Do I need an ELD Device? – Definition & Regulations

Posted in Mandate Info
(Last Updated On: May 17, 2019)

What is an ELD Device or E-Log?

For those of you who don’t know what ELD devices exactly are, don’t worry because we’ve got you covered. ELD stands for Electronic Logging Device and is the latest technologic in the trucking industry. The name itself is pretty self-explanatory but what it basically does is that it automatically records the time spent driving and the total Hours of Service (HOS).

ELD devices are most commonly used by drivers of commercial motor vehicles. These devices make accurately tracking and managing time much easier and faster. But that’s not all. ELD devices also capture much more data about the vehicle, like its movement and miles driven.

FMCSA and ELD Mandate

Ever since the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s ELD mandate; here has been a great increase in the demand for ELD devices.

As more and more brands start entering the market and compete to be the best, it has become more confusing than ever before for a customer to decide which ELD device to buy and why.

We’re here to guide you through the decision step by step. We’ll tell you which devices are currently the best, why you should buy them and why not. So read on to find out more.

Why do I need an ELD?

If you’re still not convinced as to why you should buy an Electronic Logging Device, don’t worry because there are lots of more reasons as to why you should. So read on to find out the long list of reasons for why buy an ELD device.

Better Focus

Since drivers no longer have to continuously worry about paper logs and their time, they can focus more on what matters: the road and their driving.

Lower Crash Rate

According to recent studies, it has been seen that the drivers who do use an ELD device in their trucks have a 5.1% lower accident rate.

Fewer Penalties to Pay

If a driver violates his or her HOS limit, they end up having to pay the penalty. So by using an ELD, drivers can easily keep track of their HOS and avoid any violations. Therefore, they end up saving money that would otherwise go to paying for penalties.

Better CSA Score

CSA stands for Compliance, Safety, Accountability. driver with a greater CSA score is more likely to get jobs and is considered more employable than others. And using an Electronic Logging Device helps to improve the CSA score of drivers.

Lower HOS Violations

Since the ELD device can alert the drivers of a possible HOS violation which may occur shortly. Drivers can then take action accordingly and avoid the violation altogether.

Easy to Locate

Since the ELD devices have a GPS tracker in them, so the truck can be easily located as long as the engine is running. This means the driver will have to put up with fewer or almost no check calls from the dispatch unit.

This feature also makes it easier to provide customers with instant information, because if a customer calls dispatch to check up on the delivery of a product, dispatch. It can simply check the location of the truck and tell the customer how far away it is, without having to call and ask the driver.

Will the ELD Shut Down the Truck?

Why do i need eldWhile most truckers think that an e-log can shut down their truck, that isn’t entirely the case. An ELD isn’t mean to shut down your truck. It is only meant to track and record your miles traveled and  alert the trucker of any HOS violations and penalties .

Even if a driver commits a violation, the Electronic Logging Device can’t shut down the truck. The truck continues to remain under the driver’s control to park anywhere as desired.

Any decisions about where and when to stop and park the truck are always in the control of the trucker. They are never in the control of the ELD device.

Remote shutdown technology – Should I worry about it?

However, over here it is important to mention that of course the e-log itself cannot shut down the truck. Although, there are still a few Electronic Logging Devices manufacturers who do use a remote shutdown technology along with the ELD.

This technology can in fact shut down the truck. But this practice is very unpopular and rare and none of the ELD devices we will talk about in this website come with any remote shutdown technology. So, you don’t have to worry about it.

Which ELD is better for my needs?

If you are not sure which ELD Device is the best for you, filling the form below you can get free quotes and consultation to help your decision.

Do I need to pay for an ELD?

Unfortunately, yes. So far, there is a big business behind electronic logging devices. It is mandatory to install an e-log in your truck. Some truckers might opt to choose a cheap device just so they can fulfil the requirements. This could be a big mistake.

Choosing the right device

Sometimes it can be tempting to choose the cheap option, but remember, cheaper can be more expensive at the end of the day!

If your device is causing you problems such as disconnection problems, recording failures, insufficient storage... This can be a nightmare to deal with while you have to be focused on other more important matters.

Before making a wrong decision, make sure that you check some reviews or ask for advice. We know what it is like loosing time dealing with useless technology! At the end, it's not only the time you loose, but you might end up buying a new device.

Check the policies!

For that reason mentioned before, it is also important that you are aware of the company return policies and subscription plans. If you are not sure which is the right e-log to choose, you won't want to be stuck in a paid yearly plan (even if it's a cheaper one) with a worthless device.


Best ELD's for owner operators?

Choosing the best device is different for every trucker and every owner operator.

If you’re looking to purchase one or more ELD devices for your fleet, you must base your decision on several aspects. For example, it should be important to not think only about the price of the device. Other features such as subscriptions plans, included features and extras should be considered.

Think about your needs before choosing a specific brand. It is common to find ourselves paying a high subscription fee, and then realise that we don't use most of the package features.

Important Features for your fleet

ELD's come into the market as a great advantage for owner operators, that is because they offer powerful fleet management tools.

Technical Support 24/7

One of the most important musts is technical support 24/7. If the driver has any problems with the device, or loses connection, it is important for the device to keep recording. An ELD device must be helpful, not get in the way and cause problems. But we all know that technology might fail sometimes. That's why an accessible and quick technical support is important.

Information Storage, Database and Cloud

Technology is continuously improving its storage systems, and there is a good reason why. Storing information is very important, but not only that, it's accessibility is also essential. You will want to have quick and easy access to your fleet records at any time.

Regarding information, ELD's are evolving more and more into a Cloud Base information storage. This way, all drivers and fleet managers can be updated every second.

Compatibility for all fleet trucks

Of course, you don't want to have different e-logs in your fleet. Having a common software can make everybody's life easier. Not just because you will be able to share information between your fleet, but also it makes it easier to become an expert on the system.

Do not forget, the device´s connections can vary from one brand to another, and from one kind of truck to another. That is why you should make sure the system you are choosing is going to be compatible with all the trucks of your fleet.

Some brands offer adaptors for purchase to cover different connector types. Others already include the different connectors in the package. It is for you to assess cost wisely to determine which solution fits your fleet better.


Conclusion: Do I need an ELD?

It is mandatory to obtain and install an ELD, but you can choose to see the positive side of it. Many truckers are against e-logs, but in a matter of time they will become essential to all truckers. Technology is embracing every angle of our lives, so it is predictable that having an ELD will be as normal as having a cellphone for a trucker.

Remember to take into consideration all those different points mentioned. It's probably a good idea to make a list of the most common problems or deficiencies you find in your daily work. And then find the main features that could solve or improve your needs. With those identified, you are ready to check on the different brands and options and see which covers you better.

Now the big question is: which ELD should I buy? And again, there is not a perfect device, but probably a suitable device for your needs. One of the most recommend devices is KeepTruckin, but it might not be suitable for you.

Check our device reviews on this site, or have a look at our TOP 20 devices to help you make up your mind.

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