Understanding Truck Electronic Log Devices (ELD)
There has been a lot of buzz regarding the introduction of Electronic Log Devices (ELD) rule. From recent studies, it has been identified that most of the drivers have mixed emotions when it comes to the usage of electronic logs when compared to paper logs. In other words, some drivers prefer electronic logs whereas others prefer to stick to the paper logs. People who are used to paper logs find it a challenging task to move to paper logs as well.
What is the Electronic Log Device, or ELD?
The simplest of explanations, ELD is the solution that enables drivers in the transportation industry easily track the hours of service to maintain HOS compliance. All CDL drivers will be required to use an ELD by December 2017 in order to maintain records in order to stay in compliance with the Hours of Service rule.
What does the Electronic Log Device need to do?
There are specific technical qualifications that each added device must feature:
- It must connect to the engine of the truck to ensure it records when the truck is in motion
- The driver must be able to log in and select On-duty, or On-duty Not Driving – must be automatically selected based on the movement of the truck
- The device must be able to display a Record of Duty Status to ensure the driver can easily see hours in a day
- Provide data that can be sent out to law enforcement
- Ensure the device meets the appropriate stipulation
Using an ELD to save time
The most prominent benefit associated with electronic logs is the ability to pre-plan all the trips in advance. This will assist the truck drivers to stay away from frustration and make their lives easy. On average, a truck driver fills out 240 RODS in a given year. An ELD can potentially reduce the amount of time drivers take to log their Hours of Service by up to 19 hours per year.
It can also help them to save a considerable amount of money throughout the entire journey. As a result, it would financially benefit the trucking company in the long run. This helps debunk the common misconception that the incorporation of ELDs will increase the likelihood of owner/operators out of business due to the perceived cost to get things in order. After making the switch to the ELDs, you won’t be required to round up to the nearest 15 minutes, but instead to the nearest minute resulting in more accurate miles logged.
What can I expect to pay to incorporate an ELD?
Years ago many fleets paid upwards of $2,500 per device. Today, technology and performance has only gotten better and more affordable. As hardware costs have decreased the prices for the common ELD have dropped significantly. FMCSA estimates that the cost of an ELD will be $495 per truck on an average annual basis.
Am I being watched?
Many assume that the information will be transmitted to law enforcement and/or DOT automatically. The truth is an ELD is simply replacing the paper logbook. No data is being transmitted to trigger any violations. There are also privacy provisions in place to give the drivers more peace of mind. When it comes down to it, the DOT will not be playing big brother to monitor your every move. It will allow a faster roadside inspection and maintain a higher level of accuracy.
Will my smartphone work as an ELD?
A smartphone or tablet by itself will not suffice to meet ELD requirements. In order to meet compliance, the device must be certified and synchronized with the vehicle’s engine.
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