The US and Canadian governments have mandated that all fleets should transition from paper logs to digital logging systems. This means that fleets will have to acquire Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) to avoid the harsh penalties imposed on non-compliant fleets.
While you may think compliance is the only benefit you will get out of ELDs, these devices offer additional features to ease fleet operations and management. To ensure you don’t miss these benefits, we have compiled a list of features that every fleet should look for when choosing an ELD provider.
This guide also covers some of the key aspects of electronic logging devices that you need to understand before making your final decision about which ELD provider to choose for your fleet.
What is an Electronic Logging Device?
An electronic logging device (ELD) is a device that automatically records driving time for commercial motor vehicle drivers. It electronically records a driver’s hours of service (HOS) and automatically transmits these logs to a fleet management solution. The data is accessible by drivers and fleet managers through an app or web portal.
The device connects to a truck's engine and records vehicle movement, in addition to other vehicle-specific information like miles traveled and engine status.
ELDs came out of a long-standing concern that drivers were not recording their Hours of Service accurately and pushing themselves beyond what is safe.
ELD requirements in the USA and Canada
USA ELD Requirements
ELD Providers need to self-certify and ascertain that their ELDs meet all the specifications stipulated in the ELD Rule.
The rule demands that there should be an electronic data transfer from the ELD, to authorized safety officials during roadside inspections. Further, an ELD should be tested and verified by the vendor and registered with FMCSA to be compliant.
Apart from the ones exempted from the rule, all commercial drivers must have compliant ELDs to capture their hours of service. Failure to comply will attract possible criminal citations, fines, and out-of-service orders, on the drivers.
Moreover, ELDs must connect directly to the truck's engine so they can't be turned off unless the vehicle is out of service.
This system allows drivers to certify their logs remotely and gives law enforcement officers access to this data during roadside inspections. In addition, the device is required to capture vehicle operational parameters and the position.
ELD Requirements in Canada
Commercial drivers must comply with an hour of service rules and keep a record of duty status through a certified ELD, to enhance road safety in Canada.
For an ELD to be certified, it needs to be verified by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA), in line with the Technical Standard of Electronic Logging Devices.
Motor carriers can access a list of certified devices on the Transport Canada Website to ascertain whether an ELD provider is compliant.
ELDs are always required to retrieve and show the Engine Control Module (ECM) on the device usage, which safety officials will use to review compliance. In addition, the officials will use the display to check the driver’s Records OF Duty Status, or they may opt to print out the report for a review.
Further, the ELD must be configured to not more than eight kilometers per hour, in-motion state. The configuration is in line with the requirement that the device automatically switches to in-motion status, whenever the commercial vehicle moves at eight kilometers per hour and above.
Moreover, drivers can use a portable ELD or any other wireless device such as a smartphone, as long it meets the requirement. If the driver opts to use a mobile device, it should be fixed at a position where the driver can get a full view from the driver's seat during commercial operations.
On the exemption policy, carriers are exempted from logging rest breaks if they drive in personal conveyance status. When driving on personal conveyance status, drivers must add a note in their e-logs indicating the cause of the switch. In addition, the Canadian ELD limits driving by conveyance to 75 kilometers per day.
How to choose the right ELD for your fleet?
Getting your fleet ready for ELD compliance is crucial if you want to avoid disruptions to your operations and fines. But you can do more than just comply with the law. You can also take the opportunity to consider features that will help make your fleet run smoothly.
When it comes to choosing an ELD, there are some key features you need to look out for. These include hours of service (HOS) compliance and vehicle telematics, as well as additional features that make fleet management easier.
Advanced safety features:
Some ELDs have advanced safety inspection features— giving fleets complete visibility on alarming safety threats such as speeding or unsafe driving. Such features include dash cams, which record all activities going on the road.
GPS tracking features:
ELDs with telematics systems can improve operations. With GPS tracking, fleets can offer better customer service. In a breakdown, fleets can avail service teams and provide better navigation routes.
Information sharing systems offered by the ELD:
When choosing an ELD, pay attention to the communication features provided. ELDs that allow sharing essential data and documents such as proof of delivery documents and receipts are preferable. In addition, the ELD should enable fleet managers to communicate through the app effectively.
Real-time vehicle performance and IFTA reports:
Fleets often spend tons of back-office hours compiling IFTA fuel reports. Having an ELD with the capacity to give these reports could see such time utilized in other developmental tasks and save resources in the long run. The ELD should also alert the fleet in case of a dysfunction in the vehicle. These alerts are crucial in avoiding unexpected maintenance downtimes and accidents.
Reviews from other users:
Even if an ELD checks out on all other requirements, you need to look at other users' experience with the service. Reviews give you a snapshot of what to expect from the provider, as they cover both the ups and downs.