Electronic Logging Device

What Is an Electronic Logging Device (ELD)?

Compliance is a pillar of successful fleet management, which ELDs can help you achieve. With digital records of driving time and hours of service logs, gone are the days of endless paperwork.
Electronic logging devices (ELDs) automate driving time tracking for commercial vehicles, which is mandated by the FMCSA and CCMTA (Canada). Learn more.

Everything You Need To Know About ELDs

Understanding the ELD Mandate

Back in December 2015, the ELD mandate was enacted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This required all commercial motor vehicle drivers to track their Records of Duty Status electronically by using ELDs in the place of paper logbooks. 

Phase 1 of the ELD rollout began in February 2016 and by 16 December 2019, all commercial vehicles were required to be fully compliant. ELDs need to meet certain specifications to comply with the mandate. The most important requirements include:

  • The device must connect to the vehicle's engine to record movement.
  • Location information must be captured automatically.
  • ELDs must allow the driver to log in and select whether they are on-duty, off-duty, or in sleeper berth.
  • The device must have a mute button to avoid interruptions for the driver when off-duty or in the sleeper berth.
  • ELDs must provide data in a standardized format.
  • ELDs must be tamper-resistant 
  • This data must be transmitted to law enforcement through wireless web services, like a USB. 

The FMCSA implemented the ELD mandate to improve safety for drivers of commercial vehicles and to simplify and streamline the tracking, sharing, and management of driving and off-duty time. By enforcing the ELD rule, drivers are able to get the rest they need to function optimally. 

The FMCSA implements the ELD mandate by publishing the information needed to stay compliant and educating manufacturers, carriers and drivers on the importance of ELDs. The FMCSA also trains enforcement officers on how to request HOS data and review the electronic logs to spot any HOS violations. The government agency also has a hand in working with manufacturers to regulate and standardize ELD production.

The FMCSA and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) also implemented the ELD mandate for all Canadian commercial motor vehicles on the 12th of June 2021. In 2022, MiX’s Rovi II was recognized by Transport Canada as a certified provider of compliant ELD devices with its Hours of Service offering. 

What is an Electronic Logging Device (ELD)?

An electronic logging device or ELD is a hardware device that automatically records a driver’s drive time and other aspects of Hours of Service (HOS) compliance. The device does this by monitoring a vehicle’s engine and traveling time. 

Utilizing an ELD device ensures that drivers and fleet operators are in sync by constantly keeping managers informed on driver status via real-time alerts. ELDs monitor driver behavior and collect data on events like speeding, harsh braking, and sudden acceleration. 

MiX’s ELD system is fully FMCSA compliant. It captures location data at ignition, when the ignition is turned off, when the vehicle moves, and subsequently every hour as regulated. It does this by connecting and syncing to the vehicle’s engine. 

The ELD collects data as the driver’s duty status changes, and this information is displayed in a graph/grid format. It is tamper resistant, meaning the data can’t be falsified or tampered with. Moreover, all malfunctions or errors on the system are recorded and reported automatically. This ensures the Hours of Service data you receive is always accurate. 

If necessary, all HOS data can be transferred to the necessary enforcement officers via USB, making staying compliant simple. 

Who Needs ELDs? 

The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate applies to all commercial motor vehicle drivers who are currently required to maintain records of duty status (RODS). Additionally, The rule applies to commercial buses, trucks, and Canadian and Mexican drivers.

However, the FMCSA does allow exemptions for:

  • Drivers who aren't required to keep a RODS 
  • Drivers who don’t use RODS for more than eight days during a 30-day period
  • Drivers with vehicles older than a 2000 model 
  • Empty vehicles being delivered for sale or repair
  • Drivers that don't exceed the prescribed minimum hours of service

The Importance of ELDs

ELDs are essential to the safety and overall well-being of your fleet. As the ELD Mandate and Hours of Service rule were enacted to prevent driver fatigue and the repercussions that come along with it, ensuring your fleet is compliant will keep your drivers safe and boost overall fleet productivity. 

Driver fatigue doesn't just pose a threat to your fleet, but it endangers all road users and can lead to accidents or fatalities. Moreover, in these worst-case scenarios, it can lead to your company spending a great deal of money on repair and insurance fees. However, by utilizing an ELD to monitor driver activity and rest periods, you can avoid this. If your drivers are well-rested, they’ll be more alert and productive, which will improve overall fleet efficiency.  

Aside from preventing driver fatigue, ELDs ensure your vehicles are properly maintained by outlining clear utilization guidelines and saving your drivers time from having to manually fill in paper logbooks, leading to less downtime and more drive time. Moreover, these devices can also track dangerous driving behaviors, like speeding or harsh braking. 

The Benefits of ELDs

Easily the most prominent benefit of ELDs is prioritizing the safety of your drivers while streamlining multiple areas of your operations, such as the communication between drivers and dispatchers. 

With this in mind, the ELD mandate can benefit your fleet and its operations in numerous ways, such as:

Prevent Driver Fatigue

As ELDs help you keep a close eye on drivers’ active and rest periods, you can make sure they aren't exceeding HOS limits. By putting such measures in place to avoid driver fatigue, you can help reduce accidents as well.

Reduced Paperwork

Keeping paper logs is a tiresome and tedious task that can result in multiple inaccuracies. By making the switch to ELDs you save yourself time and guarantee results. The FMCSA estimates that an ELD can save a truck driver 19 hours each year by not having to manually fill out a Record of Duty Status (RODS). 

Improved Operational Efficiency

ELDs save time for businesses and their drivers, allowing for improved productivity. With the time saved on paperwork, the real-time data collected via electronic logging devices can be used to manage fuel usage, improve maintenance plans and improve customer service, enabling fleets to operate more efficiently.

Better Planning Capability

By utilizing an ELD, fleet managers and/or dispatchers are constantly kept in the loop regarding a driver’s status, allowing them to plan better. This will increase operational efficiency in the long run. 

Less Down Time

As drivers that use ELDs don’t have to fill out paper logbooks, this frees up more of their time for driving. Vehicle inspections by traffic authorities will also be quicker because of the digital logs.

Lowered Crash Rates

It has been proven that drivers using ELDs have significantly lower crash rates and preventable crash rates than those using paper logbooks.

Compliance Made Easy

By complying with the ELD Mandate, drivers and businesses have the opportunity to take advantage of other electronic compliance solutions such as The International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA). The IFTA simplifies the payment of fuel taxes in the US and Canada. 

Lower Fuel Consumption

ELDs can also be used to monitor driver behavior and collect data on fuel-wasting behaviors, like speeding, harsh braking, and sudden acceleration. Some ELDs can also alert drivers and operators in real-time when they exceed the speed limit, prompting them to take corrective measures immediately and be more fuel efficient. Monitoring this data over time will also allow managers to identify trends in fuel wastage and reward good driver practices.

However, the benefits don’t stop there. On a long-term basis, the FMCSA estimates that ELDs will help to achieve:

  • 1,844 crashes avoided annually
  • 562 fewer injuries per year
  • 26 lives saved each year

The Cons of ELDs

Despite the many benefits that ELDs bring, there are a few pain points you may need to tackle when implementing them in your fleet. 

Firstly, ELDs can be expensive to implement, especially since keeping paper logs was essentially free. To install electronic logs and pay the fees that come along with it can add up. However, one could argue that the money spent here will save your business money in the long term.  

There is also a learning curve that comes along with implementing ELDs. Straight off the bat, drivers may consider them to be an invasion of their privacy, or operators and drivers may need to adjust to learning how to install and use the ELDs. This is why the relevant parties must receive the required training to learn how to use these devices. 

All in all, ELDs are essential for any fleet, regardless of size or industry. Not only do electronic logs make your life easier, but they also protect your fleet and save you time and money. 

Learn more about ELDs.

What Is an Electronic Logging Device (ELD)?
Electronic Logging Device
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