Truck Electronic Logging Device (ELD): Here’s All You Need to Know

A few years ago, Electronic Logging Device (ELD) was a technology reserved only for large logistics and trucking corporations. Eventually, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of the USA saw its utility and made it mandatory for all commercial motor vehicles in the country. In early 2019, they passed the mandate that made it compulsory for all commercial bus and truck drivers to install ELD in their vehicles. 

But what are ELDs, and how do they work? And how does it benefit your company and the drivers? We will answer all these questions in this comprehensive guide. So, let’s shed more light on this topic. 

What is a Truck Electronic Logging Device?

Truck Electronic Logging Device, or simply ELD, is a tracker installed within the trucks to track the Hours of Service (HOS). In addition to that, it also captures the Record of Duty Status (RODS). When the FMCSA introduced the eld mandate, it faced some backlash. But drivers eventually understood that this device protected them from overworking themselves to exhaustion. 

While electronic logging devices are mandatory, they do not introduce an additional layer of government regulation. It only makes it easier to track and record existing metrics. 

An ELD connects to the truck’s engine. Consequently, it records driver logs and driving activity based on the engine’s activity. Another tablet is attached inside the cabin that displays this information and other metrics.  This allows the drivers to see real-time data about their working hours. You can also present the tablet to police personnel during scheduled roadside inspections. 

The fleet management software lets the dispatchers, management, and relevant personnel easily access the Hours of Service (HOS) and Record of Duty Status (RODS). They can utilize the driver data to generate reports, review statuses, and create compliant routes. 

What Data does it Record?

The main purpose of electronic logging devices is to record the Hours Of Service (HOS). Hours Of Service log includes the hours a driver spends driving and their on-duty and off-duty hours every week. The federal government regulates this information and reprimands anyone that violates the terms. 

But since ELDs are sophisticated devices, you can tune and modify them to collect much more data for your fleet management and route optimization software. For this reason, sometimes, you will hear dispatchers referring to it as telematics. 

Besides the HOS and Record of Duty Status (RODS) tracking, ELDs come with gyroscopes, accelerometers, and GPS data trackers. So, it can track engine speed, real-time GPS location, fuel efficiency, mileage, and even harsh braking. Some of the top-end ELDs can send full diagnostics of the vehicle to you. 

How does Truck ELD Work?

The ELD can be attached to commercial vehicles with a simple procedure. You can prepare your device and plug it into the Onboard Diagnostics (OBD) port. 

Once done, the device will automatically pull the data about engine, fuel, mileage, and distance covered directly from the system. Electronic logging devices also have GPS trackers to determine precise vehicle locations. 

More advanced ELDs can even show the real-time location of your trucks. Some ELDs are equipped with accelerometers and gyroscopes which can detect harsh braking, rough cornering, and even accidents. 

It can send alerts to the fleet management software, and the dispatcher can contact the driver to fix their driving style. For roadside vehicle inspections, ELDs can provide up-to-date data to inspectors for verification with a single click. 

7 Best ELD Devices for Truck Owners

Here are the top 7 ELD devices that excellently fit most commercial vehicles. The best electronic logging device depends on your specific requirements. All of these follow the ELD compliance and FMCSA compliance to help you stick to the service regulations.

1. Linxup ELD solution

The Linxup ELD does more than just keep you conformed to the ELD mandate and changing regulations. To begin with, it sends the fleet managers updates about what their commercial drivers are doing. Moreover, detailed reports and important alerts are automatically sent to the fleet management software. 

You can also receive real-time tracking data from Linxup’s GPS. However, there are no systems for offline tracking. The device costs around $300, and the monthly fee varies from $29.99 to $49.99 per driver. 

2. Motive ELD solution

Even though Motive comes under the list of ELD devices, it is not hardware. It is software that you can easily download onto your mobile phones and tablets. This makes it much more economical than some of the other devices on the list. 

The software is intuitive and designed for drivers still getting used to ELD systems. But your drivers need smart devices compliant with ELD technical specifications to make the most out of it. 

3. ERoad ELD

ERoad ELD, one of the best eld solutions, edges out some of its competitors with its aggressive pricing. Of course, they had to remove some additional features to make it viable at this price point. Still, the price-to-feature ratio is incredible for delivery companies that have just started growing their businesses. 

The durability, dependability, and accuracy of this ELD are also highly rated. ERoad also has an excellent customer support team backing their product. 

4. Trimble ELD

Trimble ELD is one of the top-rated ELD providers with an amazing UI. Drivers do not need elaborate software training to learn to use the device. The user interface is intuitive, and the drivers can easily navigate through the system. 

The fleet owners also get a ton of information from the software and can easily integrate it with their route planners. However, Trimble ELD is quite expensive, priced at $1200 per device with a monthly fee of $43 per driver.

5. BigRoad DashLink ELD

If you want an ELD provider without all the advanced features, you can opt for the BigRoad DashLink ELD. You can easily fit the device in your trucks. BigRoad pairs its device with its native driver app. It is incredibly user-friendly and supports two-way messaging. As a result, fleet managers can send alerts direct to drivers. They have also eliminated the upfront costs to make hardware installation more affordable. 

6. Konexial MY20 ELD

Like Motive ELD, Konexial is an app you can download directly onto your phone. One of the best features of Konexial MY20 is that it is also compatible with iOS devices. This ELD best suits independent truck drivers who want to keep their documentation up-to-date. But it can also be customized to monitor larger fleets. 

7. Samsara ELD

Samsara has become the go-to compliant ELD device for people managing smaller fleets. It efficiently fulfills the ELD mandate compliance. They offer top-of-the-line ELD features at a highly affordable price. 

Samsara software is cloud-based, and you can easily integrate it with other route planning software. The fleet manager also gets a bird’s eye view of all the vehicles. However, it needs a constant connection to stay online. 

Benefits of Truck Electronic Logging device

1. Lower administrative load 

ELD solutions reduce a lot of paperwork by automatically recording and tracking vehicles’ movement. The drivers and fleet owners do not have to get together to verify the hours of service (HOS) and Record of Duty Status (RODS). The systems automatically tally for the organization. As a result, you save a lot of resources. 

2. Timely vehicle diagnosis 

Since the ELD system is connected onboard diagnostic port, it can automatically detect all the fault codes. As a result, you can always stay ahead of these concerns. Some ELDs can send highly detailed driver vehicle inspection reports about these problems to the fleet management system. 

If your fleet management system is well-equipped, you can spot trends by comparing the current problems with historical ones. Accordingly, you can achieve higher productivity while lowering vehicle downtimes. 

3. Better fuel efficiency

The ELD system regularly monitors the vehicle’s engine. It can also monitor when the engine is idling and burning unnecessary fuel. The ELD will send automatic alerts to the fleet management systems and flag drivers regularly repeating this behavior. Furthermore, the fleet manager can send notifications to the driver via the compliant electronic logging device to switch off their engines during long stops. 

4. Identify inefficient drivers 

The in-built accelerometers and gyroscope can easily identify driving behaviors and simplify compliance. Excessive acceleration, extreme corners, and hard braking can all be determined through the ELD. Again, the fleet management solutions will flag the drivers who are doing this frequently. 

Using this information, you can comprehensively list your best and worst drivers. You can incentivize the top drivers to continue their driving style. Publicly showering them with praise will also reduce the driver churn rate. And you can provide training to the bad drivers. Identifying and removing high-risk drivers from the road decreases your liability and prevents road accidents. 

Integrate Your System with Upper for Quick Data Transfer 

Upper Route Planner has an incredible API integration feature. This means you can easily integrate our software with other fleet management software or ELD to maximize their capability. 

Regardless of your ELD subscription, you can rely on Upper to increase its potential. With efficient route planning and optimization, you can easily improve your delivery or pickup times. 

1. Route planning 

Route planning

While electronic logging devices are good at tracking the daily routes of the driver, they cannot find the best possible route for deliveries. Upper eliminates those obstacles by providing the best routes that help you get more daily deliveries done.  

2. Lower vehicle costs

ELD solutions can reduce fuel costs by notifying the drivers when they keep their engines idling. With Upper, you further decrease the fuel cost by finding the most efficient routes for delivery, so your drivers spend less time on the road and more time delivering.

3. Accurate ETA

You can easily integrate the real-time tracking capabilities of ELD into the Upper Route Planner. Of course, the management can use it to keep track of their drivers at all times. But you can also use this feature to send automatic notifications and ETA of your deliveries to your customers to prevent failed deliveries.

Try Upper’s 7-day free trial to see how it works for you as far as multi-stop deliveries are concerned.

Find Efficient Routes Instantly on Upper

Create a route plan with a few clicks and get cost-effective routes in a matter of seconds. Let Upper ensure your drivers spend less time on road and reach the destination 3x faster.

FAQs

No, towaway trucks or delivery drivers who work less than 8 days in the last 30 days, and vehicles manufactured before 2000 are exempt from this mandate. Everyone else has to install ELD in their commercial trucks.

The average price of ELD is around $500 per truck. Depending on the company, the subscription charges for the software can vary.

Yes, you can use your phone as an ELD, provided it meets all the ELD mandate’s technical specifications. However, you will need to mount your phone to a solid object within the vehicle to use it as an ELD.

If your pickup truck has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of over 10,000 pounds, you will need to get an ELD for your pickup truck.

Conclusion

ELDs not only increase road safety but also act as compliance tools for the commercial trucking industry. Electronic logging devices come with numerous advantages but lacks real-time tracking, driving behavior tracking, timely vehicle diagnostics, and more. 

As a business owner, you can install them in your commercial motor vehicle to avoid overriding regulatory compliance or paying hefty fines. 

Integration of your ELD with Upper can lead to efficient driver performance. This means you driver will spend less time on the road, achieve delivery targets, and you will have lower vehicle costs.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel is the founder and CEO of Upper Route Planner. A subject matter expert in building simple solutions for day-to-day problems, Rakesh has been involved in technology for 30+ years. Looking to help delivery businesses eliminate on-field delivery challenges, Rakesh started Upper Route Planner with the ultimate goal of simplistic operations in mind.

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