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What is an ELD?

In December of 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced the ELD Mandate. This mandate affects nearly all commercial drivers who are currently required to maintain records of duty status (RODS). Drivers will now be required to use an electronic logging device (ELD) by December 2017.

ELD? Hindrance or Way of the Future?

An ELD is an electronic logging device that will replace the paper logbook that most drivers now use and will electronically record their Hours of Service (HOS). There has been a lot of chatter about whether or not ELD’s are the way of the future or a hindrance. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits.

  • Saves a driver 20-40 minutes a day adding up to 50 hours a year by not filling out paperwork and sending it in.
    saves a driver up to 50 hours per year
  • They electronically track a driver’s Hours of Service (HOS).
  • Inspections will be quicker. How you ask? With an ELD it will be quicker for officers to see the results. No more flipping through paper logs.
  • Most ELD systems have route and map integration. This will help the driver see where there are high traffic areas, construction, road closures, etc. and navigate around them.
  • ELDs will issue warnings to the driver when time sensitive events are coming up, helping them to remain HOS complaint.
  • ELDs also record critical events. If an accident takes places, the ELD records the behavior of the driver and truck before, during, and after the accident.
  • ELDs help with roadside assistance. Broken down? Lost? With an ELD, a dispatcher will be able to direct help your way quicker than before by quickly identifying your location.
  • Drivers would be able to use smartphones, rugged handhelds, and tablets as long as their system meets the ELD requirements. This does include a hardwired connection to the trucks engine.

Starting not to sound so bad is it? Now that you are seeing the benefits of the ELDs, you are probably wondering where you can buy yours.

3.1 Million Trucks & 3.4 Million Drivers will be affected by the ELD MandateMeeting FMCSA Requirements

There are many companies who are manufacturing ELD’s but before purchasing, it is important to make sure that your ELD meets all FMCSA requirements.
When shopping for your ELD, make sure that it can:

  • Connect to the trucks engine. Your ELD has to record when the truck is in motion and the only way to do that is to have it connect to the engine itself.
  • Allow you, the driver, to log in. You must be able to select On-Duty, Off-Duty, or On-Duty Not Driving.
  • Display a record of duty status. It must graphically show a driver hours in a day.
  • Provide data in a standardized format that is easy to transmit to law enforcement. Either by wireless web services, Bluetooth, or a USB.
  • Meet the proper specifications and is provider certified.

Now, let’s take a look at a few companies who are manufacturing ELDs.

Companies Who Manufacture ELD’s

The first company we are going to look at is for the driver who is looking for something that is simple and affordable. Continental Corps VDO Roadlog has no monthly fees, has a built in thermal printer, does not require a tablet or cellphone, and automatically deletes records when they are no longer needed.

Next, we have eDriver Logs by PeopleNet. eDriver Logs gives you the ability to use an Android tablet, a smartphone, or a fixed mount display. eDriver Logs gives you an easy to read grid that displays driver log information, HOS, and more. While in Smart mode the computer can detect movement and stops and will switch between On-Duty, and driving statuses so that the driver can just focus on driving. Stay HOS compliant by receiving system alerts if a HOS violation is imminent. You can also view multiple reports such as: the miles traveled, off duty, sleeper berth, driving on-duty, and many more.

Rand McNally is another company who has manufactured an ELD device that makes it easier for drivers to comply with the mandate. The ELD 50 is a device that is designed to connect with an Android smartphone or tablet. It plugs into the trucks diagnostic port and sends the drivers HOS data to a free mobile app using a Bluetooth connection.

And lastly, you might want to look at J.J. Keller. Depending on the edition you choose, you will get an array of functions. You can go with the simple edition that just helps you meet compliance, all the way to the premium edition that features automated fuel tax reports, fuel use tracking, driver performance and more.


Whether you are looking for something that is affordable and will just help you meet compliance, or if you are looking for an ELD that has all the bells and whistles, you are sure to find one with the right research.

One thing is for certain, the ELD Mandate will be in effect by December 2017. Buy your ELD early, and be able to learn and adapt to it at your own pace?  Start today by reading Planning a Successful Electronic Logging Device Implementation.

Smart Way SCRA TIA Member
About WJW

As the company has grown, it has expanded its offerings to include dedicated equipment, freight management services, intermodal, flat, van, reefer, and specialized services. WJW brings the flexibility and dedication of a small company combined with the expertise and capability of a large one.
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