To improve road-traffic safety and streamline the monitoring of long-haul truck drivers across the US, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued the ELD mandate. It requires transport operators to equip their fleet with electronic logging devices or ELDs to control drivers’ hours of service. And just like any other advanced solution, this smart device depends largely on the efficiency of the software that enables its operation.
Let’s take a look at what core considerations to follow to create a full-fledged ELD solution.
What is an ELD solution?
An ELD solution is a portable device that records a driver’s hours of service (HoS) and duty status by synchronizing with the vehicle’s engine. The solution comprises a mobile application for the driver, fleet management software for the dispatcher and a telematics appliance that connects to the engine control module.
There are two types of ELD solutions:
- An all-in-one package that includes portables with pre-installed applications both for drivers and freight forwarders
- Software that can be installed on portables that drivers and freight forwarders already use
ELD solutions with the fleet video telematics must comply with the requirements provided in the mandate and must be registered with FMCSA, while the hardware component of the solution must also be certified by the producer.
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Benefits of an efficient ELD solution for your business
If for any reason you’re still skeptical of whether you need an ELD solution or not, don’t be: since December 2019, an electronic logging device is a prerequisite, and all trucks must have it. This requirement is based on the advantages that ELDs provide not only to the authorities but also to your business.
It’s easy to guess that carrier companies have a big concern about the high cost of the solution, which in their mind may outweigh the advantages. But we recommend considering ELDs as a wise investment since the benefits from their introduction will certainly recover and surpass the expenses in the long run.
Improved road-traffic safety
Unlike its predecessor — the outdated manual method when drivers recorded their HoS in paper logbooks — ELDs communicate directly with the engine and use its operation as reference. While drivers could easily fake their HoS and duty status on paper logbooks, that’s no longer an option with this independent monitoring device.
So now, they can’t drive longer hours than they are allowed to, which significantly reduces the risk of traffic accidents caused by fatigue. It reduces the road toll in the first place, as well as financial damage.
Risk mitigation for traffic accidents saves companies from severe financial losses usually incurred by servicing of wrecked vehicles, compensation to victims or excessive insurance fees. Moreover, ELDs as monitoring devices compel drivers to use fuel and vehicles rationally, which also results in considerable cost savings.
Drivers no longer have to fill in paper logbooks and office personnel no longer check those logs, which simplifies compliance with the mandate and FMCSA’s provisions. Truck e-logs not only spare personnel from processing reports but also facilitate and accelerate reporting to regulatory authorities.
E-log apps not only facilitate reporting and compliance, but they also contribute to good time management. According to FMCSA’s estimations, paperwork would take up to 15 minutes per day, which is approximately 90 hours per year. Moreover, ELDs provide accurate data, while manual reporting relied on rounding, which would waste more than five hours per week.
Also, roadside inspections used to be time-consuming, and automatic reports address this issue.
ELDs are permanently connected to vehicles’ motors, which is why they can detect the slightest malfunction before it becomes evident. This helps companies take proactive measures and maintain the engine before it’s out of order, thus keeping related expenses and downtime to a minimum.
Fleet efficiency optimization
ELD devices provide real-time data on fleet usage, disposition, a driver’s duty status, engine condition and other, which allows companies to optimize itineraries and driver engagement for higher productivity.
E-logging devices enable easy communication between drivers and dispatchers, which also improves fleet efficiency.
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How to develop ELD software: Core functionality
So now that you’re convinced that a robust ELD application is a must for you, let’s figure out what functionality it should have. In smart devices, software should be well thought out and reliable, and should transform a mediocre appliance into an efficient ELD fleet app.
Hours of service recording and alerting
The central task of an ELD, the recording of hours of service and duty statuses, must be accurate and delay-free. There are “on-duty,” “on-duty not driving” and “off-duty” duty statuses. As a rule, the default status is “on-duty not driving,” and the “on-duty” status activates as soon as the engine is started.
To prevent form and manner violations, the application sends audio notifications to the driver some time before the violation is due to take place. If the driver waives the permitted hours of service despite the notification, a freight forwarder receives an alert.
An ELD device records not only hours of service and duty statuses, but also a driver’s ID, the time, date, speed, mileage and carrier details. At the end of the 24 hours, drivers must check and confirm this information.
Automatic IFTA and DVIR reporting
ELD applications automatically report the required data, such as mileage and fuel consumption, to IFTA. They further significantly facilitate and accelerate driver vehicle inspection reporting (DVIR) as they provide unsophisticated checklists and wide capabilities to enter additional data when required.
Direct messages and group chats improve communication between drivers and freight forwarders, which contributes to fleet efficiency.
Mapping and GPS positioning
A transportation solution without maps and GPS is unimaginable. This functionality provides real-time information on itineraries, traffic conditions, rest areas, petrol stations, auto repair services and other details, and allows dispatchers to supervise fleet navigation via the GPS asset tracking system. Moreover, ELD GPS tracking functionality is priceless in case of vehicle theft.
Driver behavior monitoring
An unessential but useful feature, driver behavior monitoring provides freight forwarders with information on uneconomical or unsafe driving, as the engine communicates directly to the app.
This feature helps companies understand how the accident occurred and for what reason. For this purpose, the telematics device uses data from the accelerometer, the speed profile, GPS and other resources.
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How to develop ELD software: Technical capabilities
To add value to your business, you not only need to equip your ELD solution with advanced functionality, but should also ensure its technical implementation is well designed. A high-quality ELD software should possess the following technical capabilities:
- Drivers’ status changes available in the form of an insightful graph that can be viewed on the display or printed out
- HoS data compliant with the standard for easy reporting to regulatory authorities
- A hard-wired connection to the engine control unit for higher reliability and data accuracy
- The support of a Wi-Fi connection and Bluetooth for streamlined communication and reporting
- Android- and iOS-compatibility
- Plug-and-play installation
- Data retention for seven days and on-demand displaying
- UTC synchronization
Whether you need a comprehensive ELD solution that comprises a dozen features or one with just the basic features, you should definitely go the extra mile and ensure its reliable performance. Don’t know how to do that? Contact Intellias and we’ll help you create a reliable full-fledged ELD and fleet management solution that will add value to your business.