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  • Writer's pictureChase Gutierrez

Everything you need to know about ELDs

Updated: May 10, 2021

As time continues to move forward, technology continues to remove the need for pen and paper tasks. Electronic Logging Devices, or ELDs, are the new timecards of the road. As defined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an Electronic Logging Device is, “technology that automatically records a driver’s driving time and other aspects of the hours-of-service (HOS) records”. As of December 16, 2019, ELDs have become a mandate, rendering paper HOS sheets obsolete.

Do ELDs really improve the truck driving and fleet management experience compared to manual logs? Or are they another example of pushing technology where it was not necessarily needed?

The answer is that ELDs do in fact offer many benefits to fleet safety and fleet management overall. But first, let us understand the ELD more.

ELD Timeline

ELDs surfaced into the fleet industry in 3 phases.

  1. Awareness and Transition Phase

    1. This allowed for voluntary use of ELDs

  2. Phased-in Compliance Phase

    1. Mandatory use of ELDs with existing AOBRDs grandfathered for 2 years

  3. Full Compliance

    1. Mandatory use

ELD Users

ELD requirements apply to almost all motor vehicle users that are required to maintain records of duty status (RODS). This comes with certain exemptions that can be examined here. Some common exemptions include:

  • Vehicles made before year 2000

  • Driveaway-towaway vehicles, provided the vehicle driven is part of the shipment

  • Drivers who keep RODS no more than 8 days during any 30-day period

For more guided information on who the ELD rule applies to, visit the FMCSA website.

How does an ELD Work

ELDs come in the form of telematics devices that integrate with your engine and collect data pertaining to the hours of service (HOS), miles driven, general engine data, and general location. From there, the telematics device sends that data to a server that creates logs and sends the data to its desired destination.

These logs are very accurate and allow for easier tracking of HOS data for drivers. They also offer many more benefits to both the truck driver and the fleet manager.

Benefits for using ELD

ELDs offer a myriad of advantages that not only improve the truck driver’s experience, but also increase fleet efficiency and revenue. These advantages include:

  1. More miles on the road

    1. HOS paperwork stalls driving by a significant amount. ELDs allow drivers to save 15 minutes a day from not having to manually fill out HOS logs. Likewise, ELDs allow for reporting to the minute, whereas manual logging is rounded to the 15th minute. This feature alone allows for an added 5-10 hours of driving per week.

  2. Minimize paperwork for truck drivers

    1. ELDs do all the logging work for drivers, something that every driver normally loathes. This is also extremely beneficial for minimizing the errors in paperwork as well. With virtually 0 errors in the logging, fleets can save countless time and funds.

  3. Preventative Violation Measures

    1. Many ELDs come with the feature to sound off alerts inside the vehicle when a driver is approaching a time restraint (30-minute required break, maximum hours driven, etc.) so that drivers will stay HOS compliant and the fleet will not face penalty fines.

  4. Easy communication with home officer

    1. Since ELDs upload the data to a server, fleet managers and home officers can view the location of the truck from anywhere, and easily communicate locations to customers, as well as figure out where a truck driver is if they need assistance (lost, broken down truck, etc.).

While the ELD rule only requires that a device sends the HOS and general location to be recorded, many electronic logging devices come with other capabilities aimed to improve fleet safety and fleet efficiency. This can be seen in devices such as EZ Fleet Tracking's EZ750.

The EZ750 offers all the benefits of an ELD device but goes even further. Using an accelerometer, the gateway device not only records the miles driven and tracks the vehicle, but it also conducts driver behavior analysis, a feature that allows fleet managers to better analyze the performance of their drivers and the biggest areas of improvement. On top of that, though, this ELD also pairs seamlessly with EZ Fleet Tracking's VS800 Video Solution, allowing not only accurate tracking of the vehicle, but also eyes into the scene. The truck camera offers a surplus of more benefits and allows for an ELD to transform into a complete fleet management holy grail.

ELDs are essential to improving a fleet, and because of that are now mandated across the country. Electronic Logging Devices make driving simpler, tracking and communication easier, everyday operations more cost-effective, and most importantly, the fleet safer.

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