Time is running out to select and implement Electronic Logging Devices

February 8, 2017

In 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted a law requiring electronic logging devices (ELDs) for the trucking industry. The law requires that ELDs be operational by December 18, 2017 for carriers using paper logs or logging software, so time is running out if you haven’t implemented them yet.

Carriers and drivers who use automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) prior to the compliance date must transition to ELDs no later than December 16, 2019. There are additional requirements and exceptions to the law, so read up on the fine print, especially for short-haul drivers and vehicles manufactured prior to 2000.

So how do you go about selecting the right ELD?

First, make sure you understand the full benefits of implementing ELDs and not work just toward compliance with the law. If you implement ELDs correctly, the system might even pay for itself! Benefits include:

  • Safety – alerts to unsafe driver activities such as hard-braking, speeding, erratic lane changes and hours of service
  • Fuel – understand when the vehicle is being used out-of-route or sitting idle
  • Performance metrics – see if the driver is delivering on-time and utilizing time efficiently
  • Analytics – fault analysis, predictive maintenance and benchmarking to reduce expenses
  • Productivity – activity-based pay, optimization of per diem allowances, and bypassing weigh stations
  • Security – systems can alert you when theft occurs and even track the vehicle

These are just a handful of the benefits of ELDs, with even more advantages if the system shares data with your fleet management system.

Having a registered ELD vendor is a must

Next, make sure the ELDs you are investigating are on the FMCSA’s list of registered ELDs. The vendors on this list have self-certified that their device is compliant with all of the ELD technical specifications, and registered each ELD model with FMCSA. Make arrangements to see one or two of these ELDs in action to see all of the functionality these devices deliver. You can then determine which features are must-haves.

Initiate the RFP process to select the right ELD vendor

Once you have your functionality list, create a request for proposal (RFP) from your list of vendors. The RFP should ask the vendors if they can currently meet the functionality you desire (you don’t want to implement a system promising these features in the future). Make sure the vendor is financially stable and will be able to support your ELD system for the coming years. With limited time remaining for implementation, verify that the vendor has available resources for your project. From a technology perspective, confirm the system will integrate with your fleet management system and works with existing network technology within the vehicle.

As the vendors submit their RFP answers, review the scores and narrow the selection down to the top two to three vendors. Invite each vendor on-site to demonstrate the functionality of their devices and the supporting software. Have your users analyze the system based on ease-of-use and administration. Don’t forget to determine which reports you will need once the system is up and running. If desired, create scripts for the vendors to follow based on your company’s processes and run them through the system. You may find that configuration (or even customization) is necessary to meet your exact process—determine the cost versus benefit of modifying the system!

One item that many carriers skip over is checking the references of the ELD vendor. This gives you an opportunity to speak with others who have implemented the system and determine potential landmines prior to your installation.

Set your ELD installation date well in advance

Once you’ve made the selection, target to have your installation done by at least July of this year to give providers an opportunity to deliver and drivers a chance to adapt to the devices.

After the implementation, continually analyze the data and identify areas for improvement and reap the benefits of your new ELD system!

Need help getting started? Contact our Trucking & Logistics team at 800-236-2246 for more information!