An electronic logging device (ELD) is a device that attaches to a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and automatically records a driver’s driving time and Hours of service (HOS) records, and captures data on the vehicle’s engine, movement, and miles driven, according to the official definition by the FMCSA. In this article, we explain “What is an ELD?” and describe the benefits of this technology.
What Is an ELD?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a ruling that makes the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) mandatory for most motor carriers and drivers. Carriers who currently use papers logs must have ELDs installed and in use by December 18, 2017 to be considered compliant.
The FMCSA has set out three requirements for electronic logging devices. ELDs must conform to the FMCSA’s technical specifications, be certified by the manufacturer, and registered with the FMCSA.
How Do ELDs Work?
The ELD device synchronizes with the engine of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). It records driving time and monitor critical pieces of information such as location, engine hours (how long the engine has been in operation), vehicle movement, and miles driven.
ELD Advantages for Carriers
ELDs have many important benefits for carriers extending from fleet compliance to productivity and efficiency. Most importantly, electronic logging will improve the driver safety. The FMCSA has estimated that it will save 26 lives and prevent over 1,800 vehicle crashes annually. By enforcing stronger compliance to Hours of Service regulations, ELDs may help reduce driver fatigue as well.
ELDs help save time and money. They simplify the process of keeping Records of Duty Status (RODS) and increase the efficiency of inspections so carriers can dramatically reduce the amount of time that truck drivers and administrators spend on paperwork. ELDs also reduce the cost associated with paper logbooks and processing and minimize the risk of errors in record-keeping.
Key Benefits of ELDs:
- Increase driver safety and save lives.
- More drive time — Drivers no longer have to fill out and submit paper RODS.
- Less administration — Office staff no longer have to process paper RODS.
- Lower paper costs — Purchases of paper log books are no longer necessary.
In addition to reducing the cost and burden related to paperwork, ELDs can increase fleet productivity, compliance, and most importantly, driver safety.
Additional Benefits of ELDs:
- Access to real-time data — ELDs provide a lifeline to data that can be used to increase overall fleet productivity and efficiency.
- Automated Recording of Duty Status — By automatically recording duty status for drivers, HOS compliance will increase.
- Engine Fault Reporting — Allows for better vehicle maintenance.
Compliance Goes Mobile
A smartphone or tablet can be used as part of the ELD solution provided that it meets the FMCSA’s technical specifications and is certified and registered.
The Geotab Drive mobile app for Driver Vehicle Inspection Reporting (DVIR), Hours-of-Service (HOS), and Driver Identification, can be used on an Android or iOS phones and tablets. The smart driver app syncs data between the Geotab GO device and a tablet to provide numerous functions, such as automatic duty status changes, violation alerts, among others, and complete end-to-end inspection workflow.
My Fleet Uses AOBRDs. Do I still need to adopt ELDs?
According to the FMCSA, all motor carriers and drivers must be using only ELDs by the compliance deadline of December 16, 2019. However, during the first two phases of transition and compliance (four years from the date of publication of the final rule), the FMCSA permits the use of automatic on board recording devices (AOBRDs).
It’s wise to start evaluating and selecting ELDs as soon as possible. By beginning the process now, you can leave enough time for implementation and training, and as well, your fleet can start taking advantage of great benefits that ELDs offer.
Note: If you are using paper logs for Hours-of-Service, you must be using ELDs by December 18, 2017. Refer to the FMCSA’s website for more information on compliance.