The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) is the device attached to the vehicle engine, which provides the real-time location of vehicles, monitors driving behavior, and sends time-to-time notifications. The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) works in sync with robust software to collect and analyze data that indicates vehicle performance, fuel efficiency, and service needs. The ELD records the driver’s Hours of Service (HoS) and generates electronic logs for monitoring and analysis. It provides relevant data about the vehicle and driving performance that helps make timely and informed decisions. With this fast evolving technology, fleet owners can now meet the basic requirements of compliance, safety, and profitability.
The ELD Mandate
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), has introduced a mandate to use the ELD in commercial vehicles that can access, record, and share vehicle and driver-related information. Electronic Logging devices are FMCSA-compliant and DOT-certified technology solutions to comply with the automated data collection and reporting requirements. It helps monitor risky driving behaviors, road conditions, traffic rules, and safety norms. It maintains historical records and reports that are mandatory to ensure compliance requirements of fleet operations.
The Reason Behind The ELD Mandate
The objective of introducing the ELD mandate was to replace the existing system of manual log preparation, which involved a lot of time and paperwork. The automated report generation facilities provide more accurate information in a much shorter time, easily accessible on a digital platform. The mandate also says that all vehicles must use electronic logging devices to maintain safe working practices, record Hours of Service rules, and reduce driver fatigue. The recording of drivers’ Hours of Service (HoS) also prevents employers from engaging drivers beyond certain hours. The mandate intends to make a system with minimum human intervention, resulting in better productivity and efficiency.
The ELD Specifications
The FMCSA has laid down specifications for ELD that fulfills compliance criteria for commercial vehicles. These are as follows:
- The ELD must be certified by FMCSA to meet the required technical specifications.
- The ELD has to be connected to the vehicle engine to collect the engine data.
- The ELD should record the driver’s duty status (on-duty, off-duty, not driving).
- The ELD should maintain and transmit data in a prescribed format for viewing and analysis.
- The ELD should provide driving hours to enable drivers and authorities to track the duty status.
ELD Guidelines For Drivers
The FMCSA has laid down guidelines for drivers to help them comply with the ELD mandate. These are as follows:
- The ELD must comply with specified standards and parameters.
- The drivers must keep the necessary supporting documents with them.
- There are defined criteria for drivers who should comply with the ELD mandate.
- There are defined steps that drivers need to follow to remain compliant and avoid violations.
The driver-operator needs to have all ELD-recorded Records of Duty Status (RODS) data and backup data for the past six months, which may need to be made available to FMCSA.
ELD Compliance Exemptions
Like all regulations, ELD compliance does not apply to all vehicles, and there are some exemptions. The following vehicle categories are exempted from the proposed ELD mandate by FMCSA.
- Vehicles with an engine manufactured before 2000.
- Trucks are moving through certain localized short-haul operations.
- Drivers who drive another car for sale, lease, or repair.
- Operators who don’t require to maintain the Records of Duty Status.
- Drivers who keep RODS for eight days or less for 30 days.
Consequences of Breaking The ELD Mandate
The commercial vehicles affected by the ELD mandate must know how to comply with the regulation and what penalties they may face in case of violations. If a driver fails to pass the roadside inspection for not having a compliant ELD, the consequence will be as follows:
- A report from the inspector for failing to maintain the record of duty status.
- The driver will remain out of service for 10 or 8 hours if the vehicle is a passenger carrier.
- Once back in service, the driver should complete the current trip using paper logs.
· After completion of the trip, the driver must install and use an ELD before the next trip.
Selecting The Best ELD
An ideal ELD solution offers several benefits to the fleet business by helping them streamline operations and optimize costs. You need to analyze the features and benefits provided by the ELD that best suit your requirements. The various properties of ELD that fleet business owners look for are as follows:
- Real-time location update: The ELD should track the accurate location and movement of trucks.
- Accurate reporting: The ELD should record data related to HoS, engine diagnostics, and driving performance and prepare accurate reports based on an actual scenario.
- Monitor driving behavior: The ELD should be capable of monitoring the speed limit, idling conditions, or crossing of defined boundaries and accordingly raise notifications.
- Vehicle diagnostics: The ELD has to collect data to prepare reports on engine performance and fuel efficiency and provide relevant inputs regarding technical issues and potential faults.
An Electronic Logging Device provides a reliable monitoring system to help maintain better control over fleet operations. The real-time access and analysis of data help managers make informed decisions toward ensuring better productivity, profitability, and customer service. The reports on vehicle performance and service requirements help managers proactively resolve technical issues and avoid any chances of breakdown and unnecessary repairs. The enforcement of ELD is becoming stricter, so it is necessary to stay aware and updated about the rules and regulations and the impact of non-compliance. The ELD mandate has driven several truck operators to upgrade to an ELD-compliant fleet tracking system. An ELD-based system will handle report generation, monitoring working hours, route planning, and many more. It helps the fleet business stay safe, efficient, and compliant saves fuel costs, and ensures better asset utilization.