Top Features, Pricing, Ratings, and More
Now that the ELD mandate has been implemented, drivers and fleet managers are considering devices like the Switchboard ELD. See what it offers for your needs.
As of December 2019, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration now requires all commercial vehicles and drivers to utilize Electronic Logging Devices that meet their specifications under the new ELD mandate. As a result, companies like Switchboard are rolling out tech-forward electronic logging devices that feature robust, user-friendly platforms and simple-to-navigate interfaces. Not only does it comply with the law, but it takes a lot of the hassle out of the recordkeeping process for commercial vehicles and drivers. In this Switchboard ELD 2020 review, we’ll discuss all the features that assist with this and help you see what this device can do for you.
The Switchboard ELD offers a host of features and applications that can help you get more out of your electronic logging and fleet management, whether you have two trucks or 200. The company has created a scalable solution that is ideal for everyone from the owner-operator to the mid-size fleet manager. Although every fleet will have different needs, this device provides more advantages than not, which makes it well worth a look.
Whether you’re new to ELDs entirely or just looking to upgrade your fleet, keep reading this review to learn everything that you need to know. You’ll find out all about the details and specifications of the ELD from Switchboard so that you can decide whether it’s right for your needs. Plus, you’ll also find other helpful information on the topic of ELDs in general so that you can be more informed and prepared for the future of commercial fleet logging and recordkeeping. First up, let’s look at some quick pros and cons to get this Switchboard ELD 2020 review started.
Pros and Cons of the Switchboard ELD
Here are the highlights and drawbacks, at a glance, before we dive into the details:
- Reliable, well-designed apps available
- Intuitive design
- User-friendly interfaces on the front and back end
- FMCSA-certified device
- No monthly fees required for standard system
- Optional AOBRD (Automatic On-Board Recording Device) Functionality
- Meets HOS compliance rules for U.S. and Canada
- Carrier logs are somewhat bulky
- Could have better tools for unidentified driving
Switchboard ELD Specifications
|Customer Support||Live chat, phone support, online support center, email|
|Basic Features||DVIRs, IFTA Reporting, Weigh Station Bypass, Driving Timers, Shipment Tracking, Limited Location Sharing, Fax and Email Logs, Full-Enterprise Upgrade for additional features|
|Payment Made||$200 for 6-pin or 9-pin ELD connector with no devices
$450 for ELD with a dedicated tablet
$15 per month for Switchboard data plan and tablet device and $10 per month for web portal access for fleet managers and dispatchers
Switchboard ELD Features and Functions
Below, we’ll take a closer look at the basic features of this ELD and what they offer. This device has something for just about everyone in the basic edition and a full-enterprise upgrade is available for those who want even more.
Standard, feature-rich DVIR reporting is included with this ELD, allowing drivers to complete pre- and post-trip inspections as needed and record the information right on the device. Plus, the driver log area includes a status change option, a section for comments, and plenty of other HOS features and logging tools. There is even the option to edit certain sections of the report, although what can be modified may be limited based on current HOS rules and DVIR reporting guidelines.
Tracking fuel expenses and providing fuel tax reports can be stressful for any fleet manager. With the Switchboard ELD, you will get a robust IFTA reporting module that will automate all of your fuel tracking for tax purposes and ensure that you can generate IFTA reports on demand, whether for a surprise inspection or just when it comes time to submit reports for regulatory or other purposes. Having instant access to these automated reports saves you a lot of hassle and can even save you a lot of money on your fuel expenses over time.
There is a module in this ELD that monitors drive times, and that will even change the driver status automatically once the vehicle starts moving if the driver doesn’t update it themselves. The drive time module also has sections that can be edited or proposed for edits, and the fleet manager can even decide whether they want to approve all modifications or only those with certain exceptions.
Free Fax and Email Logs
In addition to logging everything in the engine device and cloud storage, the Switchboard ELD also has free email and fax logs that can be sent to anyone right from the website or the app. You can even set up automated delivery of email and fax logs after trips have been completed or as part of a process. Printing and accessing these logs on demand has never been easier than it is with this feature.
Weigh Station Bypass Feature
The all-new weigh station bypass function allows active drivers with a safe record and good history of ELD compliance to bypass several weigh stations based solely on their work and driving habits alone. Fleets that do a lot of traveling can eliminate this time-consuming process by keeping their fleet compliant and utilizing ELDs not only for better logging but to help improve driver and vehicle safety on the road. Not only is this better for everyone in general, but it can help you get approved to bypass weigh stations and save a lot of time.
Shipment Tracking and Location Sharing
The Switchboard ELD includes a GPS feature that will allow management to share their fleet locations with third parties. This will allow you to send tracking information to customers, for example, who can track their shipments en route until they are delivered. Other location sharing options allow you to share with other parties for a pre-determined timeframe to improve efficiency and keep everyone up to speed, as well.
In addition to basic features, Switchboard offers an upgrade to the full-enterprise package, which adds a host of other features and functionalities. Those who upgrade to the premium package will get everything discussed here, along with:
- ELD/AOBRD combination engine module
- Engine connector cable (6- or 9-pin)
- Tablet and tablet mount
- USB charging cable and 12V vehicle adapter
- Switchboard manual and two decal stickers
Disadvantages of the Switchboard ELD
This ELD from Switchboard is quite impressive for the money. However, as you’ll read below, several features are still in development and many common ELD functions that haven’t been added to this system as of yet. Most are a work in progress, but it’s still worth noting that there are devices available with these features. Of course, since it offers so many other benefits, it may be easy to overlook this since the developments are on the horizon.
Another drawback of this system for some is that the carrier logs are a bit on the bulky side. Again, this is a minor concern, but it’s about the only disadvantage that we could see with this system. Overall, it does a great job of delivering basic ELD performance with a promise of more in the future, but you’ll want to consider any potential negatives in your decision.
Switchboard in Development
The Switchboard ELD is primarily focused on service logs. However, it does well to provide a variety of other features that make fleet management easier. It does not offer some of the most common features that some ELDs provide, but the company has reported that they are in development for release. With the urge to meet compliance deadlines, many companies like Switchboard released their ELDs in a partially-complete state. The devices are all FMCSA-compliant and still functional, but may be missing some essential or beneficial features.
For Switchboard, their development plans for the next phase of their ELD update includes features like:
- Built-in navigation
- Speed and harsh braking alerts
- Engine diagnostics, including fault codes
- Document capture module
The ELD is designed to automatically update as new tools and resources become available, so as long as your devices remain connected via Bluetooth (which is required for operation under the ELD mandate), you will pick up any updates as soon as they are available. This can give you even more reassurance that you’ve chosen the best system for your needs.
Switchboard ELD App
There is a well-designed app available for this ELD, which works with just about any Android tablet or smartphone. The app puts the most frequently used features front and center, offering easy access. There is a whole menu of other tools and resources available on the app, of course, but those that are most accessed will be right on the main screen just a click away.
This app allows drivers to change status, perform inspections, add comments, run weekly reports and logs, make corrections, and so much more. The real-time editing is done in a time range style, which can sometimes be difficult because you have to figure out how to get the additions or subtractions right. Drivers will also be able to provide inspection information without compromising confidential information.
The Switchboard ELD seems to have some of the best connectivity on the market, maintaining reliable connections via Bluetooth at all times. The app can be accessed from a personal or work phone or tablet, or by using the provided tablet that is available with the premium plan from Switchboard.
Users can install the app and be up and running in minutes. It updates regularly and has had few issues with errors or app crashes, which is always important for such a critical device. Plus, like the rest of the device, the app is continuously being improved to add even more user-friendly functions for commercial drivers and fleet managers.
What is an ELD, Anyway?
The first laws regarding service driving were passed almost a century ago, all the way back in 1937. These laws mandated all commercial drivers in the U.S. to keep service records by logging their times, stops, and other transit information in paper logs. In 2012, Congress capitalized on available technology and rewrote the old law to create the modern ELD mandate that commercial fleets should all now comply with.
An ELD is simply an electronic version of the old paper logbooks and records. These electronic devices function from a software platform that allows you to view all kinds of information on driver activity, hours of service, vehicle maintenance and inspections, and more. All ELDs must be FMCSA-certified for use in commercial fleets so that companies are compliant with the law. Most systems available today, including this one from Switchboard, offer full compliance as a standard feature.
Electronic logging devices come in all styles and with a variety of available features, including premium routing and navigation features, messaging-style communication platforms that allow you to communicate in real-time, and so much more. They can reduce hassle and increase driver safety, while also reducing your administrative expenses and thereby increasing your bottom line.
Conclusion: Does the Switchboard ELD Deliver What Your Fleet Needs?
When choosing from the many ELDs on the market today, there are a host of options to consider. Now that you know more about the affordable, feature-rich Switchboard ELD, you’ll be able to decide whether it will give you the logging solution that you need for your fleet. Of course, even if this model isn’t perfect, you will have the insight to go out and find whatever does fit your needs.
The Switchboard ELD offers pricing with or without devices and goes well beyond FMCSA compliance to ensure that users get a powerful logging solution at a reasonable price with fewer strings and no monthly fees required for some users. Plus, the fleet management side of the app is a lot more functional and robust than the competition, offering something for everyone’s benefit. Check it out for yourself and find the best ELD solution to get your fleet compliant.