ELD phone apps – quick fix or a bag of tricks?

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ELD phone apps issues

There are now several hundred companies offering solutions for ELD compliance. One of the most popular choices for owner operators and fleet operators has been the “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) solution. This method of mandate compliance simply requires adding an ELD app to a smart phone or tablet.

But, now that the deadline for compliance has passed, and drivers have had a few months of experience using these apps, complaints are starting to surface. While ELD phone apps are an inexpensive way to start recording electronic logs, these solutions aren’t as reliable as people were hoping.

Some common complaints of ELD phone apps:

Dropped connections – Since BYOD ELDs are not hardwired to your vehicle, they rely on a Bluetooth connection to transfer data between the vehicle and the device. If the Bluetooth connection is dropped, the log can be compromised.

Overheating battery – Constant GPS tracking takes a lot of power from your device, and cell phone batteries can heat up as a result. Having the phone sitting up on the dash in direct sunlight further heats things up. Overheated batteries can cause the phone to turn itself off, ending HOS recording.

Damage to the device – During an inspection, many inspectors will ask drivers to hand over their phone or tablet so they can check the log directly from the screen. Few people want to hand all their personal data over to a stranger. And if the device is dropped during the hand-off, it may mean the end of the device, loss of log data, and the end of the ability to record logs.

Incorrect HOS recording – It’s been reported that some phone app ELDs may record your Off-Duty travel as though you were still driving. This can happen without your knowledge and can put you over your limit before you realize what’s happening.

Recurring fees – ELD apps can be had for free, but to get all the features that you’ll need for FMCSA compliance, you’ll likely pay a monthly fee. Those fees add up over time. It may be a better deal to invest in an ELD with no monthly fees.

When choosing between a dedicated Electronic Logging Device and a BYOD/app solution, be sure to consider all the factors and the total overall cost over time.

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