An Electronic Logging Device (ELD) is used to automatically record the driving time and Hours of Service (HOS) records of drivers operating commercial motor vehicles. In today’s technology driven world, ELDs are mandatory for fleet vehicles and other commercial trucks.
ELDs can record and monitor a vast amount of data, from Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR) to driver behaviour on hard braking, speeding and idling time. Advanced ELDs have support for map and route integrations which can aid drivers navigate around high traffic and congestion zones. Some of the benefits of installing ELDs are listed below.
- Reduces the hassle of keeping a paper log.
- Saves drive time by reducing unnecessary paperwork.
- Keeps a dispatcher up-to-date on a driver’s status (HOS compliance).
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is well aware of the cost burden on fleets when it comes to installing ELDs. Knowing that it may not be feasible for small fleets, the FMCSA has allowed the use of smartphones, tablets and other handheld devices as long as it meets the ELD requirements.
How do Electronic Logging Devices Work?
Once the ELD is installed, it will automatically record the following data to help drivers track duty status and prevent fatigue related concerns such as the time and date, vehicle miles, engine hours, vehicle make and model, location, driver identification, fleet authentication and distance travelled.
Certain ELD manufacturers offer cloud compatibility. Here, the ELD system uses cloud computing to ensure precise, reliable and stable flow of data. Cloud ELDs will consist of a telematics device (vehicle tracking) that connects the vehicle to a fleet management software and a mobile app. This app can be accessed through a smartphone with an active internet connection to send and receive information.
The telematics device will collect and send engine data as well as GPS location to a server which can be accessed by fleet managers to analyze, monitor and check compliance with reports, maps, etc. This process is cyclic so that Hours of Service and driving data is constantly updated.
The FMCSA Compliance Requirements of ELDs
ELD solutions for fleet vehicles are offered in two main types which are listed below.
- An all-in-one ELD which includes a device with a mobile app, this is a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) solution where the fleet can use their existing hardware without upgrading.
- Another ELD solution, integrates a smartphone or tablet which can be used as long as it meets the technical specifications of the FMCSA and is certified.
The FMCSA compliance requires all ELDs to meet the following conditions listed below.
- To record driving time and details automatically.
- To record and track location.
- To display official reports for safety inspectors on demand.
- To have internal synchronization with the engine control module.
- To be tamper resistant.
- To have audio controls (volume and mute).
- To contain certification of driver records at end of each 24 hour period.
- To allow electronic data transfer (email or wireless) or local data transfer (through USB access, NFC or Bluetooth).
The Main Features of GPS Fleet Tracking Softwares
A GPS fleet tracking software can provide business owners and fleet managers with valuable insights to increase driver safety, schedule maintenance, increase productivity and reduce fuel costs. Some of the main features are listed below.
GPS fleet tracking can display accurate location tracking. With good time management, more efficient routes can be planned, more deliveries can be scheduled and delivery times can be better estimated. Also, a GPS-enabled fleet tracking system can allow fleet managers to locate and redirect vehicles on route according to customer requests.
Fleet managers and dispatchers can access any of the fleet’s vehicle locations. Using GPS tracking enables more flexibility and boosts efficiency and productivity for the entire fleet. A vehicle can be located without any driver involvement just by pulling up the app which provides the customer with more accurate pick-up and drop-off times.
Vehicle Search and Dispatch
Fleet management softwares integrated with GPS fleet tracking allows dispatchers to check vehicle locations on a single screen and use the information to determine the closest vehicle to the drop-off point. Being able to make quick decisions based on real-time locations can result in saving time, increasing fleet efficiency and reducing fuel expenditure.
When a fleet vehicle is parked for the night or during the off-season, it can be vulnerable to unauthorized usage or theft. WIth GPS tracking, fleet management softwares can alert the monitoring staff on any unauthorized movement such as if the vehicle engine has been started outside of compliance hours, if the vehicle has left a particular geofencing area or in the case of theft where the fleet manager will receive real-time notifications. This vehicle location data can be given to the concerned authorities who will recover the stolen vehicle as they know its whereabouts.
Utilizing all features a GPS tracking software has to offer can see a large improvement in your fleet. Certain fleet management softwares offer fleets with Safety Analytics. This measures the level of driver safety and can identify high risk drivers before an incident occurs by factoring issues such as hard braking, overspeeding, traffic violations, etc. Driver scorecards can be implemented to encourage good driver behavior and to exercise corrective action to prevent recurring incidents.
When driving massive haulers on expressways or main roads, it is immensely important for drivers to remain diligent in order to keep other truck drivers and road users safe.