Could a Canadian Cheap ELD Be Reliable?
It’s understandable why truckers choose low-priced electronic logging devices. However, cheap ELD solutions in Canada may end up being more expensive for a variety of reasons. For example, low-quality hardware can be unreliable and may break easily, leading to downtime and financial losses caused by delays in deliveries. Also, some providers of cheap driver log books may not be transparent with pricing and charge carriers for services that should be included in the package, driving the price up considerably.
The experience of dealing with cheap ELD devices may be frustrating and discouraging, and that’s why it’s important to keep in mind that, at the end of the day, cheapest eld solution is not the one that costs less but the one that provides reliable services to avoid HOS violations and save money on operating expenses. In this article, we will discuss how to find a reliable electronic logbook at an affordable price. Let’s start with the basics: compliance.
How Do I Know If an ELD Is Compliant?
According to ELD regulations established by Transport Canada, in order to stay compliant motor carriers must use electronic logbooks certified by an accredited body. A third party tests the hardware and software of each logbook system submitted by manufacturers. Devices undergo in-vehicle testing, bench-top, or simulations to ensure they meet the requirements of the Technical Standards. Even when providers successfully pass the certification process and receive a unique certification number, their devices’ performance will continue to be surveilled and partially retested to ensure continued compliance on carriers’ part.
Red Flags When Selecting an ELD Solution
Whether you are considering switching providers or are buying an electronic logbook for the first time, there are important factors to take into consideration. We have compiled a list of the most common disadvantages of seemingly cheap ELDs to help you identify and avoid these red flags.
Inaccessible Customer Support
Reliable support service is a crucial element when dealing with technology. A provider that leaves customers hanging on the phone for hours is not only frustrating but can also cost carriers considerable amounts of money. If a driver can’t get in touch with technical support when the device malfunctions, they can’t continue their tasks efficiently, slowing down operations. A well-informed and accessible support team is as important as a reliable device, because technical support managers help you resolve compliance issues, troubleshoot, and provide training if needed. A cheap ELD for an owner operator often lacks accessible customer support, using machines instead of people. Test your potential vendor by calling their support line and making sure someone picks up the phone.
Elogs should be designed to facilitate managing driver logs, making compliance easier. However, some electronic logging devices offer overly complex systems that make truckers wish they could go back to paper logs. Some providers of cheap ELDs don’t spend enough time developing a system that is easy to navigate, complicating tasks for drivers and carrier’s staff. To verify ease of use, look for user reviews on unbiased platforms; fellow truckers are your best source of information.
Hidden fees are another common practice amongst cheap ELD providers. After the contract is signed, you might find out there are extra costs for device activation, data packages, installation, training, or implementation—essential services that should be included in your plan. If you can’t trust your provider, it will definitely make the road to compliance tougher.
Another usual drawback of low-priced solutions are long-term contracts (3-5 years), since they might lead to being stuck with an inefficient service for years. On the other hand, early contract terminations usually require the customer to pay a fee that can be pretty high. When it comes to electronic logbooks, anything over a one year commitment is not advisable.
Low-Quality or Proprietary Hardware
To offer a cheap ELD, some providers might skimp on the quality of their devices and offer no warranty. These devices are at much higher risk of malfunctioning or breaking down, leading to delays and drivers having to keep paper logs while the issue is resolved. On the other hand, some vendors manufacture their own tablets to display the data collected by the engine connected device, which drives up the price and eliminates the flexibility given by tablet- or smartphone-based solutions. You can request a trial from your potential provider to test their product before committing to it.
In situations that involve large sums of money—like in the case of HOS violations—it’s crucial to be backed up by an experienced partner who knows the legal and technical specifics of the field. Unfortunately, some providers offer their services without the necessary expertise to help their customers stay compliant. This is another reason to check user reviews on unbiased platforms to see what experiences other truckers have had with the device.
In a nutshell, to minimize the risks of ending up with an unreliable ELD, motor carriers are recommended to 1) choose a provider approved by Transport Canada 2) make sure the company doesn’t have any red flags mentioned above, and 3) compare the pricing of the potential solutions.Reliability is the key. However, you don’t have to get a high-priced solution to achieve compliance. In the next section, we will introduce you to a quality electronic logging book that meets all Transport Canada requirements at a reasonable price.
HOS247 Offers Reliability at an Affordable Price
HOS247 is an experienced ELD provider that prioritizes customers’ needs, offering top-rated service. User reviews on the Apple App Store and Google Play show that truckers appreciate our solution for its reliability, easy use, and excellent technical support. At HOS247, we are confident in the quality of our product and ready to prove it. The benefits of our electronic logbook include:
- Intuitive interface. HOS247 software is straightforward and requires no training. Users can manage driver’s logs, create driver inspection reports, find out how much drive time they have available, and pull a list of HOS violations in a few clicks. Our app works with iOS and Android devices to accommodate drivers’ preferences.
- Straightforward installation. HOS247 hardware does not require special installation. The device can be set up by anyone in a matter of minutes. If you have any doubts, you can always contact our technical support, and HOS247 experts will help you complete the installation process.
- Accessible and efficient customer support. Our team of knowledgeable support specialists best demonstrates the principles of our customer-centered approach. Available Monday through Sunday, our multilingual reps will clarify any doubts regarding device use and help you troubleshoot. With our callback policy, no customer will be left unattended or have to explain an issue twice: if the call gets disconnected, our staff will reach out to you immediately.
- No-contract policy. Unlike other companies that lock up their clients in long-term contracts, HOS247 offers a flexible system of monthly or yearly subscription that can be easily scaled up/down or canceled without hassle. Our clients stay with us because they decide to, not because they are forced to.
- Two-week trial. We encourage our customers to test our solution before subscribing to a plan. The refundable two-week trial allows truckers to get to know the system and test its performance to decide if it suits them.
- Additional features. HOS247 logbooks can integrate additional features to improve tasks related to paperwork, dispatch, and vehicle maintenance to cut operational costs, and ensure fleet security. We offer the following services:
- Real-time GPS tracking
- Idle reporting
- Fleet maintenance reminders
- Vehicle diagnostics
- IFTA calculations
- One-year hardware warranty. Reliability is our key priority: HOS247 ELD hardware is built to last. If our device presents any failures within the first year, we offer a free replacement.
Avoid ELD-Related Fines with a Reliable Solution
Cheap ELD devices may present a higher risk of malfunctioning, compromising the carrier’s compliance and potentially leading to fines related to HOS violations and downtime. If the driver notices that their ELD is displaying a malfunction or a data diagnostic code, these are the steps they should take to stay compliant according to Transport Canada regulations:
- Notify the motor carrier about the malfunction as soon as the commercial vehicle is parked.
- If unable to retrieve log data from the device, reconstruct the RODS for the current 24-hour period and the previous 14 consecutive days on graph-grid paper logs.
- Mention the specific malfunction or data diagnostic code in the records, registering the date and time when the malfunction was noticed and the time the driver notified the motor carrier about the failure.
- Keep RODS on paper after the malfunction was noticed and until the ELD is either repaired or replaced.
On the other hand, after being notified about a malfunction by the driver, the motor carrier must:
- Service or replace the malfunctioning device within 14 days after being notified of or otherwise noticing the problem or, if the vehicle was involved in a trip lasting more than 14 days, upon its return.
- Record the malfunction. Carriers are required to register instances of their vehicles’ ELDs malfunctions. This note should include the following information:
- The name of the driver who originally noticed the malfunction.
- The names of each subsequent driver that may have used the commercial vehicle following the discovery of the malfunction.
- Specific elog information, including the make, model, and serial number.
- Specific commercial vehicle information, including the license plate or the vehicle identification number (VIN) in which the ELD is installed or used.
- The date when a malfunction or data diagnostic code was noticed.
- The commercial vehicle’s location on that date, along with the date when the motor carrier was notified about the malfunction.
- Information when the malfunctioning logging device was replaced or repaired.
- A concise description of the actions the motor carrier has taken to repair or replace the device.
- The motor carrier must retain this information for a period of 6 months since the ELD was serviced or replaced.
Considering the complications related to the malfunction reporting, motor carriers are advised to stake on reliability rather than a low price. Dependable and efficient, the HOS247 ELD helps carriers and drivers achieve compliance, considerably reducing the risk of HOS violations at a reasonable price.
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