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ELDs – More than a Paper Replacement

Back in 1976 Florida orange juice growers came up with a clever advertising slogan, “Orange juice, it’s not just for breakfast anymore.”  In the world of trucking your ELD “Is not just a logbook anymore.”  Since U.S. and Canadian ELD mandates require nearly all federally regulated trucks to replace their paper logbooks with Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) to automate collection and reporting of Hours of Service (HOS) data, every truck has an intelligent device that can do more than be just a logbook.

In this article, we’ll discuss how your ELD can enhance your driving experience, monitor your equipment/data sources and simply put – optimize your overall operations. 

An ELD can be Just an Electronic Logbook

The ELD logbook replacement makes HOS logging simpler, more accurate, and avoids fines with its automated record keeping – so easy that hardly anyone would welcome going back to paper.  Drivers save time and the hassle of paper logs creating the ease of showing HOS compliance at the “click of a button”.  Inspectors see a consistent format, accurate records, and let’s admit it, a legible record that makes any engagement between drivers and officials faster and more efficient.  The ELD mandate only requires the ELD replace the logbook, but to the possibilities go far beyond just that function.

ELD as Much More

Your ELD is a smart electronic device that can do much more than simply replace your logbook. With the introduction of tablet or phone into the cab, an ELD system now has significant computer power and communication capabilities.  This means it can monitor many elements or “things” around or in the truck and upload this information to the internet or display it to the driver.  Essentially ELD has transformed a logbook into an “Internet of Things” (IoT) solution for trucking. Here are some examples of how IoT around a truck might be valuable to both the driver and fleet operator.  


Flexible ELD Solution to meet your business needs

Sensors

Automatically monitor and alert the driver about what’s going on with the load, truck, and trailer by connecting to sensors that can detect liquid fuel load levels, tire pressure (TPMS), hub health, refrigerated load temperature, and more.  ELD software intelligence provides more than just gauges by displaying warnings before problems become failures.

Dashcams

Capture and transmit out-the-cab video records of incidents such as crashes or dangerous braking to document “at fault” evidence when needed.  ELD can record and transmit incident records to the carrier to help reduce insurance costs and improve driver safety performance.

Applications

ELDs, especially those built on open systems like Android, can be configured with a variety of applications either standalone or integrated with fleet management systems. Some of these configurable integrations include navigation, rest stop and parking advice, toll by-pass, safety alerts, and electronic paperwork capture and display of work-orders, receipts, and more.

Diagnostics and Maintenance

An ELD connects to the engine OBD port to capture engine power status, vehicle motion status, miles driven, and engine hours to meet the ELD mandate.  That same connection gives access to vehicle diagnostic fault codes that the ELD can display to the driver and report to the FMS.  Faults like a stuck fuel adjuster, coolant temperature problem, exhaust faults, and more can be monitored and alarmed, if needed, to schedule maintenance to prevent issues from becoming breakdowns.  Think of it as a mechanic riding along under the hood to help ensure the drive train is performing as it should.

ELDs, Fleet Management Platforms

A Fleet Management System (FMS) manages the information from devices integrated with the ELD as well as devices like telematics/tracking devices by giving an integrated view to the driver and to the dispatcher.  

An ELD and its connected system of sensors and applications can operate standalone, but the FMS adds the big picture intelligence to provide dispatchers and operators the information they need to operate most efficiently and safely.

Think Ahead

Choosing an ELD is not something that you can or should put off.  Canada enforcement of the ELD mandate starts January 1, 2023.  It’s important to consider “future proofing” your ELD by selecting a solution that can expand as your needs change to integrate with sensors and vehicle monitoring devices making a substantial difference in your business success.

Final Comments

Your ELD is a tool that can do just one task, HOS capture/reporting, or it can be a key piece of a fleet management system.  Keep in mind, you don’t have to jump in with both feet right away.  Choose an ELD that can be part of an open system, delivering value with your initial purchase and increasing its value over time. Our recommendation, take the time to educate yourself on which options are available and choose the best solution that meets your needs.  ELDs, not just for logbooks anymore.

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