Electronic Logging Devices hold utmost importance to the trucking industry as they help ensure compliance with federal hours-of-service (HOS) regulations, which are in place to contribute towards driver's performance, prevent truck driver fatigue, and promote safety on the roads.
ELD devices for trucks automatically track a driver's hours and generate reports that can be easily shared with compliance officials during inspections. This eliminates the need for manual logbooks, which can be prone to errors and falsification.
Additionally, ELDs can provide valuable data to trucking companies, such as driving patterns and fuel consumption, which can help improve fleet efficiency and reduce costs.
As of December 16, 2019, the use of ELDs for the majority of commercial vehicle drivers (CMVs) was made mandatory by the US government. The law is known as ELD Mandate.
This decision was made to create a safe work environment for drivers, through accurate and automated recording of driver's time, both on and off-time, making it easier to manage and share data in compliance with the Department of Transportation's Hours of Service (HOS) rules.
The ELD Mandate is only applicable to carriers and drivers who are required to maintain Records of Duty Status (RODs) in compliance with US federal HOS regulations.
Those who fail to comply with the regulations will be penalized with heavy fines, placed out of service, and CSA points added to their record. It is recommended that carriers and drivers understand all of the HOS violations they could potentially get.
Let's discuss ELD devices for trucks, the ELD Mandate, the benefits of using ELD devices, and the 5 best ELD devices for fleets and trucks in 2023.
What is An ELD Device?
ELD device is a hardware device used by drivers and fleet managers of commercial freight vehicles to record Hours of Service (HOS). Once connected to the vehicle's engine, it automatically records driving movement and keeps the driver logs posted.
With an ELD device, dispatchers and drivers get real-time information on available hours and violation risks. The HOS data is displayed on the device itself, so the driver can easily showcase it to the officers whenever there is a roadside inspection.
Here's the information that the ELD device records:
- Date and Time
- Geographic Location
- Miles Traveled
- Vehicle Identification
- Motor Carrier Identification
- Engine Diagnostics & Malfunction
- 60-minute intervals of motion
Here's the information the driver records:
- Driver Log On/Log Off
- Driver Identification
- Duty Status Changes
- Certification of Driver's Daily Record
- Personal Use
All the above data is automatically recorded by the ELD device. However, some entries can also be manually edited, and each edit can be tracked.
What is an ELD Mandate?
The ELD Mandate is applied to all commercial drivers who are required to maintain HOS records.
Primarily, it applies to the following:
- Interstate CMVs
- Vehicles weighing more than 10,001 pounds
- Hazmat load vehicles
- Depending on the vehicle class, the ones that carry more than 8 or 15 passengers.
The following are exempted from the ELD Mandate:
- Short-Haul Drivers
- Driveaway-Towaway Operations
- Vehicles not equipped with an ECM
- Drivers who use RODS for 8 days or less in a 30-day period
- Agricultural and Farm Vehicles
Paper logs are not considered accurate as there is a possibility of corrections and manipulations. As the ELD mandate came into effect, the need for standard paper logs ended.
Benefits of Using ELD Devices for Trucks
CMVs primarily use ELD devices to electronically record drive time and HOS, as directed by the ELD Mandate. Also, ELDs log a wide range of informative data that goes beyond driver logs. This is why they are considered a vital component of a comprehensive fleet management system.
Below, we have discussed some prime benefits of using ELD devices for trucks.
As per the estimates of the FMCSA, ELDS will save $2.44 billion in administrative work. Other than that, it will save $1.88 billion from the driver's time that was required to complete the paperwork.
ELD devices help save time as they provide instant check-ups to drivers and officers conducting roadside inspections. Violating the trucking rules can result in heavy penalties for drivers. By using ELDs, drivers can stay informed of forthcoming violations.
ELD devices help improve fleet efficiency for a trucking business. The data logged and stored on the ELD device disclose negative driving behaviors such as dangerous speeds, idle times, hard braking, and cornering.
GPS live tracking provides the exact location of the fleets at all times, making it easier for fleet owners and managers to know where their trucks are located in real-time. On the other hand, ELD devices for trucks can also monitor detention times, stolen equipment, and accidental investigations.
ELD devices providing accurate HOS counting help improve driver's safety. With an ELD device at their disposal, fleet managers can know where a certain truck is at a given time, monitor the driver's driving behavior, and obtain estimated arrival times.
As per FMCSA, ELD devices help save lives and prevent injuries, providing safety to drivers.
The CSA Scores play a role in determining the hiring decisions of both truck drivers and trucking companies. A high score can positively influence an employer's choice to hire a driver or a shipper's decision to work with a trucking company.
5 Best ELD Devices for Trucks
To be in ELD compliance, it is important to get the right ELD device installed on your vehicle that meets the FMCSA criteria. Below, you can find a list of the 5 best ELD devices for trucks.
Popular for being one of the best ELD devices, Motive ELD is trusted by thousands of trucking companies across the USA. It offers a user-friendly interface and is supremely affordable for the truckers.
The app helps increase productivity and sends notifications to drivers reminding them to take rests, thus conforming to safety regulations. It precisely logs hours of service utilizing Bluetooth capabilities, allowing it to function in regions with poor cellular coverage.
Samsara ELD is among the many other best ELD devices in the industry, offering solutions to the fleet to stay in compliance with the ELD Mandate.
This ELD device can obtain information on the hours of service and current work status, as well as track the location via GPS, provide a WIFI connection, gather data from sensors, handle vehicle inspection reports, and allow for capturing of documents.
DashLink ELD By BigRoad
DashLink, an ELD solution from BigRoad, is a cost-effective option for creating compliant engine-connected logs. The mobile app is easy to use and automatically tracks hours of service, records duty status, and shows traffic information.
It also automatically records the driver's duty status, driving time, and availability from the vehicle's engine control module."
The Garmin ELD is an easy-to-use tool for keeping track of hours of service records and meeting the FMCSA ELD mandate. It is considered a good long-term investment and keeps accurate records on the user's smartphone without the need for cloud storage.
The setup is straightforward, and there are no additional subscription fees or ongoing costs. Some of the features include no ongoing costs, fuel tracking, data backup on a mobile app, a free mobile app, and 24/7 support. Moreover, it can be used by fleets of all sizes.
Verizon Telematics ELD
In 2017, Verizon developed a streamlined device to help truck drivers comply with guidelines. The device, called Verizon Connect, enables drivers to log their on-duty activity, driving hours, and sleeper berth hours and provides a summary of these hours.
To use the device, drivers must log in to the Workplan and select their truck model from a list. Before ending their shift, they must change their HOS (Hours of Service) status to "Off Duty." Additionally, the device offers safety monitoring tools and tracks fuel costs.
TMS with ELD Integration
A transportation management system (TMS) needs to connect with an ELD to gather driver data, and since ELDs can be easily linked to a TMS, they are considered superior to paper logs. This also means that the necessary driver information will be obtained and calculated automatically.
LoadStop TMS—a cloud-based transportation management software—integrates with several ELD providers, helping reduce the amount of HOS paperwork for drivers and saving time for carriers.
This system can accurately monitor driving time by recording every minute and also collects information on rest breaks and other stops. Additionally, it can help to eliminate errors made by humans, which could lead to significant costs for a carrier.
About the Author: Sara Naveed
Sara Naveed is a creative and digital content writer who uses her creative skills to develop and edit professional web content. Being a writer has always been her dream. She earnestly hopes people appreciate her writing—an asset she deeply covets. Using her 8+ years of working experience, she writes for trucking industry experts who are always looking for better technological solutions to their problems.