The ELD mandate has been in effect for more than six months now. Even though many drivers and carriers have become familiar with electronic logging devices, many carriers are still not entirely sure whether they should have a hardwired ELD or a BYOD (bring your own device) solution. A BYOD electronic logging solution has plenty of benefits for fleets of all sizes.

These are five BYOD benefits that you won’t find in a hardwired ELD system.

The benefits of BYOD

1. Flexibility and familiarity

Over 95% of truck drivers now have smartphones.

By having your drivers bring their own smartphones, you are leveraging devices that they are already familiar with. This level of familiarity and comfort may help minimize errors and simplify the onboarding process for drivers that have never used an ELD before.

Since the app is on the driver’s phone, you can also take advantage of other accompanying apps, such as document scanning and route management. Apps lead to more flexibility and cost-effectiveness, which brings us to our next point.

2. Cost efficiency

A BYOD-ELD system costs considerably less than a hardwired dash-mounted ELD solution.

The average cost of a standalone ELD may be anywhere from $165 to $832. However, BYOD ELD solutions are cheaper because you are not paying for the device. Instead, the driver is using his/her smartphone.

Additionally, you can also download the electronic logbook app and give it a try before shelling out hundreds or thousands of dollars.

For instance, drivers can download the Motive Electronic Logbook App for free from Google Play Store (Android) or Apple iTunes Store (iPhones) and try it on their smartphones. This would give them the opportunity to check out the app, review its features, and determine whether or not it has everything their fleet needs. All of this is possible without purchasing the hardware.

Additionally, most hardwired, legacy ELD providers also bind their users in long contracts that are expensive as well as restrictive. Upgrading old hardwired systems can also be costly.

Integrations and add-on applications are also usually limited in proprietary, hardwired ELD units. Mobile-based ELD solutions offer countless combinations of cost-efficient applications that drivers can use based on their preferences and requirements.

3. Easy-to-use and driver-friendly

Not all drivers are tech-savvy.

According to the American Trucking Associations, the average age of truck drivers in private fleets is 52, while the average age of LTL and TL carrier drivers is 50 and 49, respectively. This is the group most familiar with using paper logs for decades. But now they must use electronic logging devices to record their hours-of-service and duty status information.

If they have to do it through hardwired ELD units that have their own unfamiliar user-interface, it may add unnecessary friction to the process. It can lead to driver unhappiness and may also negatively affect driver retention and driver turnover rates.

4. Easy to install and uninstall

ELD solutions that do not rely on a dedicated hardwired device are easier to install and uninstall.

The ability to easily install/uninstall comes handy if you are a large carrier or have many owner-operators. Fleets with a higher ratio of owner-operators often have a high turnover rate. According to the ATA, the driver turnover rate for large truckload carriers has jumped up to 94% — which is a 20% increase from the first quarter in 2017.

When owner-operators leave, they return the ELD. However, with a hardwired, legacy ELD solution, the process to uninstall, reinstall, and set up a new driver can take a few hours. A BYOD-ELD system such as Motive is faster and only takes a few minutes to reassign to another driver.

5. Portability

You can’t take a hardwired ELD unit outside the truck.

That is no restriction when you are using a BYOD ELD solution. You can grab your smartphone and go out of the vehicle for DVIRs and take pictures. Your data is always with you.

Not all BYOD solutions are perfect

Not all BYOD ELD solutions are perfect, though. There are a few disadvantages, e.g., privacy concerns and data consumption.

For instance, a driver who comes to work with his own smartphone may not want a DOT inspector to look at information that is not related to driving. In a BYOD ELD solution, drivers would also need a good data plan to keep the ELD and the smartphone connected. Who would pay for the driver’s mobile data? Another concern is that the cost of mobile data can rise sharply if a BYOD solution consumes a lot of data every month.

At Motive, we understand these challenges. Therefore, we have designed the Motive ELD solution that uses only a small amount of data every month (250-350 MB of data p/m) and also safeguards private information on the driver’s smartphone.

When a driver hands his devices to a DOT inspector, he can view extra information on the driver’s smartphone, e.g., messages between drivers and fleet managers or driving records that are over eight days.

The DOT Inspection Mode Access Lock feature in the Motive App allows drivers to lock the app and prevent access to sensitive information when their smartphones are handed over to DOT inspectors. All information not related to driving, such as messages and documents, won’t be visible to the DOT officer.

The Motive Electronic Logbook App — which is a key component of our BYOD-based ELD solution — is the highest-rated app on Google Play Store and Apple iTunes (4.8 stars rating and 18,000+ reviews).

The Motive ELD solution is FMCSA-registered and feature-rich.

Call 844-325-9230 if you have any questions.