ELDs for Trucks: What are the Benefits of Installing ELDs in Your Fleet

September 20, 2021

ELD for trucks

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Is your fleet navigating the FMCSA emergency COVID-19 HOS suspension? Read our [FAQ](https://www.samsara.com/blog/navigating-the-fmcsa-emergency-declaration-covid-19-hos-suspension "FAQ") to learn what the new rules are, if they apply to your fleet, and how to adjust your operations to stay compliant.

If you're a fleet manager, it’s important to make sure your drivers stay ELD compliant. To do this, fleets are required to install electronic logging devices (ELDs) in their vehicles to ensure driving hours are accurately tracked and Hours of Service (HOS) requirements are properly met.

But beyond compliance, ELDs can also offer fleets a wide range of benefits that help improve fleet management and streamline operations. Read on to learn why ELDs for trucks are not just an integral part of a compliance solution, but a great way to improve overall fleet efficiency.

What are ELDs?

Electronic logging devices, also known as electronic logbooks, e-logs, or driver logs, automatically record driving time so fleets have a reliable way to collect Hours of Service data. Many ELD providers also include a smartphone or mobile device integration so drivers can set their duty status, complete daily logs, and present electronic logs to DOT officers performing roadside inspections.

ELDs must connect directly to the vehicle's engine and monitor usage to ensure logs cannot be falsified. ELDs must also be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Why are ELDs an important part of a fleet management solution?

ELD devices ensure that the trucking industry accurately tracks HOS compliance, while removing many of the slowdowns caused by paper logs. ELDs are an important part of any telematics solution and offer a variety of benefits to fleet managers, owner-operators, and drivers. Some of these benefits include:

Simplified regulatory compliance:

ELDs ensure that fleets meet the requirements of the ELD mandate or final rule that went into effect in the United States in 2017.

The first phase of the mandate—which aims to regulate driving hours by requiring fleets to record Hours of Service electronically and take mandated breaks—was created to reduce instances of drowsy driving while ensuring drivers have an easier way to set their duty status and submit their logs. The second phase, which goes into effect in December 2019, will require all vehicles still using automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs) to switch to ELDs.

With real-time visibility into every driver’s log, ELDs give fleet managers and dispatchers visibility into drivers’ statuses when planning routes so that Hours of Service violations can be avoided. Certain ELD providers like Samsara even provide HOS reports that allow fleet managers to quickly identify and coach for safety or compliance violations. These alerts can be easily customized so fleet managers can choose to be notified when a driver is speeding or they can simply use the HOS report to see if drivers are approaching a compliance violation.

Improved driver safety:

ELDs equip managers with real-time and historical data that makes a comprehensive fleet safety program possible. Plus, ELDs can be paired with a telematics solution—that connects directly to a vehicle's engine—to collect data like vehicle speed and capture information about harsh events. This offers fleet managers more visibility into driver behavior so they can take proactive steps, like personalized driver coaching, toward preventing accidents.

ELDs also help drivers focus on their main job—driving. Instead of manually filling out logbooks or calculating how long they've been on the road, drivers are freed up to focus on the task of getting from point A to point B. And because ELDs capture accurate drive time, drivers are held accountable for how many hours they spend on the road. With ELDs, the risk that a driver might add a couple of hours to their shift is removed—making accidents caused by drowsy driving less likely.

Decreased admin work:

Administrative burden can be a major fleet management challenge. With ELDs, not only is HOS paperwork drastically reduced, but things like IFTA mileage reporting and driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) can be completed much more efficiently when an ELD is paired with a telematics device.

Before electronic logging devices and fleet management software, back-office admins would need to manually sift through fuel receipts before they could calculate mileage for quarterly IFTA reports and drivers would need to fill-out a physical DVIR form before they started driving each day.

But since telematics devices are connected to an engine's OBD port, admins can receive accurate mileage information directly from the device. With Samsara, fleet managers can even set up idling alerts to get notified when drivers are idling in excess or fuel reports that can be emailed directly to their inbox on a regular cadence.

Reduced maintenance costs:

When an ELD is paired with a telematics device, it can detect engine issues in real time. As a result, ELDs can notify fleet managers whenever a vehicle maintenance problem—like failing batteries or engine faults—are detected so action can be taken immediately.

Plus, fleet managers can set up a preventative maintenance schedule based on mileage or engine hours. This can be particularly valuable since last-minute emergency repairs can on average cost four times as much.

Who needs an ELD?

Drivers who operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and are required to maintain a record of duty status (RODS) must comply with the ELD mandate. Commercial vehicles are vehicles that are used for business purposes and interstate travel. In addition, they meet one of the following criteria:

  • Weigh more than 10,000 pounds

  • Have a gross vehicle weight rating or a gross combination weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds

  • Are designed to transport 16 or more non-paying passengers, including the driver

  • Are designed to transport nine or more paying passengers, including the driver

  • Transport enough hazardous materials to legally require warning placards

How to find the right ELD solution for your fleet

ELDs that don’t function as well as they should have been a source of driver and fleet manager frustration since the ELD mandate launched. Make sure your fleet is investing in a modern system that's committed to listening to customer feedback and adapting to changing regulations with consistent updates.

As a complete Hours of Service solution for the ELD rule, Samsara keeps your fleet compliant and simplifies fleet management with its FMCSA-registered ELD. Live data is transmitted to the ELD so there is always an accurate log of when the engine is on or off, duty status changes, and what speed the vehicle is traveling.

Samsara’s ELD compliance is part of a complete fleet management platform that provides fleets with real-time GPS tracking for live-to-the-second location data, driver coaching for a safer fleet, and more. To learn how Samsara can help your fleet become more efficient, reach out for a free trial today or read more about Samsara’s ELD compliance solution.

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