ELD Hours of ServicePaper logs and manual record keeping has become outdated for quite some time now, but from this year, truck drivers and fleet owners will finally become hassle-free. The HOS DOT Mandate 2019 has passed an official rules for all drivers to use electronic logging devices or ELDs to record their hours of service.

Don’t worry – the mandate is only for commercial truck drivers or carriers who are required to keep a record of their Hours of Service in compliance with the US Federal hours of service ELD regulations.

Although some fleet owners and bus services have been using the ELD HOS system to record the hours of duty status or RODS, the mandate has caused a stir among those who weren’t.

Consequently, all those concerned all over the US have been in a deadline-induced panic situation. While most of them don’t know which electronic logging devices to go for, others don’t see the point of it at all.

This article will go through the basics of the HOS Mandate 2019, with all its rule, exceptions. Also, you will get a detailed insight into the top ELD devices you can use to follow these rules effectively. So let’s begin.

What is an ELD?

As we mentioned before, ELDs are electronic logging devices which help drivers record the hours of service they give in. They were created with the intention to make records easily accessible, organized, and accurate. The device connects to the vehicle’s engine itself and transfers out correct information of the driving hours on the ELD.

If you’re relatively new to this information, then you’ll need to start from scratch. The strict rules and details of the HOS regulations are what make these devices vital for all commercial vehicles. Here’s an overview of the different statuses, rules, and exceptions in the ELD HOS log that drivers are required to fill.

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The HOS DOT (Hours of Service ELD) Statuses

A driver’s total time spent is divided into four basic categories or statuses. These statuses indicate whether they were driving in those hours or taking up other activities.

  • Hours of service statusFirst, there is the off duty status. As the name suggests, it indicates the hours when the driver is not driving.
  • Second, the sleeper berth status. It shows that the driver is not driving, and isn't off duty as well, but is probably resting.
  • Third, the driving status. It shows that the vehicle is on the go.
  • Fourth comes the on-duty status. This denotes that even if the driver is not driving, he’s busy in some other work-related activities such as inspections, fueling, and unloading.

The HOS Rules

An Hours of Service ELD helps a driver properly adhere to the HOS DOT rules. These rules are different for both property-carrying and passenger-carrying drivers.

Property-Carrying Drivers

  • Hours of Service Rules Drivers can drive for 11 consecutive hours only after 10 consecutive hours off duty. 
  • The driver may not drive more than 14 consecutive hours following 10 hours off duty.
  • The driver has to take at least eight hours of rest time, or spend time on the sleeper berth before driving again.
  • If a driver has spent more than 60-70 hours on duty in the last consecutive 7-8 days, he may not drive further.

Passenger-Carrying Drivers

  • The driver may drive up to 10 hours only after 8 consecutive hours off duty.
  • Also, he may not drive after being on duty for 15 consecutive hours without taking 8 consecutive hours off duty.
  • The driver must at least take eight hours on the sleeper berth before going on duty again.

The Exceptions for Hours of Service ELD Rules

Similar to all the rules ever created, these Hours of Servise ELD rules have some exceptions as well. Having some knowledge about these exceptions is important as well if you’re planning to follow the HOS Mandate 2019.

Basically, these exceptions are based on the 11-hour, 14-hour, and 30-minute break rules we discussed earlier. There are four main exceptions to these Hours of service rules.

  • The 30-minute Break Exemption - Short haul drivers who are qualified for the 100 or 150 air-mile provisions and operate a non-CDL vehicle are exempted from the 30-minute break.
  • 16-Hour Short Haul Exemption - Qualified drivers can extend the 14-hour drive limit through this exemption to 16 hours once every 7 days.
  • Adverse Driving Conditions - These circumstances allow drivers to extend their driving time by two hours.
  • Emergency - During emergency situations, the basic HOS DOT regulations are subject to an exemption.

Now that you have a basic overview of the HOS DOT rules and exceptions, you must have an idea of the hassle fleet owners and drivers have to go through when the data is manually operated.

With electronic logging devices, you won’t ever misplace your paperwork, or get confused while calculating your working hours. But, don’t just rush out to buy your ELD device just yet.

While there's a long list of electronic logging devices available, you need to find one that’s perfect for you. For that, you’ll need to look at some features such as accessibility, compatibility, and configuration to fit your needs.

Our Top ELD devices list will help you through your ordeal so you can make the best purchase, quick. Remember, the mandate is already in effect.  

 

Top ELD Devices to Follow HOS (Hours of Service) Rules

We’ve rounded up the most acclaimed ELDs by fleet owners and drivers all over the world, and narrowed the list down to the five we loved the most. You can check also my article for the best eld devices.

KeepTruckin ELD

Hours of service keep truckinThe KeepTruckin ELD device is a versatile solution for today’s truck driver. It is easy to use, and perhaps the best bring your own device (BYOD) for any fleet owner. Most importantly, it ticks all the boxes on FMCSA’s updated regulations and Hours of service rules.

The device comes with an accessible app. You just have to pair the device using Bluetooth or a USB cable with your smartphone, to get real-time data and updates.

In addition, it has a $20 per month plan which includes logs, messaging, location tracking, and useful alerts as well. It’s practically everything you would need to adhere to the rules.

Furthermore, what makes it an all-rounder is that it can be used for a vehicle of any size. It comes with six-pin and nine-pin diagnostic ports that enable it to be installed on large vehicles. For smaller ones, you can simply hardwire it to the OBII port.

Pros

  • Customer support
  • Fuel tracking feature
  • Versatile
  • Reasonable price

Con

  • Small vehicles may have to pay the annual bill upon purchase.

 

Garmin eLog

Garmin HOSThis small and compact ELD gives you FMCSA compliant logs at an affordable price. It comes with a mobile app that’s compatible with any smartphone. Just connect your phone and start getting real-time updates. Also, if you want to access the system locally during an inspection, you can do so through the USB connection.

In addition, the app allows the driver to enter data manually as well. So you can check your remaining hours for the entire month. Moreover, if you’re a beginner, you’ll find the Garmin ELD very easy to install. Plug it in, and you’re ready to go.

Apart from that, it has fuel tracking devices and useful alerts to help the driver along his journey. Most importantly, you just have to pay once, and the Garmin ELD is yours, without any monthly or yearly subscription.

Pros

  • No monthly payments
  • Easy data storage and accessibility
  • Great for beginners

Cons

  • Not recommended for vehicles with OBD2 protocol
  • Software glitches cause the device to freeze at times

 

Omnitracs ELD

omnitracs hours of serviceThis device is not only a productive one but an aesthetic one as well. It complies to all FMCSA requirements, Hours of service rules, and looks great sitting there on your dashboard! It is great for first-time users, as the set up is very easy. All you have to do is plug it in and start using it.

Furthermore, it has pretty useful features as well. You can program your Omnitracts device to automatically record HOS data, track your fuel, and deliver safety reports. It also has a two-way messaging feature which allows you to communicate with other drivers if something goes wrong.

Moreover, this device can track your vehicle and monitor its driver, which is a handy feature for emergencies. The price starts at about 23$ per month, and it's versatile enough to fit vehicles of all sizes.

Pros

  • Multiple services plan to choose from
  • User-friendly interface
  • Customer support
  • Wifi connection
  • Touch screen and voice interface
  • Leases available

Con

  • Expensive

 

Gorilla Safety ELD 7 initial 12 monthly

Gorilla eldGorilla is one of the first companies to produce ELD fleet management systems. So there isn't a question whether it complies with the regulatory requirements or not. The installation and use of this device are fairly easy, even for first-time users. It comes with six-pin and nine-pin diagnostic pins which can be directly attached to your vehicle.

Apart from the mobile app connection which allows you to view updates on your smartphone, Gorilla has a website where fleet managers can easily track their vehicles. You can turn document tracking on while driving, so you can scan and file them on the go. This is the only company to offer this feature, allowing fleet owners to avoid paperwork completely.

Furthermore, the accurate driver tracking system can locate your driver, while the communication services help you keep in touch in case of an accident.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Good for record keeping
  • Accident management
  • Useful notifications
  • Can be used as AOBRD or ELD
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Cannot allocate un-logged driving
  • Online support only on working hours

 

Samsara

Samsara eldThis compact package comes with a great fleet management systems. Not only does it comply with FMCSA regulation and Hours of service rules, but has unique sensors and GPS technology to help you manage your vehicles more efficiently.

To start, you just have to plug the device directly into the vehicle through its OBD port. Also, you can pair the device with your smartphone through the free mobile app to view your data in real-time.

In addition, the fleet owner can monitor the HOS DOT for all his drivers through the dashboard data management system. Also, all the data can be stored in one central location to be accessed easily when needed.

Most importantly, the device works accurately. It has precise HOS, Wifi, and GPS systems to keep you in control of all your vehicles and dispatch data collectively. Once you install the ELD, the trucks can manage their own HOS, while the fleet owners can manage violations from their dashboard to keep full control.

Pros

  • Great user interface
  • Easy setup
  • Versatile
  • Safety features
  • Fuel tracking
  • Useful alerts

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lacks features for large fleet operations

Factors to Consider Before Buying Hours of Service ELD

It’s not necessary that the one we liked best is the ideal ELDs for you. Every driver and fleet owner has his own requirements according to their vehicles and set up. Here are some essential factors you should keep in mind before making a purchase.

Versatility and Accessibility

Most ELDs are programmed to fit all sizes and types of vehicles. But that’s not the case for all of them. If you buy one only made for your vehicle, you might have to buy a new ELD when you change your truck. To avoid such inconvenience, choose one that will last you long term.

Maximum Configuration

All ELDs have the basic logging systems available. If you want to manage your fleet properly, you’ll need more configurations and upgrades to stay updated. Choose an ELD that offers automatic updates as well along with the usual RODS reports. Otherwise, you will have to look for a new ELD before long.

Cloud-based Models

These models are highly beneficial. If you buy one without cloud storage and data transfer, logging will become difficult if you’re managing a whole fleet or saving your history as well. These models are more reliable and allow drivers to save logs with more accuracy.

Safety

If your ELD records safety violations effectively, it will prove beneficial to your business on the whole during inspections. You can easily manage violations beforehand so that your vehicles continue to attract brokers and insurers.

FMCSA Registration

Quite obvious, you have to get a device that’s registered by the FMCSA itself. There’s a list of registered brands available so you should play safe and check it thoroughly before parting with your money.

Brand Reliability

Lastly, choose a reliable brand. The best option is to go for brands that have been operating in this field for a considerable time. Also, check for hidden charges and make sure to ask for the payment plan upfront to avoid future inconvenience.


Conclusion for HOS DOT

Wrapping this article up, we’re sure that you’ve got all you need to know about the HOS DOT Mandate 2019. We’ve explained all there is about the mandate with its statuses and exceptions, along with the top electronic logging devices list. Hope this information will help you adhere to the rules and manage your fleet and vehicles effectively.

 

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