What is an ELD?

What is an ELD?

What is an ELD?An Electronic Logging Device (ELD) is a device that is used to record a commercial driver’s Hours Of Service (HOS). An ELD may also be used to capture other driver log data including International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) mileage and International Registration Plan (IRP).

ELDs combine GPS data and vehicle engine data to create electronic logs for trucks, busses and other commercial vehicles. ELDs can be hardwired into the vehicles engine to capture information such as RPM and engine hours, or they can be connected to the engine by a Bluetooth connection to a data port dongle.

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Why do I need an ELD?

As of December 18, 2017, the new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ELD Mandate requires that commercial drivers who are required to prepare hours-of-service records of duty status must have an ELD. This rule sets in place that all ELDs must be certified and registered by the FMCSA.

For rules on eld enforcement, the FMCSA offers information on the ELD Mandate and the Implementation Timeline.

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What are the benefits?

What are the benefits of an ELD?ELDs can save drivers, owner-operators, and fleet managers time and money. HOS, IFTA, DVIR, and IRP recording and reporting can be largely automated by ELDs and the compliance and fleet management software that are included with some ELD systems.

ELDs dramatically reduce the time required for FMCSA compliance reporting. This can save fleets and owner operators hundreds of manhours of work each year.

ELD compliance can also improve CSA scores. Some of the most common CSA violations are due to logbook infractions. Implementing ELDs will improve CSA scores by guaranteeing accurate, up-to-date records. Higher CSA scores can lower insurance costs and help truckers in qualifying for the best loads.

What are the problems with ELDs?

Many people are worried about implementing ELDs in their vehicles. They are concerned about the costs  and the challenge to their privacy that these “e-logs” create, and they worry about the costs of using ELDs. And many drivers are simply more comfortable with the ‘good old paper’ trucker logbook. These concerns can be addressed by choosing the right ELD.

ELD Cost

When calculating the cost for any ELD, buyers need to include any monthly fees that are required for the device. Over the life of the device, some ELD fees can add up to thousands of dollars. The FMCSA estimates that the average cost for an ELD is over 40 dollars per month per truck.

While many ELD manufacturers require a monthly fee, there are ELDs available without a monthly fee, that still meet the FMCSA mandate requirements. Having a no-monthly-fee electronic logging device can go a long way to addressing the overall costs concerns.

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ELDs and privacy

Smartphone based ELD systems create concerns about handing over a personal phone to a compliance officer. Smart phones not only hold all our personal data, most record GPsS data, which can reveal recent speed and routes. Choosing an ELD that is a dedicated, stand alone device addresses this concern. Stand-alone devices record only the data required for FMCSA compliance.

Bluetooth connection problems

Smartphone based ELD systems also create concerns over drops in Bluetooth connections. A dropped connection between the phone and the vehicle can result in gaps in logs, and that can result in fines for compliance violations. Choosing an ELD that is hard wired to the vehicle’s data port or fuse panel eliminates the concern over dropped Bluetooth connections.

ELD compliance inspections

One of the biggest concerns about ELDs is “will it get me through an inspection.” ELD enforcement is getting started and the technical specifications for transferring log data are very new and they are not completely standardized across the ELD industry. Drivers who have difficulty transferring their data could face long inspection stops that cut into driving hours and profitability.

Choosing an ELD that offers multiple ways to transfer your log to an inspection officer will help eliminate the possibility of painfully long inspections stops.


VDO RoadLog™ ELD

VDO RoadLog ELD is available without fees. It is a dedicated, stand alone device that is hardwired to the vehicle. It is the only ELD with a built-in printer so drivers can transmit their log to an inspection officer by USB, wireless, or an instant paper print out.

Reduce man hours for ELD compliance reportingVDO RoadLog ELD comes with VDO RoadLog™ Office, an online compliance reporting and fleet management tool that dramatically reduces the man hours required for compliance reporting. VDO RoadLog is the perfect ELD solution for owner operators and fleets that want a simple ‘electronic log book.’

Continental, the manufacturer of VDO RoadLog, has been producing electronic monitoring devices for over 40 years and has over six million ELDs in service all across the globe. In business for over 100 years, operators and fleets can be confident in choosing VDO RoadLog, knowing that Continental will be around to back it for years to come.

Another ‘drop’ concern for smartphone based ELDs is the possibility of the phone being dropped in the hand over to the compliance officer. Again, a stand alone device, mounted into the vehicle solves this problem.

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Overview of ELD Mandate Compliance Software