
- Including the driver, it is intended for or used to carry more than eight paying passengers.
- Including the driver, it is intended for or used to convey more than 15 unpaid people.
- It is employed to move hazardous materials per 49 USC 5103 in a quantity that necessitates placarding per 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C.
What is the exemption of ELD?
ELDs are not necessary for drivers who are exempt from maintaining RODS logs. A driver is not required to have an ELD in their car according to the FMCSA if they:
- Use engines from cars built before 2000 for transportation.
- Use RODS no longer than eight days in 30 days.
- Qualify for the short-haul exceptions and are exempt from maintaining RODS.
- Transport insects or livestock.
- Are drivers who drive away after towing a package while towing another vehicle?