It sure is the topic of the day, the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate. Ever-closer the date looms and now is the time when many a motor carrier – who hasn’t already – will finally decide on investing in an ELD solution.
Not only will they be mandated, they just make sense. At this point, most industry groups, truckers and people up and down the fleet line agree: ELDs are ushering in a new age of in-cab capabilities.
Many owner-operators and small fleets will be trying to figure out how to implement a solution that not only keeps them in compliance with regulations and safety standards, but also offers up a little return-on-investment.
Fortunately, companies manufacturing these products are packing in so much more than the ability to simply log a run or track hours.
From Dashcams to Scanners
Modern ELDs generally stuff plenty of usability into their interface, in whatever form it may come in. There are ELD systems that can now talk to Android and iOS devices, essentially providing dispatch or a fleet safety manager – no matter where they may be – to get in touch with their truck driver.
Other, GPS-enabled devices, collect data from the vehicle’s electronic control module. They can automate a variety of different tasks and collect data on almost anything the user wants data collected on.
Whereas once a fleet was at the mercy of old-fashioned record keeping methods – as well as only the word of those involved if an accident were to occur – now everything is recorded, above board and ready for collection at a moment’s notice.
You can even use an ELD to help you fight a ticket, if necessary. We’re not saying law enforcement or other passenger car drivers are wrong, but if you have an ELD recording all events, perhaps in cases where your truck driver is right, you may get a little reprieve.
ELDs for Safety
One of the best ways you can utilize an all-encompassing ELD is to ensure you invest in one that has safety features built in. This is, of course, if you aren’t already utilizing advanced safety features on your trucks – such as dash cams or collision avoidance systems.
Dispatch can utilize GPS-enabled ELDs to view a truck driver’s location in real time, obtain historical data and even advise on where the next rest stop or fueling location may be. This could be a crucial capability if a truck is operating through a cargo red zone or navigating unfamiliar territory.
Being able to detect what the weather is up to also allows for better route planning prior to leaving headquarters, or even on-the-fly planning on behalf of the truck driver him or herself if things start to look bad.
Advanced ELDs can offer alternate routes and provide suggestions on safer options. If you aren’t seeing it by now, the point is, since you should invest in an ELD anyway, why not go with one that keeps things like safety in mind.
And not just safety. You can even automate your fuel-tax data collection efforts.
Keeping Distance Data Collection Requirements in Mind
This also goes beyond all the capabilities of an ELD and how it can enhance the safety and efficiency of your fleet operations. There are also tax and regulatory issues at stake.
There’s plenty of reason for new trucking industry players to pay very close attention to the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) and International Registration Plan (IRP) data collection and tax-reporting process. But what does that have to do with your ELD choice?
You may one day have to go through an IFTA or IRP audit if there is a substantial reduction in either your annual reported mileage (ARM) or a big jump in your miles-per-gallon efficiency level, though these triggers aren’t necessarily written in the books, word on the street is, the information is correct.
So, as always, it’s important to remember that this is about more than just distance and accuracy or ELDs that go well beyond the minimum, this is about how your business operates in the current marketplace. Get the right ELD and give yourself an edge.