Affordable ELD for FMCSA Compliance
The prices of electronic logging devices may fluctuate considerably. Looking for ways to cut operational expenses, some truckers might hire providers who offer low-priced elog solutions. Unfortunately, this idea rarely works out as planned, and motor carriers end up paying more than they expected.
From non-transparent pricing and inflexible long-term contracts to low-quality hardware and unreliable software, too affordable ELDs may hide plenty of unpleasant surprises that can potentially lead to downtime and financial losses caused by HOS violations and operational delays.
When choosing an electronic logging device, it is important to remember that an affordable ELD doesn’t mean cheap, but a reliable device for a reasonable price. In this article, we touch upon practical and legal aspects related to electronic logbooks and help you find an affordable ELD to achieve maximum compliance and efficiency.
Who Needs an ELD?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) ELD mandate establishes a strict control over drivers’ hours of service to prevent them from overworking by using an electronic logging device to record driving hours automatically. The rules in the ELD mandate are designed specifically for commercial vehicle drivers required to keep records of duty status, including those domiciled in Mexico and Canada. However, drivers can be exempt from these regulations under the following circumstances:
- If a driver operates under any of the short-haul exceptions.
- If a driver uses paper RODS for eight days or less in every 30-day period.
- If a driver operates a vehicle with an engine manufactured before the year 2000.
- If a driver operates the commodity being delivered.
Key Functions of an ELD
Now that we know who needs an ELD, let’s discuss what are the ELD requirements for truckers and the standards for electronic logging devices. Firstly, elog devices must be registered with the FMCSA to be compliant in the US. These solutions have a lower risk of malfunctioning as providers have to undergo a self-certification process, testing their product according to the specifications designed by the government. According to the FMCSA, electronic logbooks must be able to perform these key functions:
Synchronization with the engine control module. The device is connected directly to the vehicle’s engine to monitor its operation and automatically collect the data required by the federal mandate.
Automatically record driving time and details. Electronic logging devices automatically switch to driving mode once the vehicle moves at five or more miles per hour. The logbook records the following data to produce records of duty status and help drivers track their HOS limits:
- Engine hours
- Vehicle miles
- Driver identification
- User authentication
- Motor carrier
Location information. Elogs record location data at 60-minute intervals when the vehicle is in motion and note when the driver powers up and shuts down the engine, changes duty status, or indicates personal use or yard moves. When a driver operates a commercial vehicle for personal use, the position reporting accuracy is approximately within a 10-mile radius for privacy issues.
Electronic data transfer. There are two options to transfer RODS to an authorized safety official on demand: telematics (wireless Web services and email) or local (USB 2.0 or Bluetooth). When an official requests a physical display of the hours of service (HOS) data during a roadside inspection, the driver is expected to provide either their mobile display (smartphone or tablet) or a printout.
Tamper prevention. In order to protect reports from being altered or falsified, elog devices must be tamper-proof.
Certification of driver records. The ELD rule requires that the driver signs the record of duty status at the end of the 24-hour period, after all the necessary entries have been made.
What Are the Characteristics of a Quality ELD?
Besides these mandatory requirements, there are characteristics that define a quality ELD. In this section, we will examine some of these to help you choose a solution that will help you optimize your workflows and avoid expensive fines. Truckers can check user reviews on app distribution platforms to find out what others’ experiences have been with them. The Apple App Store and Google Play are excellent places to find real life accounts of elog performance in the real world. These are some things to keep in mind:
Efficient Customer Support
Reliable technical support might be the most important feature of an efficient electronic logbook. Being able to reach a knowledgeable service rep when you need help troubleshooting, solving compliance issues, or simply navigating the system makes a huge difference. You can try calling your potential provider’s support line to make sure you can get through fast enough to someone who can assist you effectively.
The installation process may vary depending on the ELD device and the provider’s manufacturing. Complex systems that need specialized personnel to install may result in downtime and additional costs. Look for a solution that doesn’t require special installation and can be set up in minutes by anyone from your staff.
Drivers may use different devices and operating systems—this doesn’t have to be a problem when choosing an electronic logging device. A system that pairs with both Apple and Android tablets and smartphones will make for a more affordable ELD since motor carriers won’t need to worry about buying additional phones or tablets.
If you are an owner of a fleet with trucks of different vehicle classes, finding a system that integrates equally well with all of them is crucial. An affordable ELD should be compatible with all vehicles in your fleet, as this avoids having to purchase different solutions for each type of truck.
Another characteristic of an affordable ELD is an intuitive interface that allows drivers to easily update their status, complete vehicle inspections reports, manage compliance requirements, and pass roadside inspections. When technology is complicated, operators may need special training to understand how the app works—this may lead to extra expenses and downtown—or may not use it correctly. An easy-to-use fleet manager portal will also facilitate work for supervisors and dispatchers.
HOS247 Is a Top-Rated ELD Provider
Reliability and a customer-centered approach are the basis of HOS247’s services. We have developed an efficient and affordable ELD with a flexible subscription system to suit the needs of our clients. Among the benefits HOS247 offers are:
- Top-rated customer support. Our dependable solution is backed up by an efficient technical support team available seven days a week. According to user reviews on the Apple App Store and Google Play, the professionalism of our multilingual reps is one of the main reasons truckers prefer HOS247 over other providers. For instance, our callback policy guarantees that no client will be left unattended, and even if the call drops, your rep will contact you immediately so you don’t have to explain the issue twice.
- No contracts. At HOS247, we don’t lock our customers into long-term contracts. Our no-contact policy allows clients to choose a monthly or yearly subscription plan that can be easily scales up or down or canceled.
- Features to boost productivity. HOS247 all in one solution offers a set of essential tools for optimizing operational workflows that help significantly cut expenses, improve fleet safety, and achieve regulatory compliance.
- Real-time GPS tracking provides full visibility facilitating dispatch and communication between drivers and the main office.
- Idle reporting helps identify and manage fuel waste.
- The IFTA feature tracks miles driven per jurisdiction to simplify IFTA reporting.
- Vehicle maintenance reduces the risk of serious vehicle breakages by notifying drivers and fleet managers about upcoming maintenance events, which helps prolong the vehicle’s useful life.
If you are looking for an affordable ELD for your business, HOS247 is an all in one ELD provider committed to customer satisfaction. HOS247 electronic logbooks enhance operational workflows while helping drivers achieve compliance with federal rules. FMCSA-approved, our ELD solution minimizes the risk of HOS violations and higher CSA scores. Order our demo now to try our system’s advantages and improve your business’s compliance and productivity.
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