Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) —What Are They Anyway?

In case you haven’t heard, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or the FMCSA finalized an Electronic Logging Device (or ELD) mandate in December 2015. Ever since they published the mandate, electronic logging devices have been a hot topic amongst folks in the transportation industry. We’re here to talk about what exactly are electric logging devices and how they work.

What Exactly is an Electronic Logging Device?

To put it simply, an ELD is an electronic piece of technology that was created for truck drivers so they could easily track their hours of service (HOS). The idea is that by having a legitimate and automated way to track truckers’ hours, they won’t go over the legal limit of hours worked. This is supposed to keep both truckers and other drivers on the road safer by fighting truckers’ driving fatigue.

An ELD connects to the truck’s engine and can electronically record when the truck is in motion and when it’s not. It also allows drivers to login in their hours by selecting on-duty, off-duty or on-duty not driving. The driver’s driving record, status and hours logged are then displayed on a graphically on a screen so they can easily see their stats.

Another feature of electronic logging devices is that they are able to transmit data to both shippers and law enforcement via wireless web, USB and even Bluetooth. While the FMCSA hasn’t released the standards for official ELDs, electronic logging devices come in a variety of shapes and sizes created by different manufacturers.

How Much Does an ELD Cost?

Electronic logging devices can actually be quite expensive and end up costing shippers a large chunk of change. The FMCSA estimates that companies can expect to pay anywhere from $165 to $832 dollars annually for a single ELD. The average price of the most popular ELD on the market now is $495 per truck.

While ELDs can have a large upfront expense for shippers, they are projected to actually save money over time. They eliminate the need for paperwork and hand logging while also reducing the number of hours that truckers are authorized to work. New ELDs are also being introduced by manufacturers that meet the FMCSA standards but come at a much cheaper price.

There has also been an introduction of ELDs for smartphones and tablets in the form of applications. These solutions could save installation and maintenance fees and reduce the overall cost by a large percentage for shippers.

How Do ELDS Save Time and Money?

The whole point of the FMCSA introducing ELDs is to save truckers and shippers both time and money. So, just exactly how do ELDs do that? Well, before the ELD mandate was introduced, truck drivers had to log all their hours manually on paperwork.

The FMCSA projected that drivers could save upwards of $705 every year just by eliminating the cost of paperwork. They also estimated that drivers were spending 20 or more hours every year logging, filing and sending out their drivers logs. By getting rid of any work needed to be done by the driver, an ELD can do all the logging and recording automatically saving drivers time and money.

 

How Else Can ELDs Benefit Drivers?

Aside from saving drivers time and money, and increasing safety on roads electronic logging devices can decrease fuel costs by monitoring excessive truck idle times and speeding. They can also help build incentives for drivers who increase their fuel efficiency. ELDs also work to lower the total crash rate. In fact, drivers who were using ELDs had an 11.7% reduction in crashes than drivers who weren’t using ELDS.

ELDs are a hotly debated topic in the transportation industry right now as drivers are beginning to make the transition towards using electronic logging devices on their vehicles. Now that you know what ELDs are all about and how they work, you can join in on the discussion!