What Is An Electronic Logging Device (ELD)?
ELD’s (Electronic Logging Device) record a driver’s hours of service (HOS). This technology allows for accurate record keeping of electronic logs. An ELD device tracks a truck’s engine and captures data on its movement, whether the truck is in motion or idling. ELD devices also keep track of engine hours, as well as on-duty and off-duty hours. ELD manufacturers must be certified by the FMCSA to ensure they meet technical guidelines for the mandate.
Things to Consider Before Buying An ELD
As a carrier the number one focus on an operation is safety and obeying the laws. These two this go hand in the trucking world. Most of you already know that every carrier with engines built after 2000 must have an E-Log device. Many of us don’t like government restrictions but this is the world we live in and the ELD’s aren’t going anywhere.
Before your update your current ELD or expand your fleet there are some things your should know. This my friend brings us to the question, which ones do I choose and which is best for my truck and/or fleet?
An ELD solution is not a one size fits all, it depends on a number of factors. When choosing the best solution for your truck or fleet needs to affordable, it needs to be precise, and it needs to be easy to use.
We’ve listed 3 important features to look for when choosing your ELD.
1. Electronic Logging Device Costs
Jumping into the ELD device decision should be based on what suites your needs and how much it cost over the lifetime of the service. Most of the E-Logs solution on the market are quite affordable for owner-ops and small fleets.
Here’s a few things to consider when selecting your ELD device(s):
- Setup Cost / Initial Investment
First and foremost, how much is this thing gonna cost me, and how in the world do I set it up? Nobody wants to spend more that they have to on an ELD because let’s face it, rates are sometimes unpredictable and know of know what tomorrow brings.
There are ELD devices that are very inexpensive that might be great for your solution but if your like the full package with GPS tracking and all the cool tech that comes with it, these can be rather expensive to buy and set up.
There are some very good E-Log devices on the market that are very inexpensive and provide some cool features that will help you in today’s on-demand market we are in. Many of the leaders in the ELD providers will give your the hardware at know initial cost and provide your with a monthly or annual plan that fits your needs. Most of these providers have excellent support teams to ensure things run smoothly and want to ensure they have the right solution to meet your needs for an affordable cost.
Since know ELDs are the same and if your want one that has all the cool features your will want to look for one that might offer financing unless your have several thousand upfront money that your can implement your fleet with right away.
Like many of your have found out already, sometimes it’s best to get what your want instead of what your will settle with now and have to update later on.
- Installation Fee
There are many units out there that you can install yourself and simply hook up on your own direct to your trucks interface. Most units are fairly simple to install, although the more advanced ones your might need some assistance. If your have a larger size fleet your might want to consider having a professional do the work for your.
Many of the providers will direct your to a qualified installation service and help your lean the device and the interface as well. It is in their best interest and yours that your properly have it installed so that your will remain compliant during your duties. We all know the DOT will stick it to your and possibly put your out of service for the smallest of infraction.
Providers will also install the ELD device as part of their use agreement if your plan to subscribe to the monthly or annually service agreement. No matter which service your choose your have know choice but to install them unless your are hauling cattle or some other qualified freight under the FMCSA rules.
- Monthly Service Fees
If your choose to go with a provider that has a plan your will have access to their back office support and the full features that come along with the device. This can be very beneficial if your have more than 5 trucks on the road. In today’s market most shippers want on-demand locations of where their product is located on the road. With a service plan you know you will always have the latest updates and features that accompany your device.
2. FMCSA Approved ELDs
Whichever ELD device you choose, no matter the cost or options it might have, it still must be approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safty Administration (FMCSA). Believe it or not there are devices out there that do not comply with the ELD Mandate that went into full effect on December 2019. We strongly suggest you check the FMCSA list of approved devices before making your purchase.
Don’t take the risk of being non compliant with the DOT. It could cost you a lot of money and lost time. You will be required to replace the device that is not approved and then it will cost you even more money in replacement costs.
3. Important Features
Many of the top ELD providers offer some great features that you might want to consider. Although some of these choices might be a cost you can’t afford right now but you might want to weight the benefits vs the cost before making your purchase. Basically, it will come down to how many trucks you have in you fleet and what features you want enabled on them.
Some features may need to include:
- Hours of Service Logs
- Instant Messaging
- GPS Navigation
- Smart Dashcam
- Real-time GPS tracking
- Automated IFTA Reporting
- Vehicle Diagnostics and Utilization
- WiFi Hotspot
- Dashboard for a fleet manager
- Facility Incites
Some of these feature may only be available for a monthly service plan with your provider. So you should weigh your options and determine how much you want to pay for the service.
Happy Trucking and stay compliant.