The idea behind FMCSA’s ELD mandate – now ELD Rule – was to make fleet industry and drivers comply with DoT’s Hours of Service regulations and make traffic safe. The mandate was rolled out in several phases and later made permanent. However, several players in the fleet industry struggled to get a good grasp on the numerous rules and regulations therein.
YourBestFleet brings you a simplified guide to understand Quick Tips on ELogs – ELD Guide, and all that it encompasses.
Let us start with a basic understanding of an ELD.
An ELD or electronic logging device is hardware that connects to the diagnostic port of the engine and starts tracking driving hours and other relevant data.
An ideal ELD derives and records the following data from the engine:
- Engine hour
- Location information
- Distance covered
- Driver, motor carrier, and vehicle information
- Engine power status
- Vehicle motion status
- Fuel consumed and mileage
- Duty logs
- Any fault associated with the engine or vehicle
- Driving behavior
The primary function of an ELD is to capture driving time and help the driver to remain in compliance with the HoS rule.
FMCSA stipulates guidelines for which ELDs in the market are acceptable, and ELD manufacturers and vendors must self-certify their products based on the same. As a consumer, the responsibility to choose the one that complies with FMCSA and also offers additional benefits to your fleet lies on you.
Do You Need An ELD?
If you are a seasoned businessperson in the transport industry, you must know about the ELD mandate and how you must use an ELD in your fleet to record the driving hours of your drivers.
Despite the size of your fleet, if your business involves crossing state lines, an ELD is a must for you.
Apart from compliance, an integrated ELD solution that combines with a fleet management solution can boost the productivity and profitability of your fleet.
You can check your eligibility for ELD in the next section.
The ELD rule states that all commercial drivers who fall under HoS records of duty status (RODS) jurisdiction have to employ ELD.
Also, the rule expands and affirms the use of only FMCSA-certified and registered ELD.
The main aim of using elogs was to prohibit any unauthorized edits in a record duty status.
The government decided to bring one such rule to stop any data forgery and prevent drivers from harassment or overworking.
A tired driver behind the wheels is similar to a grim reaper on the road, and they possessed an immeasurable danger to other citizens.
The government, along with FMCSA, decided to bring the ELD mandate to prevent accidents and make highways safe. The rule was introduced in several different phases:
#Phase 1: Awareness and Transition
#Phase 2: Option Between ELD and AOBRDs
#Phase 3: Complete Compliance
Hours of service is a rule prevailing on the roads of the USA to prevent accidents and improve highway safety. It regulates the duration a driver can work, drive and take a break.
So overall, it regulates the duty hours, mandatory break time, and duty cycles of a driver.
- 11-hour driving rule
- 14-hour on-duty shift rule
- 70-hour in 8-day rule
- 8-hour, 30-minute break rule
- 10-hour break
- 34-hour restart
To know more about HoS and their work hours, check our detailed guide on Hours of Service rules.
Types of ELDs- Which One Is The Best?
You can find two basic types of ELDs in the market.
- Dedicated Units
- Bring Your Own Device
Dedicated units are older forms of elogs, mainly consisting of EOBRs and AOBRDs. It comes in a single device package, and you have to connect it to the ECM using a cable and a plug.
The device uses GPS functionality and a cellular network to deliver ELD functions. The data are stored using a combination of cloud storage, back-office servers, and the device.
Bring your own device, or BYOD is the most popular choice among fleet owners and managers. It allows the drivers to use their own device, such as smartphone or tablet, to log in to their duty status and comply with the HoS rule.
A BYOD configured ELD connects to the ECM through the diagnostic port. The dongle connects the device of the driver using Bluetooth to transmit data.
Which One Is The Best?
You can choose either of them according to your needs and requirements. But if you want a flexible and easy solution, you can rely on BYOD.
How Does ELD Work?
You have to plug the device into the vehicle’s onboard diagnostics port. It will then start pulling the data from the engine.
Additionally, modern ELDs have built-in GPS trackers. And they can provide real-time location updates.
After collecting the data, most ELDs use cellular service or Bluetooth to transmit data to the mobile application.
How To Transfer ELD Data To the DoT For Roadside Inspection?
DoT uses roadside inspection to enforce the HoS regulations. An MCSAP (Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program) inspector can ask your driver to pull over and instruct you to share the past seven data for review.
Here are two ways to transfer the data for the roadside inspection:
- Telematics via web service or emails
- Local via USB and Bluetooth
If you have a telematics transfer type ELD, it must transfer data to the inspector via wireless web service or email.
Otherwise, if you have a local transfer type ELD, it must transfer the data via USB or Bluetooth.
If the driver fails to share the data, they can either display or submit a printout from the ELD.
How To Install An ELD On Your Truck?
You can install an ELD system on your truck in a few minutes.
- First of all, you have to look at the diagnostic port in your truck. It will be either a 6-pin or 9-pin connection.
It can either be:
- Under the dash
- Under the steering wheel on the left or right
- Above the footrest
- In the fuse box
- Near the hand brake or clutch pedal handbrake
- If you own light on medium-duty vehicles, you have to look for an OBDII port.
- You have to plug the device using the cable into the diagnostic port.
- Press it firmly and twist it to lock it in its place.
- Then you have to install the integrated mobile application on your smartphone or tablet.
- Then you will have to sign up for an account.
- The rest of the process depends on the device you choose.
- For example, if you have a Matrack ELD device, you have to connect the device via Bluetooth by choosing the name of your vehicle in the provided list.
- The green Bluetooth indicator on the top right corner of the device means that the ELD is ready to use.
- Now, the ELD will start calculating the drive automatically.
- As soon as you take a break or log out for the day, you can change the status of the application.
How To Edit ELogs?
FMCSA allows the drivers and the fleet managers to make limited edits to the e log data to correct any mistakes or fill the gap.
But you have to remember that you cannot edit the driving time once it is recorded to a vehicle gateway record.
Additionally, you cannot convert a non-driving event into driving or vice versa for safety reasons.
How To Choose The Best ELD For Your Fleet?
You have to look for an ELD that complies with the FMCSA and DoT rules. It is not an optional factor but a compulsory thing.
You have to confirm whether the real e log is FMCSA approved or not. You can even cross-check with the list of registered vendors provided by the authority.
Price and Subscription
You cannot burn a hole in your pocket to buy an ELD. There are several brands in the market that provide budget-friendly ELD solutions to you.
But don’t let the cost factor influence your decision. You should consider the features and functionality too. For example, you have to ensure that the device is durable, universal, and easy to use or not.
If you find a cheap ELD that does not offer these features, you should look for other options.
Additionally, also look for hidden charges that come with the device, for example, subscription charges.
Hence you have to be careful before you come up with any decision.
You also have to ensure that a particular ELD provides location information too.
Why? If you are a fleet manager, you know the importance of determining the real-time location of your vehicles. It directly affects the whole process of the organization. But you cannot spend another fortune to buy a separate GPS tracker.
So always ensure that the ELD has an in-built GPS tracker.
Many modern ELD solutions can help you to generate automated IFTA reports. It can help you to save both time and effort.
No matter which ELD solution you choose, you will encounter problems once in a while. If the company does not provide a humble customer support team, you and your employees will be left to suffer.
So you also have to ensure that the solution provides exceptional after-sale customer service.
We hope that this Quick Tips on Using ELogs guide will be of help when you choose the ELD you need for your business and know how to use it.
Matrack ELD- One Of The Best Solution For Your Fleet
Do you want to cut the chaos of finding an ideal GPS solution? If yes, then here is a perfect cost-effective yet powerful solution- Matrack ELD.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why are ELogs important?
A: ELogs are important for several reasons. They help ensure compliance with federal regulations, which can help reduce the risk of accidents and penalties for noncompliance. Additionally, ELogs can help improve safety by ensuring that drivers are taking adequate rest breaks and are not driving while fatigued.
2. How do ELogs work?
A: ELogs work by using a device, such as a tablet or a smartphone, to record a driver’s hours of service. The device is connected to the vehicle’s engine and records data such as the vehicle’s speed, location, and engine hours. This data is then used to calculate the driver’s HOS and ensure compliance with federal regulations.
3. What are some tips for using ELogs effectively?
A: Some tips for using ELogs effectively include understanding the federal regulations and how they apply to your operation, choosing a reliable ELog provider, training drivers on how to use the system, and regularly reviewing ELog data to identify any potential issues.
4. What are some common challenges associated with using ELogs?
A: Some common challenges associated with using ELogs include driver resistance to change, technical issues with the ELog system, and difficulty managing the large amount of data that is generated by the system. However, these challenges can typically be overcome with proper planning and training.
5. How can ELogs benefit a fleet?
A: ELogs can benefit a fleet in several ways, including improving compliance with federal regulations, reducing the risk of accidents and penalties, improving safety by ensuring that drivers are taking adequate rest breaks, and providing valuable data for fleet management and optimization. Additionally, ELogs can help improve driver retention by ensuring that drivers are not overworked and are able to maintain a healthy work-life balance
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.