When you have no way to track or log your vehicle’s location, it’s easy to worry about where it is and what it’s being used for. Fortunately, with Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), this is no longer an issue. An ELD is basically a computer or tablet that displays different statistics like the driving time and hours of service (HOS).
These devices were created to make drivers’ lives easier and help reassure companies that their vehicles are not being misused. However, when it comes to ELDs, certain compliance requirements must be met no matter the size of your fleet or the device chosen. Here’s a quick glance at what you should expect.
What is an ELD?
Electronic logging devices are used to record a vehicle’s driving time. They are also connected to the onboard diagnostics system to record information regarding the vehicle’s engine, location, speed, distance driven, and braking.
Despite what many people worry about, ELDs do not track a driver’s location, only the vehicle’s. Because the device is installed in the vehicle instead of on a driver’s phone, there is no way to track a driver if they are not with the vehicle.
What Can ELDs Do?
You might wonder what exactly ELDs can do. Aside from recording drive time and onboard diagnostics, advanced ELDS can also record GPS location, fuel efficiency and idle time, fault codes and diagnostics, hard braking or collisions, and engine speed and load.
No matter the industry, ELDs are useful for fleets of all sizes. They’re used by fleets in trucking, passenger transit of all types, food, and beverage, government, and construction.
ELD and Telematics Use Cases
In addition, once you bundle your ELDs with other vehicle telematics devices, new opportunities arise. Consider some of the use cases below:
- Ensure Safe Driving: ELDs are a great way to ensure safe driving habits amongst your drivers and help you in the case of false claims against your company. The records kept by ELDs can be used as evidence for or against your driver, depending on the situation.
- Scheduling Maintenance: ELDs are often used for scheduling preventive maintenance. With more insight into the performance of your vehicle and the way that it’s used, you can design a care plan that will ensure your fleet remains in good shape.
- Dispatch and Routing: Advanced ELDs have built-in GPS trackers that can tell you where all your vehicles are at any point in time without contacting the drivers directly.
- Increased Security: If an ELD solution has software to analyze your data, you can use this to improve security and prevent the loss of assets. For instance, by geofencing, you can be alerted when one of your vehicles goes outside of a specific boundary.
- Fuel Savings: When you combine the power of ELDs and telematics, you open the door to greater fuel savings by communicating with drivers. If you let drivers know about their habits, including speeding or hard accelerations, or excessive idling, you can work with them to correct these behaviors. By doing so, you can significantly reduce fuel consumption.
In addition to these use cases, ELDs offer some general benefits to carriers, such as:
- Simplifying the process of keeping Records of Duty Status (RODS)
- Automating Recording of Duty Status for drivers
- Reduce paperwork
- Cut unnecessary costs related to office administration
- Reduce the risk of human error
When most people think of ELDs, the first thing that comes to mind is recording hours of service for drivers. In order to understand why ELDs are necessary and why compliance is an issue, it’s important to cover the history of HOS regulations.
To start, the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) issued the first set of HOS regulations in 1938 that determined the maximum number of hours truck and bus drivers are allowed to work in a 24-hour day or a 7-day week. At the time, the regulations allowed drivers to drive for 60 hours in 7 days or 70 hours in 8 days. However, a lot has changed since then.
Fast forward to 1999 and the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act led to the creation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The administration published new HOS regulations in 2003 which altered requirements so that drivers worked in a cycle of work (driving time) and rest (off duty) that summed to fewer than 24 hours.
You might be wondering how HOS regulations are related to ELD compliance, but this next section should clear that up.
In 2019, the FMCSA passed the ELD rule, which requires commercial drivers to prepare hours-of-service (HOS), records of duty status (RODS), and must have an ELD in their vehicle. The ELD rule also includes performance and design standards, establishes supporting documents needed for drivers, and protects drivers from being harassed based on data collected.
This requirement was not intended to make maintaining a commercial fleet more difficult, but rather to make logging RODs easier for drivers. Since the penalty for not meeting ELD compliance is high, it’s important to double-check with the FMCSA to see if your fleet needs ELDs or not.
According to the FMCSA, there are three main requirements for electronic logging devices:
- Meet technical specifications outlined in the ELD Rule
- Be certified by the manufacturer – To check if your ELD is certified, refer to this list.
- Be registered with the FMCSA
Furthermore, at the end of 2017 a new regulation required drivers using an ELD to have an ELD information packet onboard the commercial motor vehicle (CMV). This includes a user’s manual, instruction sheet, and malfunction instruction sheet, which can be in paper or electronic form.
Are There Any ELD Rule Exceptions?
This is a question many people ask when they hear about the strict regulations surrounding the ELD rule. There are in fact a few exceptions to the mandate, which we outline below:
- Drivers operating under the short-haul exceptions can use timecards and do not require ELDs
- Drivers who use paper RODS for fewer than 8 days out of every 30 days are exempt.
- Drivers conducting drive-away-tow-away services (when the vehicle being driven is the asset being delivered) are also exempt
- Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000 are not required to have an ELD-equipped vehicle
The Future of ELDs and Compliance
Part of managing a commercial fleet is ensuring that you’re up to date on all compliance standards and requirements. As technology and ELDs advance, it’s expected that these compliance standards will change as well, as we’ve seen with the progression from the first HOS regulations to the current ELD Rule. With routine checks and making an effort to stay informed, your fleet will be better equipped to adapt to changing regulations and ultimately reap the benefits of advanced technology.
At Morey, we pride ourselves on offering the highest quality connected products for fleet management and commercial vehicles. We’ve deployed more than 30,000 of our ELD units to date and project another 200,000 units globally each year. That being said, if you’re looking to bundle your ELD with complete fleet management software or telematics devices, contact us today.