If you are a fleet manager or a CMV driver looking for ELDs in 2022, that can mean only two things – you are new in the trucking business or have recently come under the scope of the ELD rule. Why do we make this assumption? Because if you have been anywhere around the fleet or trucking industry, you ought to know about ELD. But if you don’t, let us give you a short glimpse.
- ELD rule is the brainchild of FMCSA, concocted to ensure strict adherence to the Department of Transport’s Hours of Service (HOS) and Record of Duty Status (RODS) regulations.
- ELD or electronic logging device attaches to a CMVs engine and automatically records authentic and accurate data – engine status, miles driven, and more.
- As ELDs have been mandatory, not getting them could lead to heavy penalties and fines.
- You can integrate ELD with fleet management software and use reports on fuel, vehicle maintenance, driving safety, real-time location, and more to streamline your fleet operations.
Thus, getting an ELD helps you stay compliant and also helps you manage your operations efficiently. But for this, you need an ELD that is perfect for your CMV or fleet. So here are some tips to consider before selecting an ELD.
Consider These Factors While Choosing Your ELD
When you are in the market to choose the best ELD for you, there are some factors you need to consider. Let’s take a look at them:
1. FMCSA-Approved: This goes without saying – you are getting an ELD to comply with FMCSA and DoT rules. So confirm with your vendor if their ELD is FMCSA-approved or not. You can also crosscheck with the FMCSA’s list of registered vendors.
2. Price and Subscription: ELD is mandatory, but that doesn’t mean it has to burn a hole in your wallet. If you are already using a fleet management solution, see if your vendor can upgrade it to include ELD. But if you have to get a new ELD, you can look for one within your budget. Now before you go looking for an ELD or a complete solution, write down what you actually need. Given the vast market, you are bound to find something that suits your needs as well as your budget. Usually, there is an upfront device cost along with an optional installation fee, and then you have to sign up for a subscription plan. Some vendors offer ELDs with no monthly fees which will save you bucks. You just have to pay monthly for the services you use. Also, many ELD providers provide free devices with a minimum monthly price. Therefore, you can look for ELD providers and their deals, and choose the one that you need.
- Durability: The ELD rule is here to stay. So when you are getting an ELD, might as well get one that can last long. Also, as a truck driver, owner, or fleet manager, you already know the kind of rough terrain and weather you have to face. Your ELD will have to deal with the same. Also, because the ELD is used to record authentic data, ensure that your ELD is tamper-proof and cannot be uninstalled or meddled with. You need your ELD to stay strong throughout the rugged journey.
- Universality: Usually in fleets, drivers are assigned CMVs based on availability. Therefore, it is important that you get the same kind of ELD for all the vehicles in your fleet to avoid bothering about training the drivers in all kinds of ELD and software usage. It will also avoid any confusion.
- Simplicity: When it comes to ELDs, simplicity refers to two things – the first is the installation, and the second is usability. Vendors do offer an optional installation service at a nominal rate. However, there are several ELDs in the market that do not need any special expertise. Some vendors also have detailed video tutorials for an easy DIY installation. Now, coming to ease of use, your drivers have a very important job that requires complete focus. If an ELD requires them to manually input certain instructions, it will only create a disturbance for them. So we would suggest looking out for ELDs like Matrack ELD that offer voice-enabled status changes and allow drivers to do their jobs without stress.
- User-friendly Interface: ELDs are a two-part solution – there is hardware that connects to the CMVs engine and collects data. The second is a software application that saves the data and converts it into readable and insightful reports. These reports help you make decisions that are beneficial to your operations. Moreover, during inspections, the data and reports can be electronically transferred to the inspecting authority in a jiffy. This eliminates the requirements of manual paper logs, and also cuts down the inspection time, allowing your driver to make full use of their allowed working hours.
1. Location Information: If you are a driver opting for a standalone ELD for your CMV, you do not really need a GPS-enabled ELD. If you want to share your location, you can do it through the map app on your smartphone. But if you are a fleet manager, you know the significance of the real-time location of your fleet vehicles. From assigning jobs to intimating the clients, getting help to the drivers, and more depends hugely on accurate and precise location data.
2. IFTA reports: ELDs collect mileage and fuel data. You can generate IFTA reports – tax calculations based on miles driven in particular states – easily. You can use this report to file for IFTA, hassle-free.
- Customer Support: Now this one is not very tricky to understand. The transportation business never sleeps – it’s always on the go. So you need partners that also work round the clock. There are several ELD vendors that offer 24/7 tech support, which means they can help you resolve all ELD-related problems as and when required.
There are two kinds of ELDs – just the device and software for compliance, and an all-inclusive fleet management solution. You should go for a standalone ELD if you are an owner/driver. But if you have a Fleet business, getting a wholesome management solution that offers compliance as well as productivity-enhancing features should be your goal.
We have covered some of the most important factors you must consider before shortlisting and selecting your ELD. Bookmark this post or take a printout, so that you do not miss any of these factors.
Also, if you have any tips for us or our readers, especially those related to the ELD, do let us know in the comments below!