What is An ELD Device?

Have you heard of ELD? In case you didn’t know, it is an electric hardware device connecting with and monitoring a vehicle’s usage, sometimes through the diagnostic port of the vehicle, to record driving hours and other pertinent information.

All non-exempt commercial motor vehicle drivers need compliant ELDs as per the FMCSAs ELD mandate. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration obliged everyone to enhance the safety of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers as well as general motorists.

So, what does ELD stand for & how does it work?

Remember that ELD is the abbreviation for Electronic Logging Device.

After the ELD is connected to the diagnostic port of a CMV, it syncs with the vehicle’s Engine Control Unit (ECU) to record the Records of Duty Status (RODs), Hours of Service (HOS), and other data needed by the DOT.

Keep in mind that an ELD tracks a car’s engine to acquire information on whether or not the engine is running, if the car is moving, the duration of the engine operation, or how many miles have been driven.

Other drive data ELDs record involves:

  • Drive login and logoff events
  • Driver’s daily record certification
  • Duty status change (off duty, driving, on duty)
  • Authorized user or drive information
  • And so much more

Take note that ELD sends all that info to a software or fleet telematics system that enables fleet managers to track and monitor the HOS status and produce reports that are crucial for fleet management.

Who should use an ELD?

You may be thinking of the ideal person who should use an ELD. Well, the ELD order applies to the majority of CMV drivers who are compelled to keep a Record of Duty Status. Nonetheless, you will find some exceptions to that.

Based on FMCA, the following doesn’t need an ELD:

  • Drivers who perform drive-away-two-away operations, in which the car being driven is the commodity delivered
  • Drivers who keep RODs for not more than eight days in a thirty-day rolling time
  • Drivers with pre-2000 car engines
  • Drivers who work under the short-haul RODS exemptions

What’s an FMCSA-approved ELD?

Take note that the FMCSA doesn’t directly approve certifications to ELD vendors and manufacturers. Meaning there’s no FMCSA-approved ELD.  Nonetheless, the organization offers a list of self-registered ELD on its official website.

For a specific ELD to become compliant, it should be on the list and follow all the technical specifications presented by the organization.

Remember that all ELDs available on the market today meet those specifications. Thus, the onus of picking a compliant solution will be up to the user.

Are there any benefits of ELD?

One of the important benefits of having an ELD is that it supports compliance. Roads are expected to be much safer with ELDs. Further, HOS compliance is foreseen to be enhanced. The best part about this is that ELDs might also result in minimal penalties and violations.

Aside from the benefits of compliance, ELD normally provides various benefits. Bear in mind that an ELD is connected to the car’s engine, meaning it can record essential details and share them along with fleet managers and drivers who might help them with improving operational efficiency.

Below are some of the advantages of using an electronic logging device:

  • Lowered administrative problem

ELDs lessen the use of documents and support automation. That lowers administrative concerns and might also lower operating costs. How awesome is that?

  • Improved efficacy

Electronic logging devices can also help determine drivers who idle too often or too long. Further, fleets could boost efficiency by lowering vehicle idling and enhancing utilization rates.

  • Proactive vehicle maintenance

An ELD is connected to the car’s engine. That means it could help locate any vehicle maintenance problems ahead of time. You will find several ELDs that could track fault codes and deliver real-time notifications for proactive vehicle maintenance. Isn’t it amazing?

  • Enhanced fleet safety and driver behavior

You will find some ELDs which could also help determine drivers with risky actions like hard cornering, hard braking, speeding, rapid acceleration, and so much more. Documentation of these at-risk drivers is the initial step to enhancing fleet safety.

  • Streamlined calculation of IFTA

Did you know you can easily streamline IFTA calculations once an ELD measures the distance every vehicle travels in every jurisdiction? It also offers comprehensive and detailed trip reports.

Can you unplug ELD?

Do not forget that purposely unplugging the device might result in violations and possibly hefty charges.

Do you often experience malfunctions with your ELD, and you must unplug the device from your vehicle? It will help if you follow the ELD Malfunctions & Data Diagnostics Events guidelines presented by FMCSA.

Are edits allowed in ELD logs?

Yes, both carriers and drivers are permitted to make limited edits to electronic logging device records to add missing data or fix mistakes. Nonetheless, every edit must have a note explaining the corresponding change.   

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