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ELDs: Definition and How Bundling Them With Telematics Boosts ROI

ELDs, or Electronic Logging Devices, are no longer optional for U.S commercial carriers and drivers since the federal government began requiring its use on December 31, 2019. The same goes for Canadian carriers, since the ELD mandate will take effect by June 2021.

ELD Definition & Telematics

The obvious benefit of ELDs is compliance with Hours of Service (HOS) rules. But what many fleet owners fail to realize is that when bundled with telematics, the ELD definition changes. The device is no longer merely about compliance, because ELDs with telematics have other advantages that can directly affect bottom lines and boost return on investment.

Analytics Matter

Telematics solutions are electronic devices in commercial vehicles that gather a wealth of information, such as driver speed and idling, tire pressure, fuel consumption, seat belt use, braking, and engine data, to name a few.

When stored together and generated, telematics becomes invaluable because fleet operators and managers get deeper insights into their drivers and vehicles. A well-crafted telematics fleet management system, one that uses data to correct driver performance and follows through on vehicle management tasks, will drive more cost savings for the fleet operator, generating higher ROI for the telematics solution.

Here’s how telematics solutions can bring more profits to the business.

Fuel Savings

Fuel accounts for the biggest chunk of the overall operating costs for most carriers. Telematics helps lower fuel expenses via the identification and correction of drivers’ bad habits that increase fuel consumption.

ELDs and telematics help single out drivers’ penchant for speeding, hard acceleration, and excessive idling. Letting drivers know of their road habits and coaching them to correct such behaviors can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 25 percent.

Security and Safety Improvements

Speaking of drivers’ behaviors, telematics also aids in monitoring unsafe driving practices that cause road accidents, resulting in damage to property, injury, or loss of lives.

Studies have shown that a well-implemented telematics safety program that identifies and corrects drivers' unsafe road behavior can potentially result in these numbers:

  • 45 percent reduction of accidents
  • 90 percent improvement in seat belt usage
  • 80 percent reduction in aggressive driving
  • 75 percent reduction in speeding

These aren’t just safety statistics, as safe driving practices also mean savings on insurance costs, damage payments, and vehicle repairs.

Vehicle Maintenance

A telematics program that actively identifies and corrects driver behavior not only keeps drivers safe but also reduces the wear and tear of the vehicles. ELDs and telematics solutions also help in improving predictive vehicle maintenance programs by forecasting vehicle breakdown before they happen. All these can save a fleet owner as much as 14 percent in vehicle maintenance expenses.

Minimized Vehicle Detention and Maximized Utilization

Fleet operators have the option of sharing information generated by the telematics solutions to consignees and shippers so they can be made aware of how their actions are affecting the operators’ costs and performance. Data can help prove when drivers arrive on time but are unable to leave quickly due to the shipper or consignee’s inefficiency.

Likewise, telematics data can be used to maximize driver and vehicle use, as route planners provide more accurate information regarding customers, routes, and times of the day.

Reduction of Disputes

It’s easy to resolve disputes when the operator has the ELD data to back up the proof of delivery. ELD information, after all, can confirm the actual date and time the vehicle was at the customer’s door.

A Better Customer Experience

A telematics solution offers customers real-time visibility and accurate ETAs of their orders, allowing them to plan their schedules according to accurate delivery information. Real-time visibility and proactive alerts provided by telematics help increase customer satisfaction scores, as consumers won’t be left wondering when they need to sign for their packages.

Fleet owners and managers may have grudgingly invested in ELDs to comply with government regulations. But when bundled with telematics, ELDs help improve fleet safety and customer scores while increasing cost savings and driving higher ROI for the business.

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