- The right ELD not only brings you into compliance with the law, but it also provides powerful benefits to fleets, drivers and operators
- ELDs were designed to make your drivers’ jobs easier
- The ELD should be part of a comprehensive vehicle fleet management solution that lowers costs and improves efficiency
To be successful a fleet business needs to be properly equipped with the right tools. Today’s fleets must employ technology to operate with increased efficiency in a hyper-competitive business environment. A basic and essential part of a good fleet management strategy is your ELD.
Many commercial trucking fleets are required to be ELD-compliant. According to the FMCSA, an ELD must be used by commercial drivers who are required to prepare Records of Duty Status (RODS), unless otherwise exempted. An ELD allows for more precise HOS record-keeping, something that wasn’t always possible with handwritten logs.
What should you expect in an ELD compliance solution?
The ELD mandate requires that ELDs possess the following functions:
- Connect to a truck’s engine to record if it is in motion
- Be certified by the ELD provider that the ELD meets required technical specifications
- Provide the option to log on and select one of these non-driving duty statuses: On Duty, Sleeper Berth, or Off Duty
- Graphically display the Record of Duty Status (RODS), so that the driver can quickly view hours driven within a day
- Supply data in a standardized format so that it can be transmitted to law enforcement in several prescribed ways, including Bluetooth, wireless web services, or USB
Leading ELD providers, such as Motive, are constantly innovating new technology to make HOS requirement compliance more efficient.
What does an ELD do?
HOS regulations, put in place by the FMCSA, have existed for decades. Enforcing these regulations, however, was problematic. Records were generally kept on paper logs, which could be difficult to read or get lost.
Positive benefits such as more driver breaks, more sleep for drivers, and lower risk of safety-critical events have resulted from HOS rules and their enforcement. A good ELD allows a driver to maximize the number of miles driven while staying compliant.
An ELD eliminates paperwork and possible inaccuracies. It automatically tracks drive time, including duration and distance traveled. Furthermore, the ELD can be part of a more comprehensive vehicle fleet management software that includes driver coaching, asset tracking, IFTA reporting, and other features.
Why ELDs are necessary
Over the years, we’ve seen that manual tracking of HOS has not been an efficient solution. Prior to ELDs, a driver would have to manually track driving time to make sure they weren’t going over their HOS limits.
Today, many ELD solutions provide alerts so that drivers know when they’re approaching their HOS limit. Alerts can also be set to inform a driver that they’re close to the time for their required 30-minute break.
Benefits of ELDs
Legal: ELDs mean you and your fleet comply with the law.
Insurance: ELDs may lower insurance premiums by having a direct effect on CSA scores. This makes sense because the use of ELDs can lead to improved driver health and safety.
Administrative: The trucker’s and fleet manager’s administrative burdens are considerably lowered with ELDs, compared to paper logs. ELDs automatically track and record vehicle movement, eliminating the need for manual paperwork.
IFTA reports: An enormous benefit provided by the ELD is the simplifying of the IFTA calculation process. IFTA reports must be filed at the end of every quarter. When done manually, the process is cumbersome and subject to error. ELDs can automatically calculate the distance traveled and fuel purchased by jurisdiction, making IFTA reporting easy and accurate.
Inspection reports: With a good ELD system, you can create electronic DVIRs and get alerted of any defects.
How a vehicle fleet management strategy can help save truck drivers time and money
There are numerous ways an effective fleet management strategy can help fleets and operators save time and money, in addition to those listed above.
Fuel wastage can be considerably reduced if you utilize an ELD and a good fleet management dashboard. You can track exactly how much time each driver spends idling, and identify locations where your drivers experience the longest delays.
With a comprehensive fleet management system, you can also keep tabs on vehicle health and diagnostics. Connected to a truck’s vehicle diagnostic port, the system allows it to monitor codes. Real-time alerts and detailed reports keep managers and drivers well ahead of vehicle maintenance issues.
Another time and money saver is GPS tracking. Because fleet managers can track vehicle location, there is no need to call drivers for updates. Customers can be in the know with regard to where their load is and when it will arrive. Additionally, through location history, fleet managers and drivers can plan out cost-effective routes.
All of these benefits can help lower operating costs, resulting in higher profits for operators and fleets.
Choosing a fleet management solution
As with any purchase—do your research. Make sure your fleet management solution provider is providing the best possible value for the money. There is constant innovation taking place in the ELD industry, so look for the most advanced solution you can obtain at the time you’re shopping. Make sure the solution you’re evaluating delivers real value, as detailed above.
Make sure that your ELD provider is on the FMCSA list of self-certified ELDs. When you’re evaluating a particular ELD vendor, make sure they can deliver each of the technical specifications of the ELD mandate.
When implementing a new ELD solution, especially if you’ve never had one, choose a company you can partner with. You might have questions or need assistance. Ensure the ELD you select comes with first-rate support.
Fleet management road to success
ELDs are now mandatory for many commercial truck operations. Fortunately, this is a case in which the law is truly beneficial, as ELDs, as part of efficient fleet management solutions, are part of the road to fleet success. Just make sure you do your research and fully understand what you need in an ELD solution before making a purchase.
To learn more, check out our guide about fleet management solutions.