The Complete Guide to Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)

For truckers, it is all about staying compliant and conforming to the recurring mandates released by the FMCSA. However, despite the willingness to adhere to most directives, the one concerning ELDs has been a tough nut to crack for most, courtesy of the monitoring rigidities and higher implementation costs.

Regardless of the apprehensions, the ELD mandate, launched way back in 2019 is here to stay and it would be better for the fleet managers and independent truckers to adapt to this new-fangled development at the earliest. 

Also, an electronic logging device, strictly from a technical perspective, is feature-laden and capable of generating a safer working environment for commercial truckers. Therefore, despite the hesitations regarding setting one up, it is recommended to learn more about ELDS, the mandate, and how beneficial they can be in minimizing drive fatigue and the number of road accidents.

What are Electronic Logging Devices?

Simply put, an ELD is a standard device with the capability of recording the driving time for compatible commercial vehicles. As far as the functioning is concerned, the piece of hardware readily plugs into the OBD port of the vehicle whilst continually capturing data relevant to location, miles driven, speed, engine status, and more.

Check out: 11 Best ELD Devices for Owner-Operators in 2021

Why ELD is such an impactful resource to have?

Believe it or not, an Electronic Logging Device can actually make driving safer. Plus, commercial fleet managers can keep a close eye on the trucker’s whereabouts if an ELD is connected to the concerned dashboard. 

But then, ELD as a concept or rather an enforceable mandate was primarily introduced to recording the HOS i.e. the Hours of Service offered by commercial drivers, across days, weeks, or any stipulated timeframe. With an ELD connected to the commercial vehicle, it becomes easier for the fleet managers to determine the number of service hours put in by the driver, which eventually decides the remuneration, perks, and incentives.

But there is a catch that ELDs can help bypass and get rid of!

Did you know that commercial drivers are only allowed to drive for 11 hours in a 14-hour stretch? As this restriction was brought upon by the federal authorities, it even advocated a bigger role for ELDs, courtesy of their ability to monitor the HOS and record insights in the ELD logbook to help drivers and managers with compliance.

However, an ELD is a lot more than what meets the eye. Although its primary task is to keep a tab on the regulated HOS as a part of the fleet management setup, it can readily capture other data sets by being a part of a vehicle’s telematics setup— with a focus on long-distance signal transmission and continued data projections.

How does a Comprehensive ELD Look Like?

ELDs come in different form factors and can have dedicated GPS tracking setups, accelerometers, and gyroscopes, integrated within. An electronic logging device with the mentioned enhancements is capable of monitoring vehicle data comprehensively, with a focus on the following insights:

  • Engineer speed
  • Commercial load
  • Real-time location
  • Duty status
  • Driving time
  • Idling time
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Mileage
  • Fault code
  • System diagnostics
  • Harsh braking, if any
  • Collisions and other safety-related concerns

With a fully functional ELD capable of monitoring such a diverse range of vehicle-specific functionalities, it would be erroneous to only consider it as a compliance-driving resource. 

How to make the most of an ELD?

Almost every commercial carrier or fleet manager uses an ELD to specifically record the driving time and feed in the HOS in the ELD logbook. However, it is in everybody’s best interest to explore the distinct capabilities of an electronic logging device that extend beyond fulfilling or helping driving comply with the FMCSA mandate.

Needless to say, a beefed-up ELD is certainly a vital cog in the fleet management wheel and its efficient implementation is instrumental when fleet efficiency, sustainability, and safety are concerned.

  • Managed Compliance

Probably the most important role of any electronic logging vehicle is to manage compliance. When connected to the dashboard, the ELD records duty status and HOS, whilst logging the insights in the ELD logbook or the e-log. As the ELD mandate requires commercial vehicles to have this feature, the inclusion of an electronic logging device simply for the sake of compliance, isn’t such a bad option.

  • Efficient Routing 

Should you end up investing in a holistic ELD, it is better to explore the same, in regards to improved routing. ELDs that come integrated with GPS monitoring hardware can track the vehicle route in real-time, thereby allowing the fleet managers to keep a close eye on the drivers.

  • Vehicle Maintenance, Simplified

As the ELD is plugged into the OBD port of the concerned vehicle, it can readily pull out fault codes, average mileage, and other critical data sets pertaining to the engine. The insights can be extrapolated to arrange for preventative vehicle maintenance. Plus, an all-inclusive ELD comes with a dedicated application, which allows drivers to fill in the DVIRs as they travel, thereby minimizing the back-office workload and downtime issues.

  • Improved Safety

Certain ELDs come equipped with integrated accelerometers and gyroscopes, which are capable of identifying harsh turns, sudden braking, collisions, and other untoward movements. The data, if and when logged, is immediately transmitted to the fleet manager, which can be used to handle DOT compliance and improve driving training methods.

  • Loss Prevention

Avant-garde ELDs come with specialized abilities and features, including Geofencing support. This attribute allows truckers to generate a virtual frontier, simply for the sake of security and loss prevention. Once the Geofence is set up, it becomes easier to proactively detect problems related to theft. 

  • All-Inclusive Reporting

With an ELD by your side, pursuing robust reporting is hardly an issue. As a fleet manager, you can continuously procure insights related to harsh events, idling time, fuel usage, risky driving, and more, which can then be deployed to specifically identify an area that needs improvement.

How to deploy an ELD for procuring actionable data and establishing compliance?

Using an electronic logging device doesn’t require a lot of technical prowess. While the vehicle needs to have an OBD port for seamless installation, once onboard, the ELD can start pulling data directly from the vehicle’s engine. ELD ensures that feeds are generated even when the engine is turned off and with GPS navigation; it becomes possible to transmit the data to the concerned authorities. 

As a fleet manager, if you have the best ELD installed on the vehicles, it becomes possible to procure real-time information, pertaining to the vehicle condition and routers. Plus, certain ELDs keep transmitting data whilst feeding off the vehicle’s battery, either to keep back-office records or to provide details to the DOT inspector, in case of a casual roadside check-up. 

ELD Transmission- What and How?

ELDs can work across a wide range of technologies, especially when it comes to transmitting actionable data. While cellular transmission is the most common form of conveying information, some devices also rely on Bluetooth connectivity to send data across to the mobile application of the driver.

However, a few top-shelf ELDs also boats integrated Wi-Fi hotspots, which in turn establish a dedicated connection between the mobile app and the ELD device. This functionality also allows truckers to accept work orders and identify route changes, even in real-time. 

Can ELDs directly transfer data to the Department of Transportation?

Yes, ELDs can assist the drivers whenever a road inspection is round the corner. As the DOT mandates truckers to abide by the HOS regulations, they can always ask the driver to pull the details for cross-referencing. Therefore, it is advisable to invest in an ELD that is capable of supporting the localized transfer of data, either via wireless web or emails. 

The FMCSA, however, finds the Wireless Web service as a more credible method of data transfer. 

Is it mandatory for every driver to get an ELD?

Firstly, every long-haul commercial vehicle needs to have an ELD connected to the dashboard. While this seems like a norm, we should consider it with a grain of salt, as the initial cost of setting it up, uniformly across the fleet, can be a time and cost-intensive job.

Also, as per the ELD mandate, something that we would be discussing in our next discussion, an electronic logging device is of paramount importance to commercial independent drivers or even truckers who are on a company’s payroll. But then, one aspect of the ELD mandate i.e. the one where RODs or ‘Record of Duty Status’ need to be provided, can be exempted from the set of directives, for short-haul companies.

However, if you require a more simplistic explanation of the imminence of ELDs, you must take note of the following factors:

  • ELD is mandatory for long-haul drivers who also need to maintain and provide RODs
  • ELDs and RODs can be done away with under the short-haul commercial exemption plan
  • Tow away drivers, older vehicles without dedicated OBD ports, and contractual drivers need not require an ELD but the ROD maintenance is still mandatory for them

 Are ELDs worth it?

While certain drivers feel that having an ELD integrated with the dashboard makes them less flexible in terms of working hours, the benefits clearly outweigh the problems surrounding the implementation of the same. Although the hardware, installation, training, and subscription fee can look gargantuan at the start, ELDs can significantly minimize fuel wastage, lower commercial insurance premiums, assist with vehicle diagnostics, improve road safety, and improve route management. 

Overall, ELD installation is a win-win for the company, administration, and even the drivers, albeit in the mid to long term.  

5 Best ELD Devices in Canada- ELD Canada

ELD Canada- The Best ELD Devices in Canada

“All Canadian commercial motor vehicles must now have an electronic logging device (ELD).”

Yes, you heard it right; ELDs need to be fit into Canadian fleets of all sizes by June 12, 2021.

If you’re a Canadian trucker who drives heavy, this is how you can keep your commercial fleet running without a dent.

The wise decision taken by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport to mandate electronic logging devices(ELD), is an attempt to keep the roads safe from increasing mishaps.

In 2019, Transport Canadian transport introduced final regulations to the federal law, which safeguards the best interests of truckers and other drivers on the road. It warrants them to drive in a secure domain by keeping a check on-duty status record. The law is believed to change the lives of roughly 3 million drivers by abstaining them from bumpy rides.

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matrack eld device

Matrack ELD is the best electronic logging device available in Canada in 2021 because of its numerous features. It’s a smart ELD with GPS –enabled real time location tracking, Bluetooth compatibility, voice-based ELD status changes and more. Some of the other amazing features include:

  • Lowest monthly fee of 14.95/month
  • Free Device
  • NO CONTRACTS
  • FMCSA and DOT compliance
  • Automated and accurate HoS logs
  • Easy DOT log transfer on inspections
  • Geo-Fencing
  • Accurate travel logs
  • Idle time tracking
  • Real time safety management and risk alerts
  • Automated reporting
  • Accident reporting

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The guidelines come precisely under the law known as The Canada ELD mandate.

What exactly is the Canada ELD mandate?

The ELD mandate is one of the most significant developments in the transportation industry, which otherwise was in the shackles of a mismanaged system.

This trucking law affirms the obligatory use of automated recording devices onboard all Canadian vehicles. Clearly, the ELD mandate emphasizes using electronic logging devices to count hours of service (HOS).

ELD devices are connected to the commercial engine control module. They bind commercial drivers to drive within a specific daily limit by tracking down the driver’s time on the steering wheel. These tamper-resistant devices collect an accurate record of a driver’s working hours.

ELD mandate will forever replace the system of manual data entry. The conventional use of a preceding recorder called an Automatic Onboard Recording Device (AOBRD) will be deemed subsidiary very soon. ELD technology reassures sustainable use as it promises to collect data in a standardized format.

What does the government want to achieve with the ELD mandate?

The government has implied that all Canadian motor vehicles should complete a certified ELD device installation before the compliance date.

Safety of the Drivers

Being a commercial driver is a full-time job. Attending long transportation journeys can be pretty tedious for people at the driver’s seat, who constantly drive from scratch. Recent studies have shown that fatigue is a vital factor that eliminates attention.

Unfortunately, the graph of street and highway accidents is increasing day by day. Careless driving may prove fatal and can cost a life.

Easy Administration

ELDs are a preventive measure that improves drivers’ quality of life and helps make the administration more manageable. Drivers who violate the regulations can easily be checked and acted upon by checking their service records. Overworked drivers can finally be put to rest by the simplest means.

The implementation of ELDs is an empowering step by the government, which only aims to track businesses and transportation across their territory.

Forgery and data loss was serious threats faced by the management. Since ELDs are to be lodged electronically, analytical and dishonest use will also be held punishable. CSA points will be delivered to you permanently in your record every time records are crossed.

Increased Sales

The mandate will initiate goods transfer and product exchange between multiple businesses. It was reported that around 30,000 trucks are traveling between Canada and the USA every day. The USA is currently up to date with its ELD laws, which means that Canada needs to upgrade at its earliest to have maximum profits.

How do Canadian ELDs define the hours of service?

The ELD mandate law was set to check a driver’s hours of service(HOS) by reporting the data into an electronic device instead of adding manual data entry. As of now, the Canadian HOS laws have set 13 consecutive driving hours, 14 hours of combined driving and on-duty time, 16 hours elapsed time in a single shift.

This set of timings ensure a proper rest of 8 consecutive off-duty hours. Back in time, the Canadian HOS laws were malleable and could entertain the grandfather clause. With the formation of the ELD Canada mandate, it has now become compulsory to comply with the hours of service.

Enforcement authorities are employed to render all Canadian commercial motor vehicles out of the service if they fail to meet the requirements.

This is how an ELD works.

ELD locates your current status. Whether you’re On-duty, Off-duty, or Not Driving, an ELD knows everything.

An ELD device sets an automatic record of crucial figures and elements at a specific interval. A few such features are date, location, engine runtime. and distance traveled.

Hence, the ELDs, when attached to an engine, records data based on whether the engine is running, the duration for which the automobile is operated, and the distance covered during a journey.

The list also includes the driver’s ID, motor carrier, and vehicle number. It is essential to know that an ELDs works on software. Fleet drivers must be up to date with ELD software since it needs to be compatible with their fleet management software(FMS). The ELD manufacturer provides this fleet management software.

The Government of Canada makes it compulsory for Canada’s ELD providers to have a third-party certification before they prepare their catalog. ELDs that have been tested and certified by an accredited certification body can only be put on sale.

Read more: 11 Underrated ELD Benefits that go beyond Mandates and Compliance

5 Best ELD Providers in Canada 2021

Now that you have to choose, here is a list that might be of some help.

The products on our list are not only FMCSA approved but market-ready too. Our ratings are based on customer opinion, usability, adaptability level, cost-effectiveness. We aim to offer a complete package with the below listing.

1. Matrack ELD- the best overall ELD

Matrack ELD

The Matrack ELD is voted as the best electronic logging device currently in the market. It is famous for its reliable set of functions and easy operation.

Optimum results are delivered with the help of a smooth, responsive application. You can install this ELD device quite effortlessly, owing to its robust design and unbreakable hardware.

The manufacturer makes a note to provide the best services at a minimum subscription cost.

One can blindly go by this ELD, as it ticks all points in the FMCSA checklist.

The app provides a user-friendly experience. You can run the app on almost any UI, whether it’s the Apple or Android device. Customer support and satisfaction are a massive deal in the world of Matrack ELD solutions. It is available at a pocket-friendly price of  $14.95 a month.

You won’t be charged a convenience fee during any transaction. The hassle-free subscription can be canceled anytime, but I guess you would hardly do so, for the provider guarantees a lifetime warranty on all its logging devices. The fleet management solution helps you to manage and record all your data in a simple space.

The readings are entirely accurate. Using this device, you can avoid any possible problems. You can even manage your fuel consumption to start a profit-generating cycle. The best part about this ELD is the voice-enabled interface, making it even easier to denote block transfers and accident reports.

Pros

  1. FMCSA and DOT policy and smooth log transfer, in case of any inspection. 
  2. The ELD offers Geofencing and accurate travel log provision which gives accurate information, at any instant.
  3. Risk elevators and safety management protocols are strong enough to prevent any accident.
  4. Complete track of fuel cycle helps to save a lot of money.
  5. Backups are easy to restore and retrieve, whenever needed. The voice-enabled user interface provides ease of use. 

Cons

  1. Due to Geofencing and tracking, some people feel it is harmful to their privacy.
  2. Fleet managers and every worker involved in the transportation needs to be up to date with the functions. It requires a lot of learning.

2. GPS Trackit ELD- Easy Installation

GPS Trackit ELD

GPSTrackit ELD offers easy installation of their ELD device, which works sincerely to be a good choice for owner-operators who do not want to be involved in a contract.

A simple plug-in-play can turn on your hardware which can then be compiled with the software application. The app can be easily downloaded on any device you like.

It’s a return on investment for those small-size fleet owners who want to first examine the functions of their ELDs before they sign into a long-term contract. The monthly subscription is priced at $ 25.95 onwards. GPS tracker will be highly beneficial to all the truck owners who travel frequently and often find themselves in theft-prone areas.

Along with transmission and report storing facilities, these ELDs alert you to curb violations, thus saving time and life.

Pros

  1. By using the GPS track it e-logs you can save an enormous amount of time since you are always backed by honest results. 
  2. The mechanism of action of this particular ELD, helps you to stay on track and avoid any violations which can put you at risk. This ELD can track the status of any vehicle on which it is installed. 
  3. Phone service, customer service, and training is quite welcoming

Cons

  1. They run system maintenance setups at 3 am, at which local drivers have started their daily journey.
  2. You have to keep power consumption at bay, every time.

3. KeepTruckin ELD device

KeepTruckin ELD device

Keep trucking ELD is evolving every day to sustain itself as a premier driving innovator. This cloud company has climbed up its way into the top hundred in the Forbes list. The company produces some reliable products that have a standard FMCSA mark. The ELD devices come at a modest price, as the company aims to create cost-effective products concerning state laws.

Just like this ELD, its other contemporaries keep trucking electronic logging devices of monthly subscription pricing. The core feature includes optimum fuel monitoring, safety alerts, and auto records. KeepTruckin’s ELDs can set time alerts based on your preferences.

Also, geofencing technology helps you be cautious on the road.

The manufacturer does not charge any upfront price and offers you the whole deal in the installment of $35 a month. Yes, these ELDs operate on a contract. Customer service is always available at any time of the day. The hardware is easy to install and will last almost a lifetime. There are so many reasons to go for this deal, but it’s the brand value that sets it apart from others.

Pros

  1. Easy setup and easiest replacement service. The device is compatible with every kind of vehicles such as a van, box- truck, tractor, truck, or light-duty vehicle.
  2. You can have all data and information at your fingertips as log retrieval is simple and stress-free.
  3. The ELD always complies with the FMCSA changes.
  4. Customer support is powerful and timely.

Cons

  1. Some people have reported trouble with the software and specific features like the odometer. It is important to know that these setbacks can be handled.
  2. Reports are difficult to combine to generate a full report.

4. Gorilla Safety ELD

Gorilla Safety ELD

Gorilla Safety ELDs primarily provide a document management system in its list of operative features. It is often found that fresh models are constantly evolving with the latest technology. Gorilla Safety is a new service provider, which promises to deliver some fantastic pieces to operate in the fleet management industry.

The company makes a note to follow the latest law of ELD mandate, and even the products are up to date with FMCSA regulation. The app, which comes along with the service, switches on document tracking mode while you are in the driver’s seat.

The category sections or scrolls all the relevant information targeted to the truck, its driver, and even the company. Cool features like easy driver mechanic communication, location sharing, E-log mobile app, and the website makes Gorilla safety a premium name among ELD providers in Canada.

Pros

  1. The document management system is excellent. 4 subdivisions help to maintain uniformity. They are ELD Company Dossiers, Truck Dossiers, Patent Dossiers, and

Driver’s Qualification Dossiers.

  1. This ELD helps to maintain a good CSA score, which is based on vehicle compliance, safety, and accountability.
  2. It can track the status of any vehicle on which it is installed. Thus, the ELD is extremely useful in accident investigations. Users can protect themselves from unfortunate lawsuits, especially when they are not at fault. 

Cons

  1. This is a very good ELD but not the best. There are some unique and extremely important features like engine fault codes, which are missing.
  2. Some users recorded incorrect calculations. However, this problem can be avoided by little changes in the software.

5. EROAD Ehubo ELD

EROAD Ehubo ELD

Broad Ehubo ELD comes under the category of an essential budget-friendly ELD device. With the back of the FMCSA mark, this device can record accurate results. Its resilient hardware assures robust use.

The manufacturer considers customer support and timely reporting as a matter of grave importance. The ELD offers lots of extensive features on the table. You can actively go for a plan that meets your budget since the pricing falls between the range of $30-60.

You do not need to pay any extra hardware charges apart from a primary setup fee of $35. The device is easy to install and align due to its compact and single-in vehicle design. The geolocation feature holds a significant value to the drivers. The screen provides mileage count and even considers displaying fuel information. You can save a lot of money by investing in this basic ELD.

Pros

  1. The cellular coverage of the product is excellent, works accurately even in the remotest of places.
  2. Driver behavior can be regulated by regulating functions like speed, driver routes.
  3. Easy to use and understand.
  4. Provision of a free trial.
  5. IFTA reports and single-vehicle units.

Cons

  1. Lacks a non-regulated driving mode.
  2. Customer Service cannot always match up.
  3. Costs can be overwhelming to some.

Conclusion

It’s advisable to go for an ELD that you can resonate with, after all, it’s a matter of safety. It’s always better to choose an ELD that passes all the standardized tests and contains the necessary features, as the ELD mandate is here for a really long weekend.