ELD (Electronic Logging Device)

What Is An ELD? Mandate and Facts

*Important Note*

If you still have yet to transition! The AOBRD Deadline to transition over to ELDs (Electronic Logging Devices) was Dec. 16, 2019 – Now is the time to act! Talk to us about an ELD solution

What is the ELD Mandate?

The ELD mandate, or ELD Final Rule, is a U.S. federal government regulation specifying that operators of commercial motor vehicles covered by this law will be required to use electronic logging devices, or ELDs.

These devices are designed to record data related to operation of the vehicle and to driver activity. The driver information mainly concerns hours of service, or HOS. Commercial truckers are restricted to a maximum number of hours they are allowed to drive between rest periods. HOS is a permanent record of driving hours, on-duty hours (when drivers are working but not driving) and rest time, over the course of a trip.
The ELD mandate requires replacing paper logs and an earlier type of recorder called an Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD) with automated ELD technology.

What does an ELD do?

ELD devices are designed to record data related to operation of the vehicle and to driver activity. The driver information mainly concerns hours of service, or HOS. Commercial truckers are restricted to a maximum number of hours they are allowed to drive between rest periods. HOS is a permanent record of driving hours, on-duty hours (when drivers are working but not driving) and rest time, over the course of a trip.

What is the new ELD law?

According to Business Insider: The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance confirmed that it would begin fully enforcing a new change to its unpopular electronic-logging-device (ELD) mandate on December 17, with no “soft enforcement” grace period for truckers to adapt to the new rules. 

The original mandate came into effect two years ago and was spearheaded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which oversees all of America’s commercial drivers, including its 1.8 million long-haul truckers. The agency said long-haul truck drivers needed to either use an electronic logging device or an automatic onboard recording device beginning in December 2017, and gave truck drivers a three month grace period to adapt to the rules. 

The latest change in the mandate says that truckers will no longer be allowed to use automatic onboard recording devices. And the CVSA, which is tasked with enforcing FMCSA regulations through roadside inspections, said it would enforce the latest change to the FMCSA’s mandate without any allowances made for drivers switching from the old onboard recording device to the electronic logging device. 

Who is Affected by the ELD Mandate?

Basically, the ELD mandate covers commercial driving operations that are required to keep hours of service records — that is, drivers or operators who were using paper logbooks before this rule was passed. 

Specifically, this includes:

  • Interstate commercial motor vehicle drivers currently required to keep RODS (record of duty status)
  • Vehicles that weigh more than 10,001 pounds
  • Vehicles with placarded hazmat loads
  • Vehicles carrying more than 8 or 15 passengers (depending on vehicle class).

Some vehicle classes and drivers are exempt from the rule. These are:

  • Drivers who operate within a 100-air-mile radius, who may continue to use timecards
  • Non-CDL (commercial driver license) freight drivers who operate within a 150-air-mile radius
  • “Drive-away, tow-away” operators
  • Vehicles manufactured before model year 2000.
  • Livestock and ag haulers 
What information does an ELD record?

The ELD automatically records the following data to keep records of duty status and help drivers track their driving limits and prevent fatigue related issues:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Location
  • Engine hours
  • Vehicle miles
  • Driver identification
  • User authentication
  • Vehicle
  • Motor carrier
How much does an ELD cost

In preparation for the ELD Mandate’s passing, the FMCSA examined a number of similar HOS logging devices on the market and set a benchmark for what fleets can expect to pay on an annual basis. (according to the ELD facts page)

What did they find?

Electronic logging devices ranged from an annualized price of $165 to $832, with the most popular device used today priced at $495/truck.

The FMCSA notes that while ELD prices haven’t come down drastically in the past few years, many providers are introducing less expensive fleet management system models that have features designed specifically for the ELD Mandate.

Based on this trend, and paired with the economic benefits that come from paperwork reductions, the FMCSA found the long-term savings ELDs deliver to be greater than the costs to motor carriers and drivers.

And, with the introduction of ELDs that run on smartphones or tablets as opposed to fixed hardware, start-up costs can be reduced further. No matter the size of the business – from independent owner/operator to large national carrier – return on investment is realized almost immediately. These types of ELD solutions also offer the added benefit of untethering the device from the cab, allowing truck drivers to take advantage of powerful data analytics and other mobile apps anytime, anywhere.

The FMCSA believes the total annual cost of ELD adoption will be $975 million, which includes all equipment for carriers and commercial truck inspectors, as well as inspector and driver training.

To be fair to the business changes ELDs can impact, another $604 million was budgeted for “extra drivers and CMVs needed to ensure that no driver exceeds HOS limits.”

All in, the net benefits of ELDs outweigh the costs with expected paperwork savings of over $1.6 billion annually, plus crash reduction costs of $395 million.


Electronic logging devices — Key features

The FMCSA has set out three main requirements for electronic logging devices. ELDs must conform to set technical specifications, be certified by the manufacturer, and registered with the FMCSA.

ELD solutions are typically offered in two formats: An all-in-one package including a device with a pre-loaded mobile app, or a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) solution which the carrier can put on their existing hardware (depending on compatibility). A smartphone or tablet can be used as part of the ELD solution provided that it meets FMCSA technical specifications and is certified and registered.

Features and functions of an ELD:

  • Internal synchronization with the engine control module
  • Automatically record driving time and details
  • Records location
  • Electronic data transfer: telematic (wireless or email) or local (USB 2.0 or Bluetooth)
  • Tamper prevention
  • Certification of driver records (at end of each 24 hr period)
  • Displays report for safety officials on-demand (on screen or print-out)
  • User manual
  • Audio controls (volume and mute)
How do I know if an electronic logging device is compliant?

The FMCSA doesn’t guarantee that any registered device is compliant to the ELD guidelines. Under the regulations, the ELD provider/manufacturer certifies their own device — not the FMCSA — and then registers it. Self-certification means that ELD providers are responsible for verifying that their ELD solution meets the technical specifications set forth in the ELD rule.

The FMCSA keeps a list of self-certified and registered ELDs on their website. However, it should be noted that even if a provider/manufacturer appears on the list of Registered ELDs, this is not 100% certainty that the ELD is compliant to the rule. Therefore, buyers are advised to do their own research on ELD providers to verify quality, reliability, and security.

In the event that a registered electronic logging device is found to be non-compliant, the FMCSA may remove the device from the registered list.

What are the benefits of ELDs?

ELDs have many important benefits for carriers extending from fleet compliance to productivity and efficiency. Most importantly, electronic logging will improve the driver safety. The FMCSA has estimated that it will save 26 lives and prevent over 1,800 vehicle crashes annually. By enforcing stronger compliance to Hours of Service regulations, ELDs may help reduce driver fatigue as well.

ELDs can help save time and money. They simplify the process of keeping Records of Duty Status (RODS) and increase the efficiency of inspections so carriers can dramatically reduce the amount of time that truck drivers and administrators spend on paperwork. Eliminating paper logbooks also minimizes the risk of errors in record-keeping.

ELD benefits for carriers:

  • Increase driver safety and save lives.
  • Automated Recording of Duty Status — By automatically recording duty status for drivers, HOS compliance can be improved.
  • More drive time — Drivers no longer have to fill out and submit paper RODS.
  • Less administration — Office staff no longer have to process paper RODS.
  • Lower paper costs — Paper log books are no longer necessary.

Extended benefits of electronic logging:

  • Support for IFTA and IRP mileage reporting
  • Vehicle inspection reporting
  • Fuel usage monitoring
  • Engine fault reporting — Allows for proactive vehicle maintenance.
  • Driver safety monitoring
  • Receipt and invoice scanning
  • Access to real-time data — ELDs provide a lifeline to data that can be used to increase overall fleet productivity and efficiency.
How does my driver view his driver logs and reports

Wireless links ELD solution is extremely simple to use and operate. 

In the DriverLog app, your driver’s main screen is the current and remaining on-duty status for the shift and cycle.

For Road-Side Inspections, DriverLog makes it safe and easy to approach DOT inspections with ease with a password protected officer view.

Can I use Wireless Links ELD without cellular data?

We enable fleets to meet the ELD mandate without incurring additional cellular data costs by connecting via the in-cabin WiFi Hotspot of the telematics device and uploading the HOS data to the cloud.

What cycle rules does Wireless Links support?

Our DriverLog ELD solution is compliant with Federal, Texas, & California rules and with the Canadian DOT rulings with auto-switch between the two.

Is a mechanic required for installation?

No. A mechanic is not required for installation. The ELD comes with a cable that plugs into the vehicle’s diagnostic port. The ELD unit sits on top of the dash.

Does the Wireless Links ELD support co-driving or team driving?

Yes. DriverLog seamlessly logs duty status for co-drivers. Co-drivers are able to access their data so they can view their logs or see how much time they have remaining, even while the driver’s logs continue to run. Switching between team drivers is as simple as clicking a button.

How can fleet admins see the driving data?

Wireless Links provides easy access to fleet admins through an easy to use dashboard.

The dashboard provides complete visibility of the current status of every driver in the HOS shift and cycle. The dashboard allows you to measure and improve efficiency with rich reports, delivering key HOS insights to your fingerprints.

Is their a report for IFTA?

Driverlog ELD provides automated IFTA fuel tax reporting- including total distance driven, breakdown of toll and non-toll roads driven in each state, and fuel purchases. You can auto-email the report to your inbox at the end of every quarter.

Why is now the time to transition to an ELD?

Beyond the implications for finding yourself in early 2020 in front of a DOT officer with a noncompliant system, there are very strong business-reasons to make the move to ELD sooner rather than later.

The strongest reason is that this is your chance to implement a fleet management solution, in case you don’t have one yet.

A fleet management solution such as the one we offer with features including driver behavior, engine diagnostics and live tracking, transforms data from your fleet into valuable information to help your company make and save money.

Fleet management systems (FMS) offer comprehensive features (which deliver more significant benefits), allowing fleets to further slash costs and make life easier for drivers, including:

  • Decreased Fuel Costs: By monitoring excessive truck idle times or speeding events, fleets can build incentive programs for truck drivers that help increase fuel efficiency.
  • Reduced Truck Downtime: Fleet management system users can see reduced vehicle downtimes of 15% and improved vehicle utilization of 13%, according to studies by the Aberdeen Group.
  • Lowered Total Crash Rates: Based on data from the Center for Truck and Bus Safety of Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, drivers using E-Logs had a significantly lower total crash rate (a 11.7% reduction) and a significantly lower preventable crash rate (a 5.1% reduction) than trucks not equipped with electronic driver logs.
  • Simplified Regulatory Compliance: While complying with the ELD Mandate, other regulations can also be easily satisfied, including Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports and IFTA.
  • Lowered insurance costs: While complying with the ELD Mandate, you can imlplement a Fleet DashCam to monitor driver behavior and exonerate your drivers in case of an accident.

Don’t wait for the last minute to become compliant! We offer the highest-rated FMCSA and Canadian DOT compliant ELD devices & solutions. Our ELD solutions can be stand-alone ELD or a combined, total solution with fleet management including driver behavior, temperature monitoring and engine diagnostics. Take a look at our BlueLink ELD solution.

*Click here to read about The Canadian ELD (ELOG) Mandate Deadline & HOS Rules

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