ELD stands for Electronic Logging Device. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires this device to replace manual logging of hours by drivers to comply with the Hours of Service (HOS) Rules. There's a misconception that ELDs are only intended for compliance with the FMCSA's mandate, but what many fail to realize is that ELDs are really for the truckers and driver safety.
What Does an ELD Do?
An ELD is a technology used by commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators to ensure the automatic recording of an operator's driving time and HOS records. The device is designed to capture the vehicle's movements, engine statistics, and miles driven.
Under the ELD Mandate, CMVs and drivers who still rely on records of duty status (RODS) must switch to ELDs. Based on FMCSA rules, there are three requirements for ELDs:
- They must comply with a set of technical specifications
- They have to be certified by their manufacturers
- They must be registered with the FMCSA.
What are the Benefits of ELDs?
The benefits of ELDs range from ELD compliance, efficiency, and productivity, among others. The device can help companies save time and resources since ELDs simplify the process of maintaining RODs while increasing the efficiency of inspections.
Carriers will reap these benefits with ELDs:
- Automatic recording of RODs, thereby improving the HOS compliance
- Increase driving time for drivers since they don't have to fill out the RODs manually
- Savings from paper costs
- Monitoring of fuel monitoring
- Reporting of vehicle inspection
- Driver safety monitoring
- Receipt and invoice scanning
- Real-time data access
How Do ELDs Help in Road Safety?
Many drivers, unfortunately, think that ELDs are "spies" that watch their every move. They fail to realize that ELDs are really intended by FMCSA to maintain highway safety as the device helps make driving safer for all road users. The ELDs help enforce the limit on the number of hours drivers can stay behind the wheel, which makes roads safe for everyone, here's how.
Rest Time for Drivers
ELD helps enforce the rules of HOS, which was implemented to reduce driver fatigue. It lessens drivers' workload by eliminating manual record-keeping tasks since the paperwork involved can be mentally exhausting for drivers.
Helping Drivers be Mindful
Drivers can focus on their primary task, driving. The ELDs take out the burden of remembering details of the last time logged or the minutes left before drivers are required to rest stop.
ELDs offer record engine performance insights, which lets drivers and companies know which parts require servicing earlier than the scheduled maintenance. The data on engine performance can help in raising the alarm on impending mechanical problems and prevent the commercial vehicle from becoming a road hazard on the highway, or expensive repairs.
Are ELDs effective in helping maintain safety in highways? The FMCSA says so, as its estimates show that ELDs can save 26 lives, avoid over 500 injuries and avoid over 1,800 vehicle crashes annually.
What is the Best ELD Device?
There are plenty of manufacturers selling quality ELDs on the market. While they may all be compliant with the three guidelines set by FMCSA, some ELDs are still better than others.
Here's what fleet operators should look for:
Single device for all vehicle classes- Some fleets could have various vehicle types. Using a universal ELD solution can help companies minimize training drivers' costs on the use of ELDs and reduce other employees' time learning multiple complex solutions.
Easy to install and operate- A successful rollout of ELD also depends on the speed of installation. It is best to choose a plug-and-play solution to simplify the installation process. Likewise, an ELD that's easy to operate allows drivers to use the device with minimal training hours and coaching.
Can be used with smart devices- Compatibility with tablets and smartphones adds another layer of convenience for drivers. Learning how to use the ELD is easier for drivers who are savvy in operating their smartphones and tablets.
Easy to upgrade- A company's needs will change over time. As such, choosing an ELD that is upgradeable as the business grows is the best choice.
Cloud-based solution- An ELD that uses cloud computing is more reliable than others since the cloud solution ensures data safety and security.
ELDs were mandated to minimize road accidents. Compliance with the ELD Mandate is necessary because the automatic record-keeping helps drivers focus on driving, take rest stops as required, and helps keep vehicles in good running condition. There are plenty of ELDs on the market, and CMVs should choose their device carefully. Getting an ELD that's easy to use, install, and upgrade, be used with smart devices, and is cloud-based will check all the boxes for the business.