The introduction of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) has been a paradigm shift from the traditional ways of monitoring trucking activities & has transformed the fleet business in a big way. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates that ELDs must be registered with FMCSA, with a manufacturer certification, and must meet certain technical specifications. The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rules are required to be used by commercial fleet drivers, who are required to prepare Hours of Service (HOS) & Records of Duty Status (RODS). Additionally, the ELDs gather information about engine activity, driver rest & shift timings requirements.
Here in this article, we will discuss ELD buying guide. So go through them and stay with us till the end.
Following are the functions performed by ELDs
- Recording HOS data correctly and efficiently: Driving beyond the HOS limits set by the FMCSA can impact your Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) score resulting in fines for both carriers and drivers.
- Calculating engine hours and the number of miles driven.
- Storing user, vehicle & carrier identification data.
- Vehicle location tracking.
- Analyzing fuel waste: The data from the ELDs cloud plug into fuel waste analysis tools and point out fuel wastage.
- Trip sharing: Enables users to share location details with third parties. It assists you in drawing in additional clients and utilizing your presence in areas where trucking needs might be present.
- Boost driving efficiency: Helps monitor driver behavior like idling time, harsh braking, and reckless driving. ELD scorecards encourage and improve performance.
- Engine diagnostics in real-time: This ELD function helps identify engine issues and prevent them from getting worse
- Simple user interface: ELD logging devices have a simple comprehendible user interface for driver convenience. The ease of navigation helps in transferring data seamlessly to enforcement officers.
How to Choose the Correct ELD Device?
In the fiercely competitive industry, it is challenging to single out one ELD device because there are various models with features designed to satisfy different needs. A good ELD device helps keep your fleet running smoothly and compliant with regulatory requirements. Additionally, it will help minimize insurance costs, aid vehicle maintenance, and reduce overtime.
The following ELD buying guide will help you choose the correct ELD device.
The ELD device must be FMCSA-approved
FMCSA has ELD rules and registers for compliance. Manufacturers of ELD must self-certify that they comply with the technical standards of FMCSA. The FMCSA website has a list of the established guidelines that include the following:
- Account types: An ELD should have an exclusive account configured to it. It must be able to distinguish between accounts for drivers and support staff. Mapping each driver account with the driver’s current license number for a unique generation.
- Power On: The ELD should be turned on within 1 minute after the engine starts. During this time, it should power on and be fully functional. It should also continue to work as long as the vehicle is in motion or has power. Additionally, it must automatically detect ECM data such as motion status, engine power, CMV VIN, and CMV position. It should sound or display a warning if the driver doesn’t log in.
- Recording Data: Data recording is an ELD’s primary function. It must build a data file for output and maintain an accurate electronic record of duty status and supporting events. It must also keep this record for a while. Additionally, it must automatically capture all driving and on-duty, not-driving data under an anonymous driver profile if the driver doesn’t log in.
- Time & Date: ELD automatically captures and records date and time information. Drivers, carriers, or other external inputs should not affect it. Tracking date and time is a must for the valid UTC time reference at the driver’s home terminal.
- Location Information: The ELD should determine the geographic information for the CMV. It must act in this way autonomously, without outside assistance. It’s important to understand that geolocation refers to latitude and longitude.
We have curated a list of the 20 best ELD devices in 2024. Read here and find out the best possible match for you.
Make sure you choose a reputed and established manufacturer rather than a fly-by-night one. Select a fundamentally strong company with solid foundations. These businesses have more experience working with truckers and have developed solutions to suit their needs. However, this does not undermine relatively new companies, as they may have something different to offer. The ELD manufacturer should have a robust network and good customer service.
Factor in the following things before finalizing any service provider.
- The number of years in business.
- Company structure.
- Total Customers served.
- Customer feedback.
- Worldwide ranking.
- Security policy.
The ELD solution from Matrack has important ELD compliance features like an audit trail and the ability to run timers to track employee working hours and fuel tax tracking capabilities. It is a good option if you need low-cost ELD compliance without fancy features.
Consider a demonstration of all the features and tools
Before finalizing any ELD brand, ensure you are well acquainted with all the features. You need to know whether the ELD has the requisite compliance reporting requirements. Numerous features can save costs, reduce administrative work for management, and increase profitability. Following is the list of mandatory features required to be present in ELDs.
- Log auditing
- GPS tracking
- Auto calculation of IFTA
- Alerts and notifications
- Vehicle Diagnosis
- Idle time calculation
- Driver reviews
Integration of Apps
Another crucial aspect to be considered when purchasing an ELD device for your truck or any other commercial vehicle is integration. Applications for dispatching and fuel estimation are widely accessible. Real-time visibility is necessary for trucking businesses to track the position and condition of their cargo at all times. Installing telematics and GPS equipment, accessible via an app, in the truck transporting the merchandise has made this possible. A good gadget can provide integration with the majority of similar applications.
The interface is an important feature to be considered when purchasing an ELD. Factoring user experience is another aspect to be considered when designing any digital system. The same is true for ELD devices. The trucking business is new to design and interfaces, but FMCSA holds this in its proposal.
A vital component is the user experience because it determines how beneficial the technology is. Due to their busy driving schedules, drivers and fleet managers do not have much time while on the go. Employee performance suffers if they have unpleasant experiences while trying to identify key features immediately. An unfavorable user experience can cost the management or the organization dearly.
Technical and logistical assistance is invaluable in any business or service. Any service that wants to attract more customers must have a knowledgeable, responsive, and effective technical support team.
The overloaded drivers are always running against time to achieve their targets. Because they are still relatively new to the trucking profession, it is difficult for them in these situations to educate themselves on electronic logging equipment. Fast support and turnaround are inevitable due to the lack of awareness between users and the businesses using them.
Before finalizing the ELD vendor, you should inquire with the company regarding technical support. Avoid making purchases from the firm if it does not meet your requirements and immediately switch to another.
ELD & more features
It is also important to consider choosing an ELD solution supplier that provides additional services other than HOS recordkeeping. While some vendors offer minimum services necessary, such as tracking miles and hours, others can manage to give value-added systems. Even though not required for ELD compliance, these features can aid the fleet’s operational efficiency and provide fleet personnel with additional information on the cars and driver behavior that can help maintain the fleet secure and compliant.
Some of these features include:
- Dashboards that focus on idle time, driver behavior, and speed alerts.
- Back-office management systems to improve both operational and administrative efficiency.
- Management of systems for managing processes, changes, and workflows.
- Complementary capabilities (such as AVL, dispatching, EDVIRs, etc.)
- Specialized knowledge, a readiness to adapt, and the ability to meet the needs of drivers in many different industries.
Cost of the ELD
The vital part of any decision-making is the price point of the product. There are many ELD manufacturers & the cost of an ELD device can range anywhere from $250 to $750 a year per truck. The average annual ELD cost per truck is around $495. The base cost of an ELD device is estimated at $40 per vehicle per month. Adding more safety features like lane deviation, front, and rear-facing cameras, and yaw and pitch monitoring results in a price increase.
Some advantages of using ELDs
- Monitoring the truck’s idle durations or speeding incidents can boost fuel efficiency by up to 25%.
- By adopting E-logs, drivers can reduce crash rates overall by 12% and preventable crashes by 5%.
- ELD systems can increase vehicle utilization to 13% and cut vehicle downtimes to 15%.
- ELDs provide trucking businesses with a global cloud-based connection that synchronizes a truck’s onboard system with the trucking business.
Don’t choose any ELD provider at random. To be sure the ELD is the perfect fit for your fleet, consider the experience and reputation of the vendor. Choosing a trustworthy brand ensures that your business will be supported as it expands or as your demands change over time. Many misleading brands in the market may promise a lot but fall short on delivery. Making the appropriate partner choice requires caution as it will go a long way in establishing your fleet and building your brand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I ensure that an ELD device is compliant with FMCSA regulations?
A: Check the FMCSA’s list of registered ELDs to ensure that the device you are considering is registered and compliant with FMCSA regulations. Look for features such as automatic recording of HOS data, tamper-resistant design, and ability to transfer data to law enforcement officers during inspections.
Q: What are the costs associated with purchasing and using an ELD device?
A: Costs associated with purchasing and using an ELD device can vary, but typically include hardware costs, monthly service fees, and potential installation and training costs. Consider your budget and the long-term cost implications of different ELD devices before making a decision.
Q: What additional features should I consider when choosing an ELD device?
A: Additional features to consider when choosing an ELD device include GPS tracking, real-time data, alerts and notifications, and integrations with other software and systems.
Q: What is the importance of customer support when choosing an ELD device?
A: Customer support is important when choosing an ELD device, as you may need assistance with installation, training, and ongoing technical support. Look for providers with responsive customer support teams and comprehensive resources for training and troubleshooting.
Q: How can I ensure that my drivers are comfortable using an ELD device?
A: Involve your drivers in the selection process and provide comprehensive training and resources for using the ELD device. Consider choosing a device that is user-friendly and offers feature such as mobile apps and easy-to-use interfaces.
James Johnson is a former truck driver who now works as a writer, specializing in the trucking industry. With over 15 years of experience on the road, James has a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities faced by truck drivers and the trucking industry as a whole. His writing focuses on issues such as safety, regulation, and the latest industry trends. His work has been featured in several trucking publications and he has received recognition for his contributions to the industry. In his free time, James still enjoys being around trucks and often attends truck shows and other industry events.