ELD stands for electronic logging device. Their primary function is to track hours of service (HOS) of most commercial motor carriers. ELDs typically come in the form of a tablet that mounts inside of the cab of a truck.
This technology was developed to replace hand-written driver records and logs to remove the manual record-keeping process of driving hours and driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs).
The ELD mandate, which went into effect on December 18, 2019, now requires most commercial vehicle operations to keep track of driver logs electronically.
Those using automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) fall under the grandfather clause active until December 19, 2019, at which point they will need to upgrade their devices to ELDs.
How Do ELDs Work?
Most ELDs work in conjunction with telematics software. As previously mentioned, the hardware from ELD providers is usually a dashboard-mounted tablet inside the truck. For ELD programs integrated with telematics, the devices either hardwire to a GPS tracking device under the hood, which connects to the vehicle’s engine or via Bluetooth.
And much like any other type of connection, the hardwire connection is usually more reliable. Some ELD providers have a bring your own device (BYOD) platform that allows the use of a third-party tablet, such as an iPad. The only additional requirement is downloading their proprietary application onto the tablet.
The data that collects from the tablet and GPS tracking device is sent over a cellular connection back to servers where the information is stored. ELD providers then use their software to visualize the data in the form of dashboards, reports, and alerts.
The data ELDs collect includes:
- Location Information
- Engine Hours
- Vehicle Miles
- Driver Identification
- Authenticated User
- Motor Carrier
What Is the ELD Mandate?
The purpose of the ELD mandate is to improve safety by way of preventing fatigued drivers from getting into collisions that kill or injure themselves, or others.
Restricting how many consecutive hours drivers can operate their vehicles helps achieve this goal. The ELD mandate says drivers can only drive a maximum of 11 hours consecutively in a 14-hour window, after which, they must take a consecutive 10-hour break. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) put this rule in place to improve not only driver safety but public safety as well.
The ELD mandate did not add any additional regulations for the trucking industry. It digitized and automated the process of creating driver logs.
Because the device is tied directly into the vehicle’s engine, it accurately records engine run time and drive time, as well as diagnostic information. Monitoring diagnostics can help spot any maintenance issues before it becomes a significant problem.
Automatically calculating drive time eliminates any fraudulent paperwork from drivers who attempt to game the system to drive longer, potentially endangering themselves and others on the road.
Electronic logging devices also help increase driver efficiency. Drivers are freed up more for their primary responsibilities and maximize their productivity because they don’t have to fill out paperwork. Logging into an ELD device takes mere seconds, and DVIRs just a few minutes before and after every trip the ensure the vehicle is safe to operate.
However, ELDs don’t just help increase driver efficiency; they also increase back-office efficiency.
For an office manager or administrator, it can take an untold number of hours to audit paper logs and sift through all the necessary information. ELD data stores on the tablet and on servers, which manifest in the form of dashboards and reports.
Most ELD providers also automatically purge the data at the appropriate time. So, you no longer have to worry about keeping records that take up space or waste personnel time to go through it all.
Outside of managing HOS for drivers, most ELD software comes with DVIR integration. Having a DVIR built into an ELD solution helps save tremendously on time for drivers that need to do pre and post-trip inspections.
It helps reduce the time it takes to fill out the related paperwork and mitigates any errors, especially if drivers wait to fill out the paperwork later.
With DVIRs built into an ELD solution, it forces them to go through the pre and post-trip inspection before they can put themselves on or off duty.
The Power of ELD and Telematics Together
There is a spectrum of available ELD products. However, none are more popular and effective than those that also provide telematics. The main advantage is that you don’t have to manage two different systems when they integrate.
You can maintain both your ELDs and vehicle tracking together in one convenient software package. That also means dealing with one customer care and account management team as well.
Don’t Wait to Update AOBRDs
The ELD mandate came and went on December 18, 2018. However, if you’re currently using an AOBRD, they are grandfathered until December 19, 2019, meaning that you don’t have to upgrade your devices to ELD until that date.
However, you can’t afford to wait. Driver and office staff training for ELD is a time commitment, as well as installing the new hardware, so you also have to plan for vehicle downtime properly.
If you still need to upgrade your AOBRD devices, then fill out the form below to receive free quotes from top-rated ELD providers and begin the process today!