Considerations for Choosing ELDs & Systems
1. How will you know that an ELD is compliant?
Motor carriers are required to do their own homework and research on what ELDs need to do and what type of device or system is best for their fleets.
The US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established a registration and self-certification process for manufacturers to follow, with a public website listing those that have completed the process.
- Functional specifications are listed in Appendix A to Subpart B of Part 395
- ELD Registration is available from FMCSA’s ELD Website
2. How do you choose an ELD system from an incomplete list?
Currently, the ELD list only contains three providers claiming to meet the ELD standard. Rather than waiting for more to appear, carriers should become familiar with the requirements of the rule and be prepared to ask lots of questions about systems that fit your needs and budget.
Before purchasing a system, carriers need to understand:
- The broad requirements of the rule and ask how the system will meet them over time;
- What steps the provider is taking to register the product with FMCSA and self-certify; and
- the expected timeline for doing so.
3. Minimum ELD Requirements
At a minimum, the standards require ELDs to be integrally synchronized with the commercial vehicle engine to automatically record the following data elements at certain intervals:
- Location information
- Engine hours
- Vehicle miles
Identification information for the driver, the authenticated user, the vehicle, and the motor carrier
The driver must be able to log in and select a duty status required (on-duty, off-duty, on-duty not driving)
For roadside inspections, ELDs must also provide data in a way that’s standardized, via one of two options for electronic data transfer
- A telematics option, via wireless Web services and e-mail
- A local transfer option, via USB2.0 and Bluetooth (both are necessary in case an officer has one or the other)
Each option must also allow the driver to provide either the display (by handling the device to an officer from the cab) or a print-out when an authorized safety official requests a physical display of the information.
The ELD rule does not require devices to have any back office functionality or to otherwise integrate with a fleet management system. They do not need to provide communications between the driver and the motor carrier.
Carriers that already use AOBRDs may just need an update to that system for compliance in December 2019, but those using electronic logging software that doesn’t synchronize with the engine, including tablet or phone-based e-logs, will need to look at investing in AOBRDs or ELDs.\\
4. Other Considerations
- Carriers should think about future needs and long-term use of the system to avoid buying twice in a short period of time
- The functionality of telematics vs. local transfer methods is worth investigating in addition to price; Bluetooth technology reportedly has a limited range (about 30 feet – which isn’t far considering a patrol car could park behind a 52-foot trailer)
- Consider interoperability of systems if working with the owner-operators or thinking about acquisitions in future. Owner-operators using different systems could require work on a back office system to allow integration. Owner-operators required to use a specific system may object.
- Ask about repair and maintenance services provided by the vendor as well
For more information, visit: BCTA – Considerations for Choosing ELDs & Systems
Tia Chisholm, HUB International TRANSPORTATION
HUB International TRANSPORTATION specialists are based in Vancouver. Our longstanding relationships with the best providers in the business allow us to deliver the solution that serve you best. With HUB, you can run your business knowing that you are headed in the right direction.