In the recent past, companies have rapidly adopted electronic logging devices (ELDs) for trucking. In part, the growth is due to the rising need to improve productivity in fleet management services. The growth is also due to changing regulatory requirements. In Canada, for example, operators of commercial vehicles need to install ELDs on trucks as per Transport Canada’s 2021 ELD mandate. In this article, find a rundown of ELDs, including how to manage them.
What are Electronic Logging Devices (ELD)?
An electronic logging device or ELD is a piece of hardware used by drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) or fleet management companies to automatically record driving time and Hours of Service (HOS) records. It plugs into the vehicle’s onboard diagnostics (OBD) port and captures data on its engine, location, speed, and distance covered.
What Does an ELD Record?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an ELD automatically records the following data elements at certain intervals: date; time; location information; engine hours; vehicle miles; and identification information for the driver, authenticated user, vehicle, and motor carrier. 
ELD Compliance for Truck Fleets: Why is it Important?
ELDs have important benefits for a carrier’s fleet management system. Fleet management companies use ELD solutions to record a driver’s drive time and electronically track the HOS as per the FMCSA’s rule. ELDs collect a myriad of data that promise a range of additional benefits.
Many organizations hope that telematics will help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their fleet operations and maximize the safety and productivity of drivers. Here are a few ways that ELDs benefit independent truck drivers and trucking companies.
After the introduction of the ELD mandate, commercial operators of vehicles are now required to install electronic logging devices to stay compliant by recording HOS and rest periods. HOS rules are complicated, and drivers may need clarification and help with tracking. ELDs simplify drivers’ jobs by displaying a range of information, including when they must take a break; when they must rest for a longer period; how long they can continue driving; and other warnings related to HOS rules.
Modern telematic devices have built-in GPS tracking, accelerometers, and gyroscopes. They can detect harsh braking and hard acceleration that can hurt fleet safety. Fleet companies can monitor such activities as a part of their fleet safety program, which will help companies reduce the risk of road accidents and injuries.
Dispatching and routing
ELDs have GPS technology that can track the real-time location of drivers on the road. Fleet managers or owners/operators can plan effective HOS-complaint routes, schedule mandated driving breaks, and still meet deadlines. Dispatchers can also use the live location data and real-time traffic conditions to identify alternate routes for drivers to avoid traffic congestion.
ELDs can highlight the state of vehicle engines in real time. Electronic logging devices connect the OBD port of vehicles to collect a broader array of vehicle data. Certain ELDs provide end-to-end vehicle inspection (e.g., critical engine data, tire pressure, fluid levels, etc.) for insights into vehicle conditions. Drivers can submit this information to schedule preventive maintenance appointments via the ELD app.
Vehicle location is one of the most important monitoring functions the FMCSA deems important in ensuring compliance. Fleet managers can create virtual boundaries around physical locations and send security alerts when vehicles leave the geofence. To ensure driver privacy, when a driver is not operating, the vehicle ELD software is switched to privacy mode and creates a geofence.
ELDs enable reporting that helps fleet managers identify areas of improvement and cost savings.
Extended benefits –
- Reduced paper management – Fleet companies were traditionally responsible for maintaining drivers’ paper logs. ELDs remove the need to maintain paper logbooks.
- Optimized fuel consumption – GPS technology in ELDs helps organizations track fuel usage by keeping tabs on speeding, aggressive driving, and idling events that unnecessarily waste fuel.
- Reduced violations and inspections – Vehicles running on ELDs are frequently waved through weigh station inspections, as inspectors focus on vehicles that use error-prone paper logs.
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Using Smartphones as ELDs for Fleet Management
ELDs can be on a smartphone or tablet if the mobile device meets the ELD’s technical specifications. The ELD rule recommends drivers mount their mobile devices in a fixed position during operation and be visible from a normal seated driving position.
Managing ELDs with Scalefusion MDM
Using Kiosk Mode for Impact
ELD apps need to be turned on from the moment drivers start their journey to track information. With Scalefusion MDM, Android/iOS smartphones or tablets can be locked into a single-app mode that only runs the logging software. Besides helping fleet companies track metrics to drive performance improvement, MDM also supports driver safety. Keeping the drivers away from accessing other mobile apps and running the ELD app front and center creates a focused driving experience. Scalefusion MDM also disables all the hardware buttons on the mobile device to prevent the device screen from turning off or accidentally exiting the application.
Speed-based ELD App Locking
To make driving safer, Scalefusion MDM’s speed-based locking enables fleet managers to control access to apps on mobile devices based on the device’s speed. Enable the feature on the ELDs and lock the devices when drivers cross the speed limit, which can be configured on the dashboard. For continuity, drivers can access certain essential applications such as GPS apps, while other apps such as video streaming or communication, can be blocked.
ELD Application Management
Regulations are ever-evolving, and ELD apps need to keep up. Any changes to the rules will require the software provider to make changes to their ELD applications. Failed updates can cause major issues and interrupt the driver’s schedule. For example, drivers may need to switch to a paper log and then update the same in an ELD system to remain compliant. With Scalefusion MDM, trucking companies can remotely install the updated ELD app on the entire fleet of mobile devices.
Automated Alerts and Workflows
Trucking companies need to keep an eye on the battery levels of all managed enterprise devices. With Scalefusion MDM, fleet managers can monitor the battery percentage and charging status of Android, iOS, and Windows devices and configure battery compliance alerts to prevent device batteries from dying out. Companies can remotely view mobile data usage of drivers on the road to determine internet overuse or misuse. With Scalefusion, IT teams can create reports that include device groups, device types, and total data that apps utilize. Companies can choose to apply device policies based on the data metrics available in the reports.
Fleet management companies can achieve higher efficiency by continuously improving their workflows. A workflow can be optimized by automating repetitive tasks such as alerts or changing device profiles based on geofencing to ensure compliance and device security.
Electronic logging devices are helping fleet companies improve several aspects of their operations, from safety and compliance to fuel consumption and preventive maintenance. The necessary software is now readily available on smartphones and tablets. Ensuring they perform to deliver business value requires support from mobile device management. Transform your ELD management with Scalefusion MDM. Get a free 14-day trial.