In-cab onboard recorders have changed drastically since their introduction in the 1980s. Technology has improved, and provider competition has emerged. The integration of mobile devices has supplanted bulky hardware, lowered the ELD price point, and opened a variety of purchasing options.
In this post, we will examine the evolution of onboard recorders and provide a few key points to keep in mind as your fleet searches for the right ELD mandate solution!
1. Long-term compliance — Why fleets favor ELDs over AOBRDs & EOBRs
Legislation regarding onboard recorders has recently changed. In the past, drivers and fleet managers had the option to choose whether they wanted paper logs or onboard recorders. With the passing of MAP-21, ELDs will soon be a requirement for all CDL drivers.
You may be thinking, “I already use an AOBRD, so I am all set”, but MAP-21 requires the use of an ELD, which is not the same as an AOBRD or EOBR. The federal specifications for ELDs will be released October 30th, 2015, which will force many AOBRD & EOBR providers to stitch together new features and patch them on top of already clunky devices. To maintain long-term federal compliance, make sure you choose an ELD, not an AOBRD/EOBR.
2. Cost savings — Pricing model changes in the ELD world
ELDs haven’t just changed aesthetically — they’ve also changed in terms of purchase options. When AOBRDs first came on the market, buyers had limited and pricey options, with upfront costs averaging upwards of $1500.
New market entrants providing ELDs have shifted from expensive hardware installation to economical software integration with mobile devices. By leveraging smartphones, the pricing structure for onboard recorders has shifted. Drivers or fleet managers now have the option to buy or lease ELDs at significantly lower costs.
Future buyers should beware of the “real” cost of their ELD, which is often hidden under tacked-on fees for installation, hardware, driver inactivity, or training. Be sure to ask about these costs, and choose an ELD vendor that is compliant with the federal mandate, wallet-friendly, and great with customer service.