What is ELD & Why It is Mostly Used by Delivery Businesses?

Many businesses around the world are unaware and usually ask what is ELD. This is because businesses are in dire need of a solution that monitors their fleet’s performance and records it simultaneously. Plus, there are also other factors such as mandates at play here. 

The mandate for an electronic logging device has been going global with countries like Canada mandating electronic logging devices. Making something mandatory on such a large scale is not a small move.

Surely governments around the globe have a strong reason to move forward with such a decision. This is why it is important to understand what an electronic logging device is and why delivery businesses have started using it.

What is an Electronic Logging Device?

An electronic logging device is like an onboard paper log of all commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver activities. An ELD device monitors data such as vehicle speed, GPS location data, trip distance, and more depending on the eld provider. 

With an electronic logging device you have the ability to transfer ELD data wirelessly in an instant to the concerned parties, eliminating the need for drivers to manually enter it in the depot. The ELD final rule requires commercial motor vehicles to have an ELD record of duty status (RODS)

Since it automatically records driving activity, it is technically considered tamper-proof and fit for a federal eld mandate. A device that ensures driver compliance with service regulations is invaluable to both businesses and governments alike.

How Does an electronic logging device work?

If you are wondering how ELD systems record and collect so much data with ease, then you would not be alone as many others wonder the same. ELD devices connect directly to the engine control module of commercial motor vehicles. 

Because they are basically connected to the vehicle’s engine, they can read and transfer critical engine data in real time.  They also have their own in-built navigation system that allows for real-time location data. 

All this ELD data is stored automatically in real time. Truck drivers can also choose to manually enter data in case the ELD system fails to record data on its own. This flexibility given by automatic onboard recording devices is highly beneficial to many companies. 

What is the Cost of an Electronic Logging Device?

Typically an electronic logging device can cost anywhere between $100 – $2000 depending on the variation that you opt for.

Let us look at the multitude of factors that affect the price of your electronic logging device. 

1. Features

While going with an electronic logging device that meets the bare minimum requirements of the ELD mandate is fine, some opt to go for an ELD with better technical specifications. The more features an electronic logging device offers, the more expensive it usually is. 

Some ELDs will also have subscription plans to give you additional information about your deliveries. While most companies do give analytics for no additional costs, there are still some that choose to adopt a subscription model. 

2. Quantity

The amount of ELDs you buy can greatly swing your costs, as ELD providers usually sell them at a cheaper rate if you buy enough of them at once. This is because it is expensive to build proprietary equipment for such a small consumer base.

After the ELD mandate, prices are expected to go down, though they might still rise because of the additional demand. This is why you see bigger fleets acquire electronic logging devices faster when compared to individual buyers. 

3. Additional hardware

Some ELD providers might make you buy additional proprietary hardware in order to use your ELD device. This additional hardware is usually a mobile device such as a phone or tablet used to give users portable manual controls. 

However, this is not always the case as most ELD providers allow you to connect your regular mobile device to the electronic logging device. This process gives a commercial driver full control of the driver’s duty status without an extra dime in costs. 

4. Installation

Since the ELD has to be installed directly into the commercial motor vehicle’s engine, the installation process can be confusing and complex for truck drivers. Most ELD companies do offer to take over the task of installing an ELD for an extra fee of course. 

Labor costs dominate the majority of the installation fees and for good reason. This is because the person installing the electronic logging device will have to deal with any complications that arise during the installation process.

How an ELD Benefits Delivery Companies?

Even before any mandates from the motor carrier safety administration, many delivery companies were investing heavily in ELD systems. This is because ELD providers have always made their devices offer a wide range of specific benefits for delivery businesses.

1. Automatic duty status records

Any Delivery company can benefit tremendously when they use an electronic logging device for many reasons, though one of the biggest reasons is ELD records of duty status. With these records in hand, companies can keep track of the driver’s hours of Service (HOS) in real time.

They can also analyze delivery performance and optimize their delivery process to make their fleet efficiency better. Companies also don’t risk losing any data in case the driver forgets their delivery status, as the electronic logging device stores duty status logs automatically. 

2. Increased driver safety

Delivery Companies also make an impact on driver safety by using electronic logging devices, as they increase fleet compliance with safety regulations. When drivers know that their status is being monitored they are more likely to drive in a more responsible way.

Even the tiniest accident can cause massive issues for motor carriers, this is why they keep safety as their highest priority and opt for an ELD solution for their fleet. 

3. Less cost spent on fleet 

When you have an electronic logging device on board, there is no need for individual truckers to pay a visit to the depot to report their progress. With an electronic logging device, you can simply transfer those details wirelessly, saving dispatchers a lot of time and stress. 

Since these devices connect directly to the engines of commercial vehicles, they basically become tamper-free allowing companies to be confident in their readings. Knowing that the driver records have not been tampered with, compliance managers are put at ease.

Why are Countries Enforcing an ELD Mandate?

It is easy to understand the benefits that an ELD holds for business though the benefits for governments across the globe are not so clear at first. This is because the reasons for governments mandating an ELD are very similar when compared to businesses.

Mandating ELD on all commercial vehicles is a massive step for any nation, this is why it is important to understand why they went forward with it. The federal motor carrier safety administration has likely mandated the use of electronic logging devices considering the following factors. 

1. Ensuring road safety

 The fatigue faced by commercial drivers is indeed very real and dangerous. If a truck driver even accidentally falls asleep during their shift, then they can cause some serious damage to property, civilians, or themselves. 

This is why having driver logs is crucial to ensure that they are in the right condition to operate such a massive machine. Making an ELD rule helped the government increase ELD compliance. Limiting the working hours of drivers can decrease risky driving behavior. 

2. Keeping track of interstate vehicles 

Incidents of suspicious activity being conducted through states are not an uncommon issue. Though finding a solution for it is no easy task. With the help of an electronic logging device, law enforcement would have an easier time tracking and resolving any suspicious activity.

This can also protect the driver from any false claims of misconduct. The duty status from an ELD is usually enough to clear the names of commercial drivers from false accusations. This is all thanks to an electronic logging device’s ability to record vital truck data in real time.  

3. Better analytics 

With an ELD, companies gain additional data that is simply not possible with paper logs. With this data, any business can identify and eliminate most logistical issues that they encounter. This leads to lower costs and faster delivery times.

Logistics is already a very clunky and slow process.  It is very rare to see technology that can drastically boost the efficiency of such a crucial process. Software such as Upper is one of these bits of technology that take your deliveries to peak efficiency.

Effortlessly Track Your Driver Performance with Upper

Most dispatchers and fleet managers are tired of worrying about delivery times and schedules. This uncertainty is because of unpredictable driver routes and a lack of route optimization. This is where Upper comes in as the perfect software solution.

Upper lets you passively track the delivery progress of all your drivers at once. But the list does not end there. Upper also lets you schedule delivery routes months in advance so that you can relax knowing that your routes have been perfectly made for the date of your choosing.

You can also adjust your driver’s driving hours and break times into your routes to take everything into account. Upper is brilliant enough to save your company both time and money at once by giving you the most perfect delivery routes known to mankind.

Keep Your Drivers Updated with Upper

Send accurate delivery details to drivers and monitor your fleet’s performance at whim with Upper. Bid farewell to all your manual route planning and enter the optimized world of Upper.


The vehicles that are exempt from caring and electronic logging devices are mainly essential freight transportation vehicles. This includes vehicles from the Canadian pacific railway and buses operated by municipalities.

Unless your electronic logging devices are malfunctioning in a way that hampers their ability to accurately record the driver’s work hours, you cannot record logs on paper. If that is not the case then you will be able to use a paper log.

The functionality of an ELD is such that it cannot be easily substituted by any other device. By far, the most common substitute for an ELD in the trucking industry is manually entering data and keeping paper logs.

Because an ELD is always recording data, it will notice being unplugged and will record it too. This can get you in trouble if it was not authorized by your company. If you have unplugged your ELD then the best thing to do would be to inform your company of the action to let them know that it was within reason.


While the ELD mandate is quite expensive for delivery businesses, the benefits of ELD solutions cannot be denied. Driver fatigue does indeed cause some major accidents and it would be best to avoid them altogether with such a solution.

Despite the advancements in technology, many commercial motor vehicle drivers consider an electronic logging device unreliable. Either way, almost all commercial motor vehicles will be covered under this mandate and they will be required to adopt an eld solution. 

Much Like an electronic logging device, Upper can also prove to be of vital importance to your business as it lets you track your fleet, cuts down on costs, and saves time at once. Upper is available for you to try with our 7 days free trial.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.