ELDs are great for hours of service compliance, but they have far more benefits than that. Find out exactly what to expect when you install one right now!
When truck drivers were pushed into adding electronic logging devices to their trucks, there was a lot of pushback. However, this is common for any industry when new technology is presented as something required for the job. People are concerned about how it will change what they do and whether the ELD benefits for truckers are worth any disadvantages that might be associated with the devices. We’re here today to answer that for you, once and for all.
The truth is that once truck drivers had to have ELDs in their trucks, many of them found that there were lots of benefits for them. Most drivers find that they prefer the electronic logging process more than the old pencil and paper option, which took more time away from the job of driving. Curious about the ELD benefits for truckers? We’ll share some of the most important ones below
- The Basics of The Federal Mandate no Electronic Logging Devices
- What an Electronic Logging Device Can Do
- Benefit #1: ELDs Reduce and Eliminate Form Errors at the Source
- Benefit #2: ELDs Keep you on the Road to Make More Money Faster
- Benefit #3: Drivers Can Use EDLs to Help Build Their Driving Resume
- Benefit #4: An EDL Can Create Improved Safety for Drivers and Others
- Benefit #5: Drivers Can Enjoy Fast and Straightforward Inspections with an ELD
- Benefit #6: Contacting the Office When Needed is Easier with an ELD
The Basics of The Federal Mandate no Electronic Logging Devices
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is part of the Department of Transportation, made it a requirement for driving hours to be recorded electronically at the end of 2017. This made it a requirement to use an ELD instead of a paper logbook, which had been the primary solution for logging hours before new technology being introduced. The reason this change was made was due to the increasing accident, and fatality counts happening on U.S. roads.
Based on information by the Department of Transportation, about 15% of accidents by truck drivers are attributed to fatigue. As such, the drivers who used vehicles of the description below are now required to have ELDs in their trucks:
- If the truck weighs more than 10,000 pounds
- If the gross or gross combination weight rating is over 10,000 pounds
- If the vehicle is made to transport at least 16 people including the driver for non-compensation purposes
- If the vehicle is made to carry at least nine individuals for a compensation
- If the vehicle is transporting any hazardous materials in quantities requiring a placard
What an Electronic Logging Device Can Do
If you aren’t familiar with what an ELD is, it’s a small device that records a truck driver’s hours of services automatically and electronically. It is connected to the motor of the truck and automatically detects when a trip starts and ends, including any breaks in the middle. It takes this information and decides how many hours a driver has been on the road.
Most ELDs also connect with a mobile device, like a smartphone or a tablet, to provide additional information about drive time and when a driver should pull over for a break. It also sends back the hours of service (HOS) to the fleet manager at a company so they can see how drivers are doing.
Now that we’ve covered the basics let’s look a bit more at ELD benefits for truckers and why these devices are helpful for those on the road. You might be surprised how many things they do that you aren’t aware of or don’t think about.
Benefit #1: ELDs Reduce and Eliminate Form Errors at the Source
Nobody is entirely perfect, and all of us make a mistake or two from time to time. When drivers were using paper logs, it was easy to make an error or write in the wrong number. Anything from recording the wrong time, to drawing a line a bit short or long, or writing in the wrong location could be a costly mistake. When those mistakes happen again and again, they add up and lead to fines and rising CSA scores, which nobody wants to deal with.
When you’re using an EDL like TrackEnsure eLog, those mistakes are minimized and may be eliminated. This and other EDLs automate everything from hours of service logs to DVIRs and IFTA fuel tax reporting forms to ensure there are no mistakes, all hours are totaled, and every record is signed.
What this means to a driver is that you’ll have fewer calls and emails from the office, needing information that you may or may not have or remember from days past. You can enjoy spending your time driving, not calculating hours, or searching for pencils like you might have to do with a physical logbook.
Benefit #2: ELDs Keep you on the Road to Make More Money Faster
If you trust the FMCSA, it estimates that the average driver is going to spend about 20 hours a year if they are filling out paper driver logs and sending in those hours of service files to the carrier they work under. This translates into a lot of time spent doing things other than driving, which also means going fewer miles and losing out on potential money. This is a situation that can be improved when you use an EDL.
One of the things that an electronic logging device helps with is reducing paperwork. It’s believed that a driver can save about 15 minutes a day using electronic logs. Also, you can get extra drive time of five or 10 hours a week since the EDL is going to round up to the next minute when you make a stop. This is unlike a paper logbook, which has a driver round up 15 minutes instead.
What else can an EDL do to ensure you make the most money possible? It takes away all the time you spend calling into the office for regular check-ins and sending in your hours to dispatch. When that extra time is instead filled with driving, you’re sure to make more money. An EDL like the AES RGT90 can make a huge difference in your life and with your paycheck.
Benefit #3: Drivers Can Use EDLs to Help Build Their Driving Resume
While the reason that EDLs were mandated because many trucking accidents are based on fatigue, the reality is that most of the drivers on the road are compliant, safe, and extremely aware of every move they make and how it could affect others. When you have an ELD installed into your truck, you can now prove that you’re the kind of driver who a company should hire. You’ll have a documented history that shows responsible performance if you decide to interview at a different company.
Since an electronic logging device can track everything from your truck’s speed to your compliance to hours of service and getting deliveries in during a desired time, an EDL is a great way to pad out your resume and show that you are the right person for the job. It emphasizes how much you care about safety and getting a job done right every single time.
What else can you expect from having great stats courtesy of your electronic logging device? When you’re driving for a company, this can lead to a higher rate of pay, payouts from incentive programs, and even the chance to beat out other drivers when you’re feeling competitive. The possibilities are endless and entirely facilitated by the EDL. One like the My20 EDL can be a great choice at a low price.
Benefit #4: An EDL Can Create Improved Safety for Drivers and Others
Being safe and preventing accidents when you’re in your truck is an essential part of the job. Having tools that make that easier and more straightforward is something that most drivers are going to adapt to happily. When you’re using something like the ThinAir ELD, there are numerous ways you can ensure the safety of yourself, your vehicle, and the people or cars around you.
One of the things that makes this possible is by reducing distracted driving. An EDL often offers quick turn by turn directions from a handsfree position, so getting where you are going is a breeze. Drivers will also enjoy alerts related to speeding, hand braking, and other essential events that a driver should know about. Reports on any unsafe driving will also be available so drivers can make changes to how they operate their trucks.
That isn’t all that a modern, high-tech EDL can offer to drivers in terms of safety. Many of these devices allow a driver to seek out roadside assistance after the truck breaks down. This will provide quick help so you can get back on the road. These devices can also help monitor your speed, which can reduce fines and problems associated with getting speeding tickets while on the job.
If you were to get into an accident, the devices can also capture information about driver and vehicle behavior directly before, during, and after this happens. This makes it easy for the crash to be reconstructed, so insurance carriers aren’t paying out on claims that aren’t the driver’s fault.
Benefit #5: Drivers Can Enjoy Fast and Straightforward Inspections with an ELD
Another of the ELD benefits for truckers comes when it’s time to have an inspection. This might seem obvious, but you can immediately hand over results to an officer at the station without digging around to find all the right paperwork. Having an electronic version of logging makes life easier for you in terms of handing over the required information so that it can be looked over, and you can be told to get back on the road. Spending less time on inspections will help when it comes to clocking more miles in a day.
Also, the inspector and driver will no longer have to spend extra time looking for errors and violations in the records. While mistakes can be present on an ELD like the Garmin eLog, it is much less likely. It also means not having to make sure your handwriting is clean enough for someone else to understand. In many cases, you won’t even need to sign documents with a pen since it’s available in an electronic version.
Benefit #6: Contacting the Office When Needed is Easier with an ELD
One of the things that used to be commonplace before ELDs were standard was the check call between a driver and a dispatcher. For things that are simple today, such as seeing how many hours a driver could continue to drive or relaying where a driver is located, would require at least one phone call. Unfortunately, this would mean drivers had to pull over and make calls during a time when they could otherwise be on the road.
Now that ELDs are a part of life, a dispatcher can see where you are at any moment on a map without contacting you. This makes it easy to give a client information about when you are arriving and where you currently are without breaking into your driving time. Since this kind of tracking is available, truck companies can see if you’re on time or not and counterclaims that might be fraudulent about you being late.
A lot of fleets and owner/operators believe that ELDs are only worthy as a solution to the ELD mandate compliance requirement by the FMCSA, but they have far more benefits than that. These little devices can offer a lot of benefits, both for truckers and those who manage them or own the companies that employ them. Communication is improved, life on the road is easier, and driver safety is made a priority, and that’s just to name a few things.
On the other side of things, these ELDs can also help trucking fleets by offering truck diagnostics, providing better route management, identifying bad driving behaviors, and lowering insurance premiums. There are ELD benefits for truckers, owners, and everyone else that makes a company work. Now that you know what they are and how they can help, maybe that little device and the app that comes with it will seem a little less intimidating and frustrating to learn to operate.