- 1 What is an ELD?
- 2 Implementation and cost
In the US, commercial motor vehicle drivers are regulated by several rules and regulations, of which the Hours Of Service (HOS) are extremely important. Under these rules, the drivers need to provide a record of their driving hours. Previously, it was done using paper logs which were often inconsistent and unauthentic.
That is why, in 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Admin (FMCSA) instituted an ELD mandate (now ELD rule). According to the mandate, all the commercial motor vehicles who used to fill out the paper logs were required to switch over automatic electronic logging devices (ELD).
What is an ELD?
An ELD or an electronic logging device is a gadget designed to keep a verifiable record of the driver’s driving time and other crucial data of Hours of Service (HOS) compliance.
The technology records and stores various data about the drivers and their vehicles. The ELD just needs to be connected and installed in the vehicle’s engine and it is good to go.
Implementation and cost
The FMCSA estimates the cost of an ELD to be $41.25 per month, per vehicle. However, based on the kind of ELD, subscription plans, and add-on services, the price may vary. They can be as low as $165 per month, per vehicle and go up to $832 per month, per vehicle.
Using ELDs can require a bit of training. Although, they are fairly easy to use once you get the hang of it.
In fleets, ELD is accessed by several people – drivers, managers, maintenance personnel, and more. That is why it is advised that fleets get the same kind of ELD in all their vehicles. Also, multiple drivers can use the same ELD. The interface allows creating separate profiles with proper authorization, so that all drivers’ data is recorded separately.
You can use different types of ELDs available in the market but just make sure that it is FMCSA-approved and data is reported accurately to the fleet managers.
There are two major components of an ELD – one is the device that connects to the engine, and other is the hardware for driver interface. And these two components define the two types of ELDs:
- DEDICATED UNIT ELDs:
Dedicated Unit ELD refers to the vendor providing both – the ELD device and interface device. While as usual the ELD connects to the engine, the interface is also dedicatedly used only for that particular vehicle. As the name justifies the feature, they have to remain connected to the ECM (Engine Control Module) of the truck by a cable in order to receive the data from all the different sources on the truck and to report the conditions as well. These truck eld devices are simply an upgrade of the older electronic onboard recorders (EOBRs) or automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs).
2.BYOD (Bring Your Own Device):-
It allows the drivers to use their own devices for the driver interface. Drivers can use it on their personal Android or iOS powered tablets or smartphones. It consists of a ‘dongle’ that has to be connected to the ECM of the vehicle via Bluetooth in order to transfer the data.
So whatever unit you got to choose from, you should keep in mind that a top ELD device should achieve all the market standards. The most essential aspect you should consider is that it should be user-friendly and easy to install. These ELD devices are some of the best one’s available in the market.
HOW TO INSTALL AN ELD:
- Locate Diagnostic Port:
The ELD connects to the diagnostic port of the vehicle. So the very first task will be finding the diagnostic port, as its position varies depending upon the vehicle model.
It can be under the pedal, under the dashboard, or near the hand-brake.
- Connect the Device to the Diagnostic Port of The Vehicle:
Once you have found the diagnostic port, connect the device to it.
- If you are fitting the device to a 6-pin or 9-pin containing tabs: Adjust the collar to line it up with the slots on the diagnostic port by rotating it accordingly. Keep rotating the collar to hear the click sound so that you know it has been connected.
- If you are connecting it to an OBDII connector: Adjust the connection of the device in such a way that it matches the diagnostic port of the vehicle. Firmly press the connector until it is fully connected.
Your device is now ready to go.
- Things to remember while installing ELDs :
- Install it in such a place where it doesn’t interfere with the steering wheel and the pedal and allows for smoother and safer driving.
- Use extension cables or sticky pads to adjust the proper position of the device.
HOW TO TRANSFER THE E-LOG DATA:
During the inspection or audit, the data recorded in the e-log needs to be transferred to the inspector’s device. In order to transfer this data, ELDs must support one of the below options:
- The first option is a ‘telematics’ transfer type ELD. It electronically transfers data to an authorized safety official on demand via wireless web services and email.
- The second option is a ‘local’ transfer type ELD. It electronically transfers data to an authorized safety official on demand via USB2.0 and Bluetooth. To ensure the hours of service (HOS) compliance to the inspector during a roadside inspection, a driver must be able to provide either the display or a printout of the information.
EDITING YOUR E-Log
- WHO CAN EDIT THE ELD:
The ELD records can be edited by the driver as well as the authorized fleet staff. However, the driver can make only limited edits to add any missing data or to correct mistakes. If done so, they need to provide a note explaining the reason for the edits. Also, the driver needs to confirm that the edit was accurate by re-submitting the records along with the original un-edited documents.
The driver and carrier share the responsibility for the integrity of the ELD records as it reflects the driver’s RODS.
- WHAT CAN BE EDITED ON ELD:
Editing of driving situations is restricted only to the location and notes area. Any further edits to these driving events can be made by the fleet’s safety managers, and not the drivers.
Any non-driving events like ‘On-duty’, ‘Off-duty’ can be edited as long as they don’t interfere with the existing driving events. The edits must be done within two weeks of the log being created.
HOW ELDS HELP FLEET MANAGERS
An ELD is what you need for your business if you are looking to improve the fleet management system. And in-return, the power of ELD data can be harnessed by fleet management to make a difference in how organizations have been using the data and the analytics until now. ELDs help to introduce the current trends to make the necessary adjustments to the fleet management system.
- Idle time-tracking: Fuel wastage is a crucial problem in trucking industries and as a fleet manager with several vehicles, you stand to lose thousands of dollars every day. Truck drivers can save their precious time and your precious money just by using an ELD. It will enable fleet management to optimize the current resources available.
- Analyzing different diagnostic reports: Using ELDs, you can strictly keep your eye on the fault codes. You will be more assured as a fleet manager as it will immediately alert you as soon as it will find a fault. It gives access to greater freedom to monitor the working of your fleet, providing fewer physical inspections needed.
With the wide range of benefits an ELD provides to the fleets, with a little more optimization in the device, it can do more wonders.
- GPS Tracking: As the ELDs record a range of informative data to the driver logs, they are a vital component of a fleet management system. Now most of the ELDs have a built-in GPS tracker that provides real-time location information. The ELD constantly collects and sends GPS and vehicle data in the records even if your driver is not connected to the Driver App.
- Satellite communication: It’s really important to evaluate the common communication channel when your trucks frequently go out of range. Satellite communication can be the best option for us in this case.
They can send and receive real-time data texts and emails from anywhere. They can be easily swapped between trucks as there is no wiring required in satellite communication.
- Cloud-based storage: With a wide range of data stored about the vehicle as well as the driver on a daily and hourly basis, it needs a vast storage system. Using a cloud storage system, data is transmitted and stored on remote storage systems, where it is maintained, managed, backed up, and made available to fleet managers during the time of inspection or audit.
TIPS TO USE AN ELD
- Update the status after picking up a new load.
- Login the information into ELD after crossing every border.
- Don’t forget to change the status of the e-log :
- OFF- When off-duty
- SB- Sleeping Berth
- D- While driving
- ON- On duty but not driving
It helps to stay compliant, con the pit-falls and get the most out of your trucking business.
After using ELD, you can have three reactions:
“I am going great”
“Will I ever get to know what it is?”
So whether you love them or loathe them, they have been a part of the commercial transportation system, so why not get the most out of it?
Rather than seeing it as an administrative burden, embracing the early adoption of the ELDs will ultimately maximize the business benefits in the trucking industry.
Learning the basic usage of ELDs would do wonders to your trucking business and you as well. This tell-all post will help you to learn about ELDs and how to operate them. Tell us about your experience with ELDs in the comments!