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Published on December 6th, 2019 | by Guest

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Choosing a Top ELD Device – What to Look For

The ELD (Electronic Logging Device) Mandate that comes into force across the USA on December 16th, 2019, represents one of the biggest changes in the world of fleet management that has ever been implemented. What does it mean, how does it affect you, and how do you choose the best ELD device for your requirements and budget?

First, we will look at what the Mandate demands in terms of changes, and then talk about what an ELD is and how it differs to any device you may have in your cabs right now. We will also look at how to choose the best device for your fleet requirements.

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What is the ELD Mandate?

The ELD Mandate specifies that, as from the given date, all commercial vehicles that are obliged to comply with Records of Duty Status (RODS) under federal law must be fitted with an approved ELD. These devices will not only log the amount of time a driver has been behind the wheel, but also the length of time the engine has been running, and many more functions.

An ELD will also be able to locate a vehicle. If your fleet is given a set route to follow, the ELD will make it possible to tell if the vehicle has ventured off-route, and show the fleet operator or manager where it is at any given moment during the journey.

Given the impending deadline, and for larger fleet operators the sheer scale and cost of the job at hand, it is no surprise that many fleet operators have still to install their new devices. The positive side of things is that a large number of manufacturers have developed ELD’s that have been approved for use by the relevant authorities, so you have plenty of choice. What is it that you need to look for when choosing your model of ELD? That’s what we will talk about in the next section.

How to Choose an ELD

There are a variety of ELD devices to choose from, and while they all perform the basic functions required by the law, many offer other features too. We don’t have the room to go into the full details, but if you want to read up on some of the best models – including those form known brands – you will find a comprehensive guide here that we strongly recommend you use as a guide.

So we can be of some help in guiding you in the right direction here are a few things you need to look for when choosing an ELD for your fleet:

Cost – the cost of the ELD will weight heavily on your decision, and will also have an influence especially where smaller fleet operators are concerned. Costs vary widely, as do the methods that you pay for your ELD. There are some models that you will pay for by a flat fee every month. EROAD, for example, is one such system and – at the time of writing – will cost you a fee of around $35 per month, for each device.

Other plans include those where you pay upfront for the ELD itself, and then monthly fees as per you would a smartphone. Others will charge you just the flat fee, and these are perhaps the best option for smaller fleets.

Compatibility – you need to ensure the device and package you opt for is compatible with the digital devices you use. Some are compatible with smartphones – but not all operating systems, so check for the right one – and others for tablets and laptops. In order to make sure you don’t incur extra costs, it’s essential you buy the one that will work with your current systems.

Ease of Use – your drivers don’t need the added burden of having to set up and operate the ELD every time they set out on a journey. The best models are simply switch on and go, and the driver does not need to even think about it from then on. Check with the manufacturer that there are no complex requirements – you’ll find that most on the market are very simple to use.

Connectivity – you also need to be certain that the ELD will connect with the electrical system in your vehicle. Most come with a choice of installation packages so they will fit any vehicle.

Certification – most of all, your ELD MUST comply with the FMCSA requirements for electronic devices of this sort as laid down in the ELD Mandate. Beware of very cheap products, as the market is so large that there are bound to be fakes around that may leave you in a tricky situation.

Use the information provided to find the best ELD for you and remember that date – December 16th 2019 is the date by which your vehicles must be fitted with an ELD.

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